Italian cookery short break

Puglia Region, Puglia, Italy

4 days from
per person

Average user rating

Holiday Itinerary

The charming region of Puglia, Italy, renowned for its cuisine, fresh olive oil and fine wines, will be the setting of this wonderful 3 night / 4 day rustic Italian cooking short break.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural countryside is this 400 year old mansion surrounded by acres of olive groves and vineyards, situated in the heart of Puglia. The centuries old estate will be the setting where you'll create a wide range of Mediterranean and rural Italian dishes passed down through generations.

In addition to bringing traditional dishes to the table, your experience will also take you out of the kitchen and into the local area as you hit the local food markets to collect the fresh produce of the day and then learn how to incorporate them into favourite dishes with homemade pasta, legumes, vegetables and fresh fish from the fish market.

Your host, Rita, takes her inspiration from the notebooks of her Aunt Nina, mother Angelina and Grandma Ritella; generations of women who had a true passion for cooking. With Rita’s historical influence, and the motto she chooses to follow 'come as guests, leave as friends', it is guaranteed that you will feel the love from her special treatment and warm home.

Accommodation is set in an impressive Manor house that dates back to the 1600s, when it was used as an olive oil mill, which has been lovingly renovated to provide 5 twin/double guest rooms. Each room has been adorned with the finest linens, fabrics and antiques to reflect the styles and trends of old, yet modernized with a private ensuite bathroom. The grounds include beautiful gardens, lawns and woodland; an ideal setting to relax and sample delicious local produce.

This Italian cookery short break is a true culinary extravaganza guaranteed to fuel your passion for good food, experience stunning scenery, meet like-minded people and take home sacred recipes from this beautiful area to treasure for a lifetime.

Who is it suitable for?
- Cookery short breaks are suitable for beginner and intermediate cooks
- Minimum age of 18
- Your host speaks both Italian and English fluently
- Recommended for families, friends, groups & solo travellers

I'm travelling solo - can I join?
- These cookery holidays make great singles holidays and singles are welcome to join an existing group
- Solo travellers can book a private room for a supplement

When can I start?
- All arrivals are on Sundays after 4:00pm
- It may be possible to arrange cookery breaks for groups with specific dates, to check availability, email with your preferred date
- Cooking short breaks are for 3 nights/ 4 days
- If you wish to stay for extra nights, please email to check availability for your preferred duration and we will do our best to accommodate you
- If dates appear ‘on request’, please email us and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible

Typical itinerary
The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:

Day 1 - Arrival and A Noble Family Borboni Dinner
- Arrival at the manor
- Check in is from 4pm, and while you relax, dinner is set to be served at 8pm
- The dinner dishes have stemmed from Rita's great grandmother: Donna Ritella d’Erario Recchia, Baronessa di Tolve
- Settle in with a liquor aperitif by traditional candlelight while Rita guides you through the royal family of Borboni and the traditional culture and culinary history which surrounds the cookery school

Day 2 – Fresh pasta and fresh legumes
- After a light breakfast, Rita will introduce you to the traditional nearby town of Mola, renowned for their rather large cooking pans for focaccia and their fresh fish industry that supports all of Southern Italy
- You will begin your lesson today by shopping for your fresh ingredients in the market, as the locals do, which you can then use later that day
- After Mola, you’ll visit Polignano, known for its stunning coastline, and then on to Monopoli, a quaint sea town, where you can order home made spaghetti with fresh mussels or be enticed by the fisherman's catch of the day
- In the afternoon, you’ll head back to start your cooking class using Italy's most notorious ingredients: pasta and  fresh vegetables
- This will be followed by dinner where you will sit down to eat the meal you have just prepared

Day 3 – Fish and Boats
- Weather permitting, you will be taken on a boat tour after breakfast in the lovely town of Polignano
- Lunch will be on the boat so you can take in your stunning surroundings; please note that if the weather is bad, then a visit to the towns of Conversano and Monopoli will be arranged
- After lunch, you’ll be heading back to Mola to seek out the freshest, biggest fish available in the fish market
- After scouting out only the best ingredients, you’ll return back to the house and enjoy a relaxed fish based cooking class which will serve as your final farewell dinner

Day 4 – Departure Day
- Unfortunately, this will be your last breakfast together before Rita sees you off to the airport where you will fly back home with amazing memories, experiences and new cookery skills

About your host & chef
- Your host is Rita, a journalist turned passionate cultural food guru
- Rita has spent her life studying food, culture and her family's private recipe notebooks to bring you this generational hands on experience in her 17th century manor house
- Rita goes beyond cooking and brings the history to the dishes, takes you to where products come from, and teaches you about the cultural diversity of food in her native region

What will I learn?
- You will build on your cooking skills taking you from finding the freshest foods the region can offer, to the very way you present your food and dress your table
- You’ll start with pre preparation and ingredient selection
- Learn how to cook with fish
- Pasta making
- Learn the history and culture of the region, the manor you’re staying in, as well as various medieval towns
- The style of food will not only include classic regional dishes but also Mediterranean and Italian classics
- Rita also focuses on helping you to master the art of dining etiquette and mise en place

Sample menus
Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available but may include the following examples:

- Antipasti: focaccia, parmigiana di melanzane, pepperoni gratinati (Bell peppers gratin), calzone di cipolla (Onion pie)
- Primi: orecchiette ceci e peperoni (fresh pasta with chickpeas and bell peppers), grano fagioli e cozze (durum wheat with beans and mussels), linguine con ragù al nero di seppia (linguine with squid ink ragù), paccheri col ragù
- Secondi: agnello salsicce patate e funghi con finocchietto selvatico (lamb and sausages with mushrooms potatoes and wild fennel), polpo cotto con l'acqua sua (octopus cooked in it's own water), zuppa di pesce (fish soup)

Please note that if you do have any dietary requirements (including vegetarians), some food replacements may not be readily available in Italy, so this must be discussed before booking

Where will I be staying?
- Your accommodation is in a charming countryside mansion surrounded by acres of olive groves and vineyards in the heart of the Puglia rustica on a hill overlooking the town of Mola di Bari by the sea
- You’ll stay in a beautiful room adorned with antiques and the finest fabrics, luxury linens and antique terracotta heaters
- There are a total of 5 twin/double guest rooms all with private bathroom
- If you are travelling solo, you'll stay in a twin/double room for sole occupancy for a small supplement
- All rooms have WiFi, satellite television and air conditioning
- The house is surrounded by wonderful gardens where you can eat outside or relax
- Accommodation is included for 3 nights / 4 days
- Check in anytime after 4pm on day 1 and check out by 11:00am on day 4

Are meals included?
- A delicious breakfast is served daily
- 2 wholesome lunches
- Lunches will be served in different scenic locations
- 3 delicious dinners, some of which will have been prepared by you during your cookery lessons

What can I do in my free time?
- This Italian cookery holiday is packed with culinary delights but you will have time to wander the ancient streets and do some sightseeing and shopping
- For an extra fee, you could spend a few hours at the local spa if you let Rita know in advance
- Your host will give you lots of information on what activities are on offer in the local area such as the local markets, wine tasting, walking and more