Authentic is a word that’s often tossed around, sometimes indiscriminately, to describe a persons character or to judge a piece of craftsmanship. But when it comes to travel, it’s the new buzz word and it’s something very real that travelers seek. Gone are the days of pre-formulated travel and well trodden paths – globe trotters want to feel connected to the lands they visit on every plane – emotionally, spiritually and physically. Having traveled all over Italy, I would say unequivocally that Puglia, the heel of Italy, is one of the most splendid regions definitely one of the most authentic in southern Italy, and perhaps the world. That’s because it encompasses a multitude of friendly faces, captivating countrysides, beautiful beaches, old cities and local food that provide the foundation for the alluring life in Puglia.

The region, known for its biodiversity has always been Italy’s breadbasket because of its fertile soil, olive trees and old-fashioned pasta making (especially the orrechiette or ear-shape pasta, made by hand). Local, organic food from surrounding farms is a way of life. Everyone enjoys the exquisite produce, fresh-pressed olive oil, Primitivo wine, seafood, fresh dairy and pasture-raised meat. Regional chef Anna Marie Chirone says, “The Ionian Sea is the saltiest part of the Med and that’s why the seafood tastes so good. Don’t leave without sampling the cozzes (black mussels).”

Puglia is the epitome of slow food and zero kilometer living. The authenticity makes you wonder how long life in this part of southern Italy will stay just as it is.

Food is religion and the culture dictates eating fresh pasta everyday–1 to 2 cups cooked! Pasta is made with semolina flour and water, a 2:1 ratio. One must visit Bari, the capital of Puglia, to tour the old medieval city of Bari Vecchia, where grandmas (nonnas) sit outside their homes and behind wooden worktables dusted with semolina flour, making pasta to sell for 5 euros per kilo. If you happen to get 1, 3 or 5-gigante orecchiette thrown in to the mix, then you’re lucky! It’s an art that hopefully will not be los. Italian coffee (caffé) is a form of art with a specific coffee drink for every time of the day. Caffé corretto is thrown back like a shot. Cappuccino and brioche are for breakfast. You’ll never find a Starbucks here. Almond milk is local and the Mediterranean diet is alive and well. California Zinfandel (red wine) is thought to be a replica of Puglia’s Primitivo, both derived from an ancient Croatian grape variety.

There are multi-generational family farms (masserias) producing olives, grapes, almonds, cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, hand harvested wheat, fava beans, chicory, tomatoes, fennel, onions, figs, lemons, limes, dates, herbs, pomegranates and so on. More than any other region in Italy, Puglia is the real deal, a groundswell of authenticity that must be visited first hand.

From Oct 30-Nov 6, 2016 (6 nights) I will be leading, Passion for Puglia, along with colleague and nationally known culinary nutritionist, Robyn Webb, MS. Together we have teamed up with Puglia’s premier touring company, Southern Visions. This 6 night, 7 day customized culinary and cultural journey is a trip of a lifetime. Your authentic experience begins at a 16th century palazzo in the heart of Monopoli’s Old Town.  From there over 7 magical days, you’ll learn the art of pasta making from real nonnas, the local ladies that teach better than any toqued chef, sip olive oil as if it were a fine wine, learn to make cheese on an authentic masseria (farm) and so much more. Coupled with all the culinary experiences is the opportunity to live among the people of Puglia and spend time with them visiting their world renowned UNESCO sites and be privy to events that are normally closed to the public.

Please consider joining us for this once in a lifetime experience. To register go to http://www.southernvisionstravel.com/pdf/pdf1.pdf for the itinerary and all details. To register: use the CONTACT form on the main page.

  • Hosted and accompanied by two award-winning culinary nutritionists, Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN and Robyn Webb, MS.
  • All in-country lodging, travel and tours researched and curated by Southern Visions Travel, a luxury, Puglia-based culinary travel company owned and operated by local regional specialists.
  • Conducted in collaboration with top local chefs, organic and biodynamic farmers, DOP bread makers, artisanal cheese-makers, and a renowned regional nutritionist.
  • Lodging has been carefully chosen for the highest standards so that you will enjoy a Mediterranean seaside experience, luxury accommodations in an ancient city and a magical retreat on an organic farm dedicated to indigenous produce grown on the estate.
  • Local and expert hosts will be present throughout the trip to share their knowledge.
  • Guests will interact with a local nutritionist to obtain firsthand information about the modern Mediterranean diet and how it relates to the health and wellbeing of the population.
  • Guests will experience cooking classes, learn about and enjoy food on-site from the most passionate and celebrated chefs and producers of the region.
  • Required local insurance is provided by Southern Vision Travel and is detailed in the travel brochure.

Book by June 15, 2016 for a complimentary free night at Palazzo Indelli at the start of the trip.

Book by June 15, 2016 to receive a $300 discount per person.

Check out this video from our travel company in Puglia: