She’s the star of the show, Emiluccia. Her colour, is our colour as a school (Pantone 1837). She magically appears in many of our class pictures, and never seems happier than when flying through the Salento countryside, with torch songs from the 1970s, her coming of age.
Here is a short film about her. One of my first. Video: Silvestro & Emiluccia: True Love Always!
Her best feature though is that she lets me think that everyone is smiling at me as we pass.
The Salento is one of the flattest regions of all of Italy, mostly due to the giant slab of sandstone that runs from coast to coast and down into the seas that make up the Mediterranean (in our case, the Adriatic and the Ionian).
The lack of hills makes the Salento special, if only for what the region lacks. Mainly, cows and pigs.
To find out how this has been a historical strength, read further around our site. Or come visit.
La Pappa (Food)
Pappa, is slang for ‘food’ here in Italy.
This gallery is about food, not just as plates and recipes at a cookery course in Italy but as ingredients and food preparation, the way that food reflects Puglia, the Salento and Lecce, this very special part of the world.
There is a lot beyond le orecchiette and il negroamaro. We’ll add to this often so be certain to return.
La Vita Leccese
Lecce is one of the prettiest cities in Europe, even if the majority of international travellers have never even heard of it, let alone visited. It’s the cultural capitol of the Salento, the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot.
Lecce is home to a significant university, respected nationally and internationally for the study of languages and for the research and development of nanotechnology.
The city is always famous inside of Italy as a film town, with many spots, television serials and feature films make the city as one of its characters.
We fell in love with her twice:-
1) When we first saw her drawings.
2) When she visited our school for the first time. And we’ve been in love ever since.
This is the gallery for LeeAnn Hollister, the artist behind all of the drawings associated with our school (the chairs in our logo, our two kitchens and many of the drawings we publish our social media accounts).
She visits us at least once a year so write us if you want to visit us when she is here. You’ll fall in love too.
La Vita Al Castello
There are thoughts that are hard to prove wrong: one that we wrestle with as a cooking school in Italy is that castles are these isolated stone buildings, up on a hill, off in the distance. Most of the time they are the epicentres of cities, or said another, cities grew up around them. The castle where we have been holding classes since 2007 is no different.
Yes, there are underground tunnels to nearby chapels (in the event of a siege, the family would have been lead underground to the chapel, where they would be dressed as friars and led to awaiting boats). And yes there are outward tapering arrow slots for archers but a lot of castle life was working with and alongside local townspeople (step outside of the castle’s main kitchen and you’re in the village’s main piazza, etc).
Inside of the walls there are hundreds of fruit trees, underground olive mills, a swimming pool and lots of hidden little corners to take a book for a few hours. Most of the time though, the castle allows us to have large and gregarious groups of people food and wine classes, the clicking glasses running down long tables, the pasta arriving on platters, best lifted with the knees.