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Slow Cooking Puglia™

Food & Wine In Puglia ~ 8 Day

   

Join your host and food lover Letizia in the town of Conversano, just 45 minutes south of Bari for our hands-on cooking tour during your Puglia cooking experience.  Set in Italy’s geographic heel, your cooking program will bring you into a colorful Puglia culinary experience with a very special evening in Lecce, too. In the kitchen, you’ll prepare farm-to-table  fruits and vegetables, naturally raised local meats, fish caught fresh daily from the Adriatic Sea.  Our Conversano cooking classes will have you chopping, slicing, and sautéing along with dining on homemade food while sipping excellent local wine.

Puglia Cooking Classes

Tie on your aprons with Chef Mario for three cooking classes, where you will learn about Puglia’s cuisine, products and traditions.  Cooking class one includes roasted lamb with potatoes, a fresh fish of the day or vegetarian; and taralli ~ traditional baked biscotti. For your second cooking class, you will prepare local cuttlefish, rice, mussels and potatoes.  The third class is a dessert making workshop, where you will learn to prepare several traditional desserts, including bignè and zeppole, a traditional sweet flash-fried dough filled with scented cream. Also on the menu is calzone di cipolla, a rustic pizza filled with onions, and other local specialties.  Menus vary with the seasons, and vegetarian, gluten-free or special requests are available.

Discovering Puglia and experiencing this one-of-a-kind cooking and food touring Puglia program is an experience for the food lover at heart.  From the moment you check in and throughout your cooking classes and tours, become part of the family with Letizia and Chef Maria.

Puglia

Puglia, set in the very the heel of the Italian boot, is known for its culinary delights, natural landscape, incredible art and  architecture, and splendid churches.  With the Adriatic Sea on the eastern coast and the Gulf of Taranto in the instep, the peninsula of Puglia offers something for every traveler.

Alberobello  is called ‘the Trulli capital’ and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trulli are the stone houses with coned roofs, traditionally built without any cement or mortar that characterize the southern town. At the top of the roof there is either a pinnacle or a painted symbol, ranging from crosses, to planetary symbols and mythological symbols to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck to the household. Alberobello is also known for its olive oil and olive trees. You’ll see talented artisans carve olive wood into cucchiarelle, wooden spoons, cutting boards, furniture, weave handmade baskets and much more.

Ostuni  is a small town near the coast in the Province of Brindisi in Puglia. It is called La Città Bianca, the White City, for the whitewashed houses and palazzos that crown the hilltop.  The town’s ancient walls still encircle the city, and from the hilltop historical center, views encompass pristine beaches, olive groves and masserie – farm estates, below.  Olive oil is a key ingredient in all of the Puglia cooking classes a main product in the area in general.

Otranto’s most treasured sites include the pentagon-shaped Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral with its incredible mosaic floor, dating to 1166AD.

Lecce is known as the Florence of Southern Italy, and true to its nickname, is a city rich in art and culture. Monuments include Medieval castles, Renaissance churches, Roman amphitheaters and Greek ruins. Today, Lecce produces artisan ceramics, olive oil with a unique Puglia taste, and red and white wine.

The town of Martina Franca holds its annual summer opera festival, Festival della Valle d’Itria. The historic center of this small city enchants its visitors with local products including the Martina Franca DOC sparkling wine, as well as an assortment of local salumi and capocollo.

Puglia Accommodations

During your Cooking Vacation you will be accommodated at Letizia’s luxurious Villa in Conversano. An elegant palazzo is home to charming guest rooms and a dreamlike view over the Romanesque cathedral.  The 4-star property has an air of elegance and charm. The villa sits on a historical Medieval court in a residential area at the center of Conversano, the City of Art. The property was completely renovated in 2002, keeping the old-world charm and structure, while incorporating modern amenities for each guest’s comforts. The historical Villa, which is located within the walls of the Medieval court, was transformed into a beautiful property with a reception area, suites with elegant furnishings and a spa. Each guest suite offers large bedrooms with a private baths and modern comforts.  Accent barrel ceilings and wooden beams add a magical effect.

All rooms are equipped with direct-control air conditioning, satellite TV, direct telephone, security safes, free Wi-Fi internet connection, and a minibar. A solarium terrace, an information and concierge desk, complimentary bikes for each guest’s use, transfer facilities for area excursions, and a friendly staff add the finishing touches. Guests can also reserve a relaxing massage or spa treatment at the Villa’s full-service Spa.

A large buffet breakfast is served in the sunny garden room each morning. Freshly squeezed orange juice, yogurt, a choice of cereals, homemade croissants baked daily, biscotti, traditional cakes, fresh local cheeses, seasonal fruit, along with cappuccino, coffee and tea, are served.

Itinerary: 8 Days, 7 Nights

Check in Saturday and check out Saturday. Other check-in days may be available upon request, please call for details.

Saturday: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival to Bari airport or train station, meet your driver, and transfer to hotel.
  • Check in and relax. Later in the afternoon, take time to relax with an Italian aperitivo and explore the area on your own, bike or walk through the gardens.  Meet Letzia and her staff who are there to serve you throughout the week.
  • In the evening, a Chef’s Tasting Dinner is served on the terrace with views over the ancient lanes and cathedral. Dinner includes an antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert, featuring local, organic ingredients. (Wine and drinks are not included).

Sunday: Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning Cooking Class 1 set in the country house kitchen in Conversano. Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class.  Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class together at the table.
  • Afternoon is free.
  • Suggestions: In your free time, stroll through the winding streets of the old town. Visit the Romanesque Cathedral and Monastery of St. Benedict, and the Norman castle, home to the masterpieces of Paolo Finoglio, 6th century court painter. The collection includes: La Gerusalemme Liberata and frescoes in the Baroque church of Saint Cosma and Damiano. Or, you may add on and reserve the Ancient Roman spa service which leads you through a series of hot and cool rooms – the Tepidarium and Calidarium, treats you to a steam bath and body scrub, after which you can either sit and relax, or end with a calming massage.
  • Dinner on your own.

Monday: Guided Tour of UNESCO Castel Del Monte, Vineyard Visit & Trani

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning you will visit the Castel del Monte, a UNESCO Heritage site. Tour the historical manor commissioned by Federico II of Svevia. This castle is one of the greatest examples of Medieval art and is protected by the UNESCO. Puglia’s Strada del Vino, or Wine Road, and the famous DOC wine from Puglia also take their name from the Castel del Monte.
  • Next is an excursion to a Vineyard (driver included) where you will learn about the local wine making process.  You will also visit the underground cellars. The oenologist explains the production process of the excellent DOC wines. Following is a visit to the vineyard, with wine tasting included. Lunch is included in an Agriturismo, a traditional restaurant in the area.
  • In the afternoon, you will visit the old town of Trani, a beautiful town on the sea.  Trani is home to the Moscato di Trani wine and the old center of town. The town is dominated by the All Saints Church of Saint Antonio and the great Apulian Cathedral built in Romanesque style.
  • Dinner is on your own. You can reserve at the Villa or ask for suggestions at the nearby trattorias, which feature regional in-season food such as grilled meat, torcinelli, salsicce, braciole, agnello, ventresca sale e pepe, vegetables and green olives. Fresh fish or a vegetarian menu is always available too, if you prefer. End on a sweet note with traditional spumone, vanilla and cherry dolce.

Tuesday: Visit to Polignano a Mare & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning visit to the historic centre of Polignano a Mare, a pretty seaside town. Self-guided Walking tour of the old town. The town is well known for its ice cream. Don’t miss the delicious Maria Cristina version – creamy coffee-flavored ice cream with San Marzano liqueur. Ice cream tasting is included.
  • Next, continue on to visit the town of Domenico Modugno.  Lunch is on your own.
  • Come back to head into the kitchen for your afternoon Cooking Class 2, followed by dinner on the foods prepared in class.

Wednesday: Matera’s Sassi & Altamura – Bakery Tour with Tasting

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, you will depart for Matera for a tour with an English-speaking guide of the ancient town of the Sassi, a UNESCO heritage site. Lunch is included in a traditional restaurant near Sassi.
  • In the afternoon, the tour continues to the town of Altamura. Altamura is famous for the production of traditional breads called “il pane di Altamura” DOP and their focaccia.  Tastings included at the bakery.
  • Return to the Villa in the afternoon.
  • Dinner is on your own. Your host will suggest a fabulous restaurant where the locals dine! This award-winning restaurant offers a superior menu with an excellent choice of regional and national wines.

Thursday: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • The morning is free. Suggestion – take time to relax or choose a Spa Treatment. You may see Letizia for any additional spa services (treatments have to be reserved at least a day in advance).
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • Afternoon: head into the kitchen for afternoon Cooking Class 3, with dinner following including the foods prepared in class.

Friday: Alberobello: Trulli – Guided Tour & Monopoli

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning is free.
  • In the afternoon, depart to Alberobello.  We Visit this UNESCO heritage site that consists of the cone shaped buildings know as famous and beautiful trulli, the old traditional homes of Puglia.  Walk the Medieval Rione, Aia Piccola and Rione Monti, and browse and shop at the many artisan workshops and studios. Lunch in Alberobello is on your own. You will continue on to Monopoli, one of the most beautiful city on the sea. Dinner in Monopoli included.
  • Return to the Conversano with private driver after dinner.

Saturday: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Free time in the morning, before check-out and departure.
  • Departure transfer to the airport of Brindisi or Bari.

 

Program Includes:

  • 8 day 7 nights in a 4-star villa in Conversano, based on 2 guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Welcome dinner with Chef’s tasting menu included, wine and beverages not included.
  • 3 cooking classes with lunch or dinner following on the foods prepared in class. Local wine included.
  • Full day tour with private guide to Castel Del Monte & Vineyard Visit with tastings, lunch included in a local Agriturismo, wine/beverages not included.
  • Half day excursion with private driver to the historic center of Polignano a Mare, ice cream tasting included.
  • Full day tour with private guide to Matera with private driver. Visit to Altamura with bakery and tastings included.
    Lunch included at a local Trattoria, wine/beverages not included.
  • Tour with private guide to Alberobello & Puglia’s famous Trulli and Monopoli, with dinner included.
  • *Arrival transfer from Bari Airport or Bari train station; departure transfer to Brindisi or Bari Airport or Train Station.
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, recipes and Prosecco.
Program Prices

$3,895 per person, based on 2 guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

*Please note, this program is available for a minimum of 2 people. If you are a single guest and would like to join us, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

Check Availability

2022 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in is Saturday and check out is Saturday. Rates are subject to change, based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.