Slow Cooking Puglia™

Letizia’s Kitchen ~ 8 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates
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Join your host Letizia in the town of Conversano, just 45 minutes south of Bari for our hands-on cooking tour in the heart of Puglia.  Set in Italy’s geographic heel, your Cooking Vacation week will bring you into the colorful cooking of Puglia with a very special night in Lecce, too. In the kitchen you will be cooking with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, naturally raised local meats, fish caught fresh daily from the Adriatic Sea, all the ingredients for the perfect Puglia culinary experience. Chop, slice, cook, eat and tour your way through this amazing region of Italy, off the main tourist track, yet so rich in history and culinary traditions.

Cooking Classes

The cooking program consists of three lessons, each lasting about three hours, 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 dry 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 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 special attention is always given to allergies and/or dietary needs.

Puglia

Puglia, set in the very the heel of the Italian boot, is known for its culinary delights, natural landscape, incredible art & 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 without a doubt the main product of this area, and just a taste reveals the unique flavor of the ‘liquid gold’.

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.

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, 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 Trani, Vineyard Visit & UNESCO Castel Del Monte

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning 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.
  • 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 to the Castel del Monte, a UNESCO HERITAGE site.
  • Visit 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.
  • 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: 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 to 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 & Spa in the Afternoon

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, you will depart for Matera for a Tour with private guide of the ancient town of the Sassi, a UNESCO heritage site. Lunch is included in a traditional restaurant near the Sassi.
  • Return to the Villa in the afternoon and relax at the Spa with a Roma bath followed by a massage.
  • 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. Take time to relax or choose a Spa Treatment. You may see Letizia for any additional spa services (treatments have to be reserved 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 & Lecce Overnight

  • Breakfast is served.
  • We check out and depart for a full day tour 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 Lecce where you can wander and explore the town’s beautiful streets and alleyways.
  • Your last night is at a charming 4-Star hotel in Lecce.
  • Dinner at the hotel is included.

Saturday: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Free time in the morning, before departure.
  • Departure transfer to the airport of Brindisi.

 

Program Includes:

  • 6 nights accommodations in 4-Star Villa Hotel in Conversano, based on double occupancy.
  • 1 night accommodations in charming 4-Star Hotel in Lecce, based on double occupancy, dinner included.
  • Daily Breakfast.
  • Welcome Dinner with Chef’s Tasting Menu included, wine/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. Lunch included at a local Trattoria, wine/beverages not included.
  • Spa treatment: Roman baths & massage
  • Tour with private guide to Alberobello & Puglia’s famous Trulli ending with transfer to Lecce.
  • *Arrival transfer from Bari Airport or Bari train station; departure transfer to Brindisi.
Program Prices

$3,495 per person, based on double occupancy (group of 2). Includes all taxes and Italian VAT.
$3,295 per person based on double occupancy (group of 4). Includes all taxes and Italian VAT.
$680 Single Supplement, based on minimum 2 people.
*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

2018 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.

 

*Single supplement prices starting at, please call for more information.