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The Cooking School and Wine Programme
This might just be the most important page our site, as this one explains how each course differs from one another.

You’ll cook at all courses, but, say, our wine course has decidedly more wine content than food, etc. Come in the winter time and you’re less likely to want to finish each evening in the castle’s pool. In other words, you will enjoy all of courses, but the information below will help you choose the right one for you.

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Tuition to our courses covers all lessons, meals, wines and transportation, once our course begins, with the exception of Friday dinner for all courses at la casa di Silvestro (your one meal ‘off’). It does not include accommodation (as per European law) but once you book, we’ll give you access to our Inner Sanctum, which not only helps you plan your trip, but also gives you a list of our trusted hoteliers around the city (at several different price points and levels of service).


If you’ll be attending one of our courses al castello, you’ll be staying with us there. How to book your stay at il castello is also contained in the Inner Sanctum (Prices at il castello are from 55 to 95 Euro per person per night, based on single or double occupancy). As referenced above, only licensee travel agents can arrange your accommodations for you: in our Inner Sanctum, we give you the information, email address and even maps. All you have to do is hit the ‘send’ on the email.

•Day Courses:

Day Courses are for those that are already in Lecce or the region of Puglia for other reasons. Tuition covers the morning’s espresso and pastry, trips to multiple markets, all lessons, both lunch and dinner and all wines and hand-made liqueurs.

If you’re by yourself or with one another, we may elect to include you into a week-long course, on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. If there are more than two of you, we may create a free-standing course for you, based, of course, on availability. Write us to learn more.

We’ll meet under the statue of Sant’ Oranzo at 10.a.m. and then start the day with coffee (and/or granite) at Gracious Antonio’s. We’ll do an overview of the day, answering any questions you may have. We’ll head on to the market to meet our vendors, Simone our green grocer, Stefano our butcher, and on. We’ll head back to the school and make fresh pasta together in the stable kitchen, for both lunch and dinner. We’ll prepare lunch together, and depending on the season, either eat in the stable, the wine cellar or the garden. We’ll give you a break, for a nap back at your room and then meet in the main piazza for a talk about il duomo, Santa Croce and the city’s main square. We’ll head back to the school and prepare dinner, the excellent local wine every bit as carefully chosen as our menu. Dinner will run long. Conversation will flow. And then we’ll walk you back to the main piazza after dinner.

Regarding scheduling, please write us and we’ll be forthright whether we’ll be able to offer one the day when you will be in town. Our week long course always takes precedence, but if we are able, we’d really love to have you.

Course Fee: 195 Euro

•Weeklong courses:

Week long course at la casa di Silvestro in Lecce

This is how it all started, 9 years ago. We’re in the historic centre of Lecce, the region’s vibrant cultural capital, and most likely the prettiest city in the entire south of Italy. Course starts at 7pm on Monday evenings, until we say goodbye on Sunday morning (Friday dinner is the only meal off but students often go out to dinner together). We limit these to 7 people per week. We don’t do any canning or bottling while in Lecce (if interested in canning or bottling, see our courses al castello). See la mia cucina to see Silvestro’s kitchen

Course Fee:  1895 Euro


Week long course at il castello (The Castle)

It’s important to notice that it is not an alternative sleeping arrangement its but a totally different city, different kitchens and a different experience. We begin with an open house at the Lecce school (on us) on Monday morning at noon and then depart at 2 PM together for il castello, which is 40 minutes south of Lecce.

And it is all ours for the week.

We’ll sleep at the castle as well, which makes up roughly 50% of the historic centre of a small, southern Italian town. (One of the kitchen doors opens right onto the city’s main piazza). Locals are exceedingly friendly, and meeting you will likely make their week!

Four years ago Silvestro and a local baron built a large and impressive kitchen together, unlike any other in Italy. They lined it with woven baskets of seasonal produce. Giant cauldrons to boil pasta for entire feasts, massive grills large enough to roast whole animals. It impresses deeply.

The castle is also where we do our canning projects, bake bread in a wood-fired oven during the colder months, grill on a massive scale, and swim in the baron’s pool for our birthday course in September.

The castle is also where ALL of our special courses are held.

Such as:

Our birthday week. Come celebrate our school’s birthday with us! We bottle the year’s tomato sauce, right in the castle’s main courtyard. We also make the year’s vincotto, and then eat it over homemade gelato. The baron’s impressive pool is still open in September, and we’re in it several times a day. A great week of cooking and wine, heavy on canning, and fun. We finish each evening with locally made bubbly while bobbing in the pool.

The advanced course for returning students. Sorry, only those that have already taken our class are eligible (And there are worse fates than ‘having’ to take our normal class). Bread baking. How to blind taste wine. More history. More language. How wine is made. How olive oil is made. Walks in the nearby olive groves. Here is the class for those that have always wanted to come back, but yet wanted to learn an all new curriculum, yet still within the repertoire and spirit of the Salento.

San Martino. Few foreigners know San Martino, which is easily the year’s best holiday. It culminates in a giant feast but the week also marks the beginning of several important foods: chestnuts, clementines and the winter citrus fruits. But it’s also the day of the release of the new wine (held by law), until San Martino, quando ogni mosto diventa vino (San Martino, when the must becomes wine…at least it rhymes in Italian). In the castle’s main hall, we grill most nights, right in the baron’s fireplace. The course is decidedly autumnal, heavy on the local, world-class reds, hand-selected by the school’s owner, a certified Italian sommelier.

Terronia: the New Wine School of Southern Italy. Silvestro Silvestori bicycles the entire south of Italy each year, reporting on the wines he finds while bicycling Italy’s ‘Mezzogiorno or halfday’, that is, the south. After following along, students then come to the castle for a week dedicated to wine and food (rather than in the other order). Featuring the same wines from his bicycle trips, students learn both about the ancient wines of Southern Italy, but too, about wine in general: how to taste, serve, pair and enjoy wine in general. Final exam is compulsory only for those on the diploma track.

Course Fee:  1995 Euro

Special Events:

We will also consider special events upon occasion, like honeymoon parties, reunions, birthday parties, writer’s retreats, etc. Special pricing may apply depending on the event. Please contact us for more details if you have something unique in mind.

Non-Participating Companions:

Non-Participating Companions may attend meals and outings. Non-participates do not affect the student counts per week, as they aren’t ever in the kitchen with us.

Fee: 495 Euro

Reserve your place now !


Cancellation & Refunds Policy

Tuition is non-refundable anytime after one calendar month before registered class begins. However, after this, a one-time change of dates is possible (when available), and free of charge. There are no refunds should students miss classes or meals, either by electing to do so, or by late arrival or early departure.

If  The Awaiting Table must cancel a program for any reason, all fees and deposits will be refunded in full. Any related travel costs will not be reimbursed. This to date has never happened. In 9 years, we’ve yet to cancel a class.

Legal Liability (Standard to the Industry)

Students must sign a legal waiver freeing the The Awaiting Table and its staff from any legal liability. This form must be signed upon arrival. This is an industry standard.

We assume no liability for injury, delay, inconvenience, irregularity, loss or damage to person or property or additional cost resulting directly or indirectly from the following causes: fire, acts of government, thefts, delays, cancellations or for any other events with which we have no control.

No refunds will be given for any sightseeing, accommodations, meals, or excursions that the participant misses or decides not to take.

For housing and accommodation information, please visit our Accomodations page.

How to Pay

Our preferred method of payment is through the online service, PayPal, a safe, modern service that allows you to make payments in your local currency. During the registration process, you will be asked to make your accompanying payment.

Travel Insurance

We recommend that you purchase separate insurance in case you have to cancel your trip, as well as accident, health and baggage and personal effects loss or damage.

What is this ‘Inner Sanctum’?


Upon payment, all courses come with access to our Inner Sanctum, which has a lot of good information regarding where we’ll meet for your course, how to arrive, how to stay in touch, both before and after Lecce, what to pack, more about the wine of the region, and what to do both before and after your time with us.

While we’d like to remind you that we’re not travel agents by any means, we have been doing this for 9 years. The pages of our Inner Sanctum are loaded with valuable information to help you get the most out of your time in Italy.And in an effort to keep our focus on the teaching of food and wine- -rather than the answering of large amounts of email of those that will never actual come visit us– we don’t give out this information until we are sure you are coming. In other words, arrival, departure and booking your accommodation are all very easy but the specifics are best worked out AFTER booking, rather than before. If you determine that we are right for you, we’d really love to have you in the kitchen with us, and around the table.