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Recs for Culinary Tour of Puglia

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Hello,
I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a guided multi-day culinary tour of Puglia. The more I research the region, the more I think this may be the way to go for a first-time visit to Puglia. Something similar to the link below would be ideal. Of course open to any and all suggestions. My wife and I would like to visit in Late Sept./early October of 2014. Many thanks in advance.

http://www.tempestuous.ca/puglia-itin...

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  1. I was last there in 2006.
    Lucanerie in Matera was the most impressive meal.
    Osteria degli Archi and Al Dragone in Vieste were both quite good.
    I think all these institutions are still there.

    1. Trying to get a TR finished for that region. We were there for a week in May and loved the food. We stayed in Matera, masseria near Martina Franca and Ostuni. Also, had great meals in Polignano a Mare and Celgie Messapica. Elizabeth Minchilli, the Rome food blogger has family in Puglia and might have some suggestions. Also there was a cooking school in Celgie that might do tours. It was called Med Cooking School.

      1. I have heard very good things about YLT Tours in Puglia for culinary tours - I think they are based in Lecce http://www.yltourcongressi.it/.

        www.lifeitalianstyle.com

        1. Can't help you with food tours, but if you are willing to strike out on your own, maybe my report will be of help:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9250...

          8 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            Many thanks for a great report. If we do decide to strike out on our own to explosure Puglia, what town would you recommend using as a base? We will likely rent a car if we decide to go this route. Thanks in advance.

            1. re: zgold10

              We just returned and divided up our week in Matera, a masseria near Martina Franca and ostuni. We only went to Lecce for the afternoon. It is a lovely town.

              1. re: macdog

                Thanks, Macdog. Did you guys have a car when traveling around Puglia? Do you think a car is needed? Did you enjoy your stay at the masseria, would you recommend it?

                1. re: zgold10

                  We flew into Bari from Paris and took a bus (1 hour ride) to Matera. After 2 nights there we picked up a hertz rental car in Matera and drove to Masseria Iazzo Scagno and toured the area every day. We parked car in Ostuni but our hotel (la Sommita) drove us to car park when car was needed.

                  1. re: macdog

                    Thanks, that sounds easy enough. Sorry for the rapidfire questions, but did you enjoy your stay at Masseria Iazzo Scagno, it looks amazing.

                    1. re: zgold10

                      It was wonderful, the owners are delightful and the breakfasts are sublime. We ended relaxing around their beautiful pool one day after a long walk through country roads. Only downside is no dinner offered, do must drive. Other Masserias offer dinner. We also looked at masseria Fumarola that does offer dinner, but about double room price of iazzo Scagno.

              2. re: zgold10

                You should definitely have a car. Alberobello is a beautiful town and may make a good base. Depending on how much time you have, you may want to stay in a couple of different areas, as Puglia is a large region. We stayed in Monopoli because we have friends there. If you want to be on the coast, it is a good choice, The nearby town of Polignano a Mare is also very charming.

                1. re: rrems

                  We visited Polignano (beautiful) and Alberobello (very touristy). I would stay in countryside for a few days...it was stunning. We also loved ceglie Messapica-had a delicious dinner at Cibus.

            2. There was just a great article in the NYTimes on this topic:

              http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/tra...

              This article lists all the better known people who do tours.

              www.ElizabethMinchilliInRome.com

              1. You might want to contact either of these two - the Awaiting Table and Stile Mediterraneo. If they don't do that kind of tour themselves they can reliably recommend someone:

                http://awaitingtable.com/

                http://stilemediterraneo.blogspot.com/

                Both are excellent.

                1. Contact Silvestro Silvestori at "Awaiting Table in Lecce",
                  He has a cooking school in a castello, and does a variety of programs. In addition Silvestro is a very engaging person, and passionate about all things Pugilese!

                  http://awaitingtable.com/

                  1. We were in Puglia last month and had a wonderful time. We didn't take a tour... but here are some ideas for you anyway.

                    I highly recommend the tour at Masseria Brancati outside of Ostuni. It's an olive oil producer with the oldest trees dating back 3000 years and a fascinating underground production facility that pre-dates the Romans. Great olive oil to taste as well. If you like food and history, it's perfect.

                    If you go to the Castellana Grotte caves (which are worth seeing), we found an awesome bakery nearby, Panificio Mancini. It looks pretty industrial on the outside but the bread stuffed with anchovy, caramelized onions, and olives was one of the best things I ate in Puglia. The kids loved the stuffed-to-order nutella cornetti.

                    Eat as much stracciatella and burrata as you can. Finally, make sure you go to Matera -- amazing small city with great food and warm people. The pictures you find don't do justice to how beautiful it is.