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advanced course for returning students

There are the courses that we teach and those that we wish we could teach all the time, and this is certainly the latter. We’re even more excited about the advanced course than the returning students.

picking grapes in PugliaHow to make wine. You’ll hand-pick and then press the grapes,  tipping them not into space age, stainless steel pods, but a hand-turned wine press, out behind the house. We’ll strip away all of wine’s pretense, learning to discern the entire production process, not as a luxury good but as one of Europe’s most elemental food. (And of course we’ll go deeper into our talks about wine’s history, of Southern Europe’s ingenuity, of filtering rain water through a plant as a way to clean it, before the advent of modern plumbing).

How to bake bread in a wood-fired oven.  Using the baron’s stone oven (and the prunings from the grape vines, a cyclical beauty in and of itself) you’ll learn how to make bread at home better than you can likely buy (and break your fast each morning with warm versions of it, doused liberally with our own extra virgin). Aside from perfecting your loaf, we’ll sieve through history, discussing bread as the commoner’s food, of the public bread ovens, and the moments in history when they became private again.baking bread in Puglia

How to make il vincotto. Southern Italy’s ‘honey’, of grape must boiled down until its sugar actually begins to preserve it (If there is a more seductive way of conserving the flavour of the summer’s sun, we don’t know of it).  36 hours of cooking (most of it unattended).

How to make vinegar. If you think that this is overly simple or even boring you may have never heard of vinegar eels. We’ll do a tasting of 10 vinegars (many of them made by us at the school), and learn its place in canning and preserving, as well as the table.

And since it’s September the baron’s pool will be open and the nearby Adriatic still bath water warm.


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Silvestro Silvestori
Sommelier / Owner / Director of The Awaiting Table Cookery School, Lecce, Italy

Silvestro Silvestori, the owner, founder and director of The Awaiting Table Cookery School, Lecce, Italy has been teaching the food and wine of Puglia and particular- Italy’s Salentine peninsula since 2003. In addition to his knowledge of Pugliese food and culture, Silvestro is a nationally-certified sommelier in Italy, and a staff writer for Wine & Spirits magazine, covering all their Southern Italian food and wine content. He has also appeared on American, Australian, Belgian, British, Chinese, Dutch and Italian television, and Italy’s most respected newspaper called him, ‘A national treasure’, and ‘THE anthropologist of the traditional cuisine of the Salento’ for his work in preservation and promotion of Salentine’s food and wine.

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