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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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How Our Italian Cooking Courses Differ

Founded in 2003, The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy has always been in constant evolution, creating new food and wine courses for our students. And while what we do always comes back to Southern Italian food and wine, some of our courses add other elements as well.

This might be the most important page on our site: it explains how our Cooking Courses differ in Content, Price, Date & Location.

And of course you’re always encouraged to Email us. We’d love to hear from you.

Click on any of the following Course Titles to learn more, see pictures and watch videos.

Corso giornaliero: Day course

Where: In Lecce or al castello
When: All year long.
How long: 5 hours.
How much: 145 Euro per day. 95 Euro for children under 14.
Where Will you Sleep: See our recommendations in Student Services.
Open to: Everyone.
What Makes it Special: These are tiny little tastes of what we do for those who only have a day with us. These courses are bursting with content: history, theory and practice. Don’t see the date you want? Write us: we gladly add day courses all the time.
What is included: Morning espresso. A walking trip to market to meet our trusted vendors. Hands-on lesson of local pasta. Cookery lesson. 7 dishes. Local wine discussion. Three wines. A meal. A roaming discussion throughout about what makes this part of Italy extra special.
What’s up to you: any transportation or accommodation but booked students have access to our Student Services.

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Terronia: Our Southern Italian Wine Course

Where: In Lecce or al castello
When: 4 times per year. Once per season.
How long: Three days, always on a weekend
How much: 1,245 Euro per person
Where will you sleep: See our recommendations in Student Services.
Open to: Everyone.
What Makes it Special: Terronia is dynamic but deeply-pleasurable introduction to the indigenous grape varietals and wines of Sicilian, Calabria, Basilicata and la Puglia. Our owner is an Italian-certified sommelier and wine journalist specialising in these very regions. You’ll learn about soil, technique, modernisation, culture, climate and history, as well as tasting nearly 40 wines from Southern Italy. How much can you learn about wine in three days? You’ll find out, while having a lot of fun.
What is included: All wine. Lunch and dinner all three days, including one pasta and cookery lesson, because wine and food are indivisible in Italy. Transportation to a locally winery. Tasting. Optional exam and diploma for those that pass (written, oral and tasting).
What’s up to you: Any accommodation but booked students have access to our Student Services.

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Corso alla casa di Silvestro: A week-long course in Silvestro’s home in Lecce

Where: The Historic Centre of Lecce
When: Held throughout the year.
How long: From Monday evening until Saturday morning.
How much: 1995 Euro
Where will you sleep: See our recommendations in Student Services.
Open to: Everyone.
What makes this special: This is how it all began, back in 2003. You’ll cook with our owner’s personal, copper cookware, use his knives and collection of antique, local pottery and have access to his personal cookery book library (one of Italy’s largest private collections). These are intimate courses, limited in size. We finish many nights in the local wine bars, situated among the city’s world famous architecture.
What is included: All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. Many, many surprises. Most people don’t even carry money for the week, as everything is included.
What’s up to you: All transportation before or after the course, one dinner (the only meal ‘off’). *Accommodations but booked students have access to our Student Services. Any textiles as personal souvenirs when we visit a local loom.

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Corso al Castello: General course at the castle

Where: An hour south of Lecce in the Baron’s Castle
When: Throughout the year. See calendar.
How long: From Monday morning until Saturday morning.
How much: 1995 Euro
Where do I sleep? * Al castello.

What makes it special: il Castello is ours for the week, from the use of our impressive kitchens, to the baron’s pool, to the underground olive mill, etc. Il castello makes up one quarter of the historic centre of a small Italian town (as opposed to how many imagine, as an isolated structure, up on a hill). Exit il castello’s kitchen door and you’re in the main piazza. We shop daily at the greengrocer, butcher, visit an olive oil producer, etc., all interacting with locals every day.

Each week al Castello features the local food and wine but there is always an added element as well. Bicycling. More wine than food. Making our annual extra virgin. Roasting whole pigs. Making the annul tomato sauce. Read below to decide which week is right for you. Or email us and we’ll make some suggestions.

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Corso avanzato: An advanced course for returning students

Where: al castello.
When: From Monday morning until Saturday morning. Held in the Autumn. (See Calendar)
How Much: 1995 Euro
Where Will you Sleep: *al Castello.
What Makes it Special: By ‘advanced’ we mean in interest rather than in abilities, here is your chance to go deeper into the food, wine, extra virgin, culture and language, especially if you’ve already been to the school (although the course is open to anyone).
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).
What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week. *Accommodations.

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Corso Bici/Cucina/Vino: A course dedicated to bicycling/cooking/wine

Where: Al castello
When: twice annually. See Calendar.
How long: From Monday to Saturday morning.
How much: 1995 Euro, with a 195 supplement for bicycle rental, insurance and guide hire.
Where will you sleep: * al Castello.
What makes it special? A surprising, runaway hit. This is a school rather than a tour, so we’ll return to the castle each day to learn, cook, drink, laugh and sleep. Cycling is between 3 and 4 hours a day, mostly flat terrain. Our students love returning to the same room and bed each night, rather than having to tour, unpacking and repacking. This is decidedly for Sunday cyclists versus those that need need blood transfusions and hyperbaric chambers after their rides.
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).
What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week. * Accommodations. Class is held at the castle and we stay there as well

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La settimana della salsa: The week we make the annual tomato sauce!

Where: Al castello
When: Early September.
How long: From Monday to Saturday.
How much: 1995 Euro
Where will you sleep: * Al castello.
What makes it special? This is the week we make the annual tomato sauce, often a high point of the year. It’s also the week we make our vincotto. And the week when nearly every meal ends with everyone into the baron’s pool.
What’s included: All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).

What’s up to you: All transportation before and after the course.

*Accommodation. We stay at the castle.

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Quindici!!! Our 15th Anniversary/ Birthday week!

(AKA 15 (Marginally Illicit) Things to Do to a Dead Pig:
Where: Al castello
When: Early September. See calendar.
How long: From Monday to Saturday
How much: 1995 Euro
Where do I sleep: * Al castello.
What makes it special? This will be noisy, our 15th birthday celebration. Aside from cooking and eating our normal menù, we’re adding 15 dishes based on all things porcine (with San Francisco chef Liza Shaw in house for the week to help with the multiple pigs), including Friday’s night, with an entire porchetta roasted in the baron’s wood-fired oven. You’ll learn how to break down whole pigs, roast, grill, fry and even to render the lard for making fresh pastry.
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).
What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week.

* Accommodations. Class is held at the castle and we stay there as well.

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Olive You: A course dedicated to Making / Tasting / Cooking with our Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Where: Al castello
When: Late October/November
How much: 1995 Euro
Where do I sleep: * Al castello.
What makes it special: Here is your chance to really get to know one of the best things on earth. We’ll pick, gather, crush and decant our own oil this week. Plus, learn to taste and appreciate it at the table. But most of all we’ll cook with, anoint and consume the freshly pressed, a once in a life time experience, even for the most well traveled in Italy.
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).

What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week.

* Accommodations. Class is held at the castle and we stay there as well

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Food writing / Cucinca / Vino with Russ Parsons.

Where: Al castello
When: November. See calendar.
How long: From Monday to Saturday
How much: 2595 Euro
Where do I sleep: * Al castello.
What makes this special?
Want to become a better writer? You need a better editor. Join Russ Parsons at Awaiting Table cooking school in Puglia and learn how to conceive, organise, research and write great food stories. Parsons, the longtime food editor at the Los Angeles Times, has edited writers such as Julia Child, Ruth Reichl, Thomas Keller and Paula Wolfert, will not only talk about writing, he’ll work with you one-on-one to help you be the best writer you can be.
The week will be equal parts writing and food and wine.
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week). Russ will autograph his books but you must bring them from home (they are not for sale in Italy).
What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week.

* Accommodations. Class is held at the castle and we stay there as well

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The Jewish Cooking of Southern Italy

Where: Al castello
When: May 7th-12th 2018
How long: From Monday morning to Saturday morning
How much: 1995 Euro
Where do I sleep: * Al castello.

What makes it special? What were the Jewish contributions to Southern Italian food and wine? It turns out, a lot. We’re going to explore them in this week long food, wine and discussion series at the castle. Approaching this as cooks, sommelier and culinary anthropologists, we’ll go deep into this remarkable part of the world. Open to everyone who loves great food, wine, history and culture. Hands-on cooking, wine lessons and short discussions before each meal.
What is included. All lessons, meals, transportation, outings, wine and morning espresso. (Most don’t even carry money for the week).
What’s up to you: Any transportation before or after the week.

*Accommodations. Class is held at the castle and we stay there as well.

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*As per European law, accommodation cannot be included in our prices. Expect to pay between 35 and 110 Euro per night, depending on the level of luxury.

We suggest you book your time with us first, and your stay only after we’ve confirmed your registration, using our password protected, Student Services.

Cancellation & Refunds Policy

Tuition is non-refundable anytime two calendar months 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 15 years, we’ve never canceled a class.

We recommend travel insurance for everything that could potentially happen in the 60 days before your class begins, such as natural disasters, political unrest, airport closures, etc. Our cancellation policy is generous but also firm.

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, terrorism, thefts, delays, cancellations or for any other events over 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 Student Services section (You’ll be given the password upon booking).

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.

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What do Insiders Know About Getting the Most Out of Southern Italy?

Find out, with our free 20-page guide to the food, wine, language, extra virgin, as well as insider travel tips. If you want to fall in love with this part of the world, you’ll need to to know a few things first. What’s worth visiting? What isn’t? And what should you be eating and drinking along the way.