What Makes Us Special


onions and chili peppers from Puglia

It would be a mistake to see us as an alternative to the dozens of cooking schools in Tuscany only for our location (which is decidedly not in Tuscany).  The reality is something much more compelling: We’ve actually turned the concept of the cookery course on its head, revamping it from the ground up.

For starters both our locations- al castello, or in Lecce- are in the historic centres, right in the epicentre of where cultures gathers. There are no isolated villas off in the countryside. With us,  you will interact with locals. You will order our daily vegetables from our trusted greengrocery, your shiny new Italian phrases making you feel 8 again. You will order your own espresso, making small talk with the barista. You will connect.

But beyond our placement in the epicentres, we’ve also systemic in our approach. With degrees in the Italian wine system our staff teaches wine the same way we teach food: not as recipes but as world views. Where others are content to discuss the ‘hows’ we fixate on the ‘whys’, showing how geography, immigration, weather, climate (which is weather over time), terrain and invasions have all come to create this cuisine, one of the most fascinating known to man. That it’s also regarded as the healthiest on the planet singles out The Mediterranean Diet as reason alone to consider a visit (The Mediterranean Diet as it consumed in the Salento is the only cuisine in the world actually protected by UNESCO).

With chalkboard talks that go quicker and deeper into food than you’ve likely ever gone before and then hands-on lessons that feature your hands and not ours, our programmes shine as the fastest- and funnest- way into the culture of a unique part of Italy. Maybe the best part.

But we know we can’t be all things to all people, which is why we have so many different courses. Whether it’s bicycling the olive groves only to arrive at the set table just as the pasta water comes to the boil, making the annual tomato sauce- 350 litres at a time- or studying the wine of the entire Italian south- la Sicilia, Calabria, Basilicata and la Puglia- we have something for everyone.

At least those that know that real Italy begins when you leave the turn styles behind.

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