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With us, you won’t just see the place we love, you’ll cannonball into it – into our traditions, into the kitchen and into Southern Italian life, taking your own place around the generous table.
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The Awaiting Table / Our Cookery Courses / Olive You: A Course Dedicated to Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive You: Our Week Dedicated to Extra Virgin

Olive You: La Nostra Settimana Dedicata all’ Extra Vergine

Two things about Olives.

  1. The olive is a like an attentive little mother that swaddles her baby- her seed- in the best preservative known to nature, a tiny and pristine cocoon of polyphenol-based antioxidants: by using only mechanic means (versus chemical) we too can access this magical elixir, which is not only unparalleled for the health of our bodies but it just might be the best tasting, most satisfying food on the planet.
  2. The majority of oil labeled ‘Italian extra virgin olive oil’, isn’t any of the three.

This is why we’ve created our Olive You course.  In just a week you’ll learn everything you need to know about nature’s perfect food, and fall in love with the part of the world that produces some of the best.

You’ll learn to taste extra virgin, to properly critique it, seeking not only potential defects but to seek out individual taste profiles of, principally, our two local species, la ogliarola salentina, and la cellina di Nardò, two southern species famous for their larger-than -life flavours and aromas. (If you live in an extra virgin producing country, we encourage you to bring a bottle from home, which we will taste along side the others). You’ll learn why critically tasting extra virgin doesn’t involve any bread, but often, green apples.

And we’ll head into the kitchen, learning to make fresh pasta from scratch (making it nearly every meal), learning to master vegetable cookery, the heart of the Mediterranean lifestyle.  You’ll learn to grill everything, from fish still dripping with the nearby Adriatic, to rabbits and chickens to even the fresh sausages that you’ll make from scratch, grilling them directly over orange tree wood in the castle’s main hall.  You’ll learn the difference between cooking with oil and eating it raw and when can you do one and not the other. You’ll pour it generously over autumnal vegetables, each with a season and history of its own.

But one day we’ll dress in old clothes and head out to pick for the day. You’ll learn about pruning, right there under the trees, just off of the other sea, the Ionian. We’ll make a morning of picking, followed by a visit to the press, the new oil the shocking colour of antifreeze, the smell enough to make you buckle at the knees.

One night we’ll eat dinner in the castle’s underground, barrel-vaulted olive mill, lighting it with oil lamps fuelled with the left over extra virgin from all the tasting. And because moderation isn’t our strongest suit, we’ll even have a masseuse on hand for anyone interested in olive oil based massages during the afternoon breaks.

If you’ve ever wondered about extra virgin, or you just like spending time in the gorgeous Italian countryside, in the kitchen and draining cases of wine around a very long table in Italian castle, this is the week for you. You’ll never think of extra virgin the same way again.

The Logistics at a Glance.

Where: At the Castle, an hour South of Lecce.

When: 2017. Full. 2018. November 5th-10th.

Taught in: English.

Where you Sleep: at the castle. 95 € a single / 110 € a double

How Much? 1995 Euro.

Best way to arrive, depart, maximise your time with us: Everything is spelled out in our Student Services. You’ll be given access about booking.

Who thrives: Those that enjoy Southern Italian life. And learning, cooking and feasting. Popeye.

Who doesn’t: Anyone that is not curious about this miraculous plant and what it can produce if you love it properly.