Culinary and Shepherding Cultural program in Puglia, Italy

Harvesting Food Through History. Learning to cook Mediterranean Cuisine: the Myths, Methods, and Origins of the Mediterranean Diet.

The program offers an opportunity of understanding and learning about the Mediterranean culinary culture and improving its conservation. Participants are involved in the “food jouney” from landscape to table encompassing the sustainability of the resources, the biodiversity and the societal changes, which place the Mediterranean diet at the core of the current debate on the need to implement “green economy” and sustainable way of life.

The venerated cuisine of the Mediterranean has been created and re-created through the course of history by geography, social customs, migration and the mythical and religious universe wrapped around 'eating'. The Mediterranean diet is inclusive of 'life style' which upholds traditional methods of farming and fishing and nurtures the practice of family meals, and social festivities. Through visits, discussions, lectures and hands-on activities, the wokshop examines and highlights the production, the ingredients, cooking methods and health benefits of the "diet" that is rooted in a agricultural culture strongly linked to geomorphological characteristics and climate of the region.

The workshop is held at the Masseria La Selva, dairies, farms, restaurants, bakeries, wineries etc., that are all 'vital' culinary facilities that are maintaining regional culinary traditions . In addition, there are excursions and guided visits to historical sites of the region, museums and art exhibitions. Including, a day excursion to the archaeological site of Pompeii where we'll cover the origins of its culinary evolution. Workshop Highlights What makes a good olive, and why; demystifying the terms virgin, pure and refined' and discuss the pressing processes. Why 'Altamura bread', the 'peasant' bread, is so renowned and why its properties made it suitable for long journeys. How to make a clay oven.

Cheese making- burrata and mozzarella. What were they eating in Pompeii- a period that birthed the idea of 'chefs' and 'recipe'. The Art of charcuterie and butchery. Traditional methods of cultivation. Homemade Pasta. Clay pots and slow cooking shepherd style. Fish feasting at the seaside port in Trani. Review the archeological finds that tell us of how and what our ancestors ate and drank and related rituals. The personal thrill of hunting for and identifying wild and edible plants. Bake traditional pastries in a Nunnery with local Nuns who once used baking sweets for festivals as a way of economically sustaining themselves.

2017 Dates: 

June 1-8 (spaces are limited, early registration is recommended!)

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

Participants are picked up at the Bari airport (BRI) or train station and transferd to Masseria La Selva. Set an hour inland from the coast of Bari, Masseria La Selva was built in the mid 18th century as a hunting lodge for the Roman Orsini family.  The Orsini family had a long history in the region dating back to 1420 when the Normans gave them neighbouring town of Gravina, where Pope Benedict XIII  of the Orsini family later presided.     

At the turn of the 20th century the head of the Lorusso family  bought the Masseria and it became a working farm with crops of cotton, wheat and tobacco. The main floor houses a vast open kitchen, a sitting room with arched ceilings and stone fireplace, and a dining hall. On the second floor two wings expand east and west from the central music room, to the bedrooms, bathrooms, and a maze of sitting rooms decorated in antiques and farm tool collections.

There are 9 bedrooms all overlooking the back courtyard each furnished with two single beds. Masseria La Selva is set on 200 hectares of private land of gentle hills. There are sheep, pigs ,geese and cows on the property, and cheese is made in the adjacent building every morning. 3 home cooked meals are served daily. The meals created in the kitchen are typical of the Puglia region by Rosanna and her crew, and particularly in the culinary workshops we'll be eating also what will be made during the practices.

The nearby town of Altamura is famous for its round loaves of crusty bread which will be a staple at your table along with family harvested olive oil. Breakfast will be laid out in the kitchen in the morning and sit down lunch and dinner will be served in the dining room or outside courtyard. The masseria has story-telling family collections of old pitchforks and farm tools, fencing masks, trophies, paintings, and antique furniture. We like to have long dinners outside in the courtyard, where sometimes films will be projected on the walls of the building and locals drop by to practice their English or share their Italian.

  • Program ID: # 1971
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Altamura (Bari) Italy 70022 Altamura
    40° 50' 19.4964" N, 16° 33' 23.0256" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Bari, Italy (BRI)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
    Learn Abroad
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