Heather Bessee, MS, RDN “The entire experience was just amazing and inspiring in so many ways-both professionally and personally.” Puglia 2019 Culinary Tour

“I had never thought of going to Puglia before seeing Layne’s trip itinerary. I love going to less touristy places and want unique and authentic experiences that I can remember forever. Puglia offered more than I ever could have imagined.I have never been to a UNESCO site before (I don’t think) and now I have been to two. I am in awe of all of the olive trees and the diverse landscapes of Puglia. I adore that the nonnas are making pasta in the streets and are faster than machines. I love that the tradition still lives and feel so humbled that I was able to not only witness the nonnas, but to experience Old Bari and be part of their local street life.The cooking classes were exceptional and well organized! The chefs in Italy work magic in very small spaces! Each experience was wonderful and deeply appreciated! The foods that we sampled were heart healthy and many were high fiber, high nutrient content, etc.  Delicious and healthy—my kind of meals.Hands down staying at the masseria was my FAVORITE accommodation because of the charm and character- from the location and room décor to the food.  The room space and décor were stunning, unique and comfortable. The spacious location was lovely, open and beautiful.  The food here was my favorite for breakfast- the roasted tomatoes, cheese, prosciutto and hard-boiled eggs with capers. Simple and so very satisfying.Our driver, Antonio was amazing!  What can I say?  Those ties!!!!  Magnificent. Antonio has a pleasant personality and is very respectful and safe. Grazie for having the water available to us at all time—and for finding my wallet!  Our guides, Antonella and Sandro were so knowledgeable and translated exceptionally well. Their English is so much better than my own.The meticulous care that was taken to plan, prepare and present the meals was evident. The food quality was exceptional and fresh; and the flavors were crafted together so artfully. I was exposed to some combinations of foods that I had not thought of putting together. Especially the beans…the fava bean puree was one of my favorite dishes.  I never got tired of homemade pasta and beans, and bread and cheeses, etc.The transfers to and from the airport were convenient, quick and easy.I enjoyed reviewing the itinerary prior to the trip and felt that it was detailed and thorough. I read it over several times before traveling to Italy and was excited and inspired every time I read it. I knew I was making the right decision in choosing to take this trip because the details of the trip were well thought out and laid out. Each venue was described meticulously. I know there were a few changes to the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances and I felt that it was explained and handled professionally and meticulously as well.Every part of the itinerary was fabulous, however I was so touched by being able to go to Lisa’s house! We had a private, intimate, local, homemade dinner shared with our group and I felt so lucky, privileged, grateful, humbled, etc!  And even meeting Sandro’s wife and baby was very special to me. I truly felt like I was part of an amazing family in Puglia. I loved that everywhere we went in Puglia the people made us feel welcomed, appreciated, and valued. We were so blessed to have those experiences as most tourists never have the opportunities that we had.My two top favorite foods were the ravioli with turnip greens on the last evening and the orecchiette with pumpkin, scamorza, and capicola at Altemura Winery. The potato flan and the pureed fava beans with chicory that Anna Maria made were delicious as well. The DiGesu bread was amazing! Best bread EVER!  I enjoyed all of the gelato that I ate, too!  Perhaps Sandro can teach us how to make gelato next time?At Lisa’s House I loved the beans and greens and the eggplant.In all honesty I enjoyed everything that I ate in Puglia. I am glad that I tasted everything and it was all so delicious.  I think I am good on octopus now for awhile. I like it, but only in small amounts. I have tried it a few times, but prefer the squid and cuttlefish much better.I learned how to make three easy homemade pasta shapes by hand. I had never made foccacia before and now know how to make that as well. I loved watching the mozzarella cheese being made so easily. You can tell that all of the chefs that taught us literally perform labors of love everyday. And they make it look so easy.  I learned about the organic farming of wheat, cheese, olives, and wine production.  I enjoyed learning about the production side of things and then putting it to the plate. This really made a difference to me as I always want to know where my food comes from, how it was produced and how it was prepared.  I feel that all of our food in America is processed in a plant and packaged and eaten right out of the bag.  It really is sad in so many ways... but understandable to a certain degree.I learned about the towns like Trulli Houses/Alberobello, Ostuni, Lecce, Gallipoli. Visiting Matera and Alberobello (Trulli houses) the UNESCO sites was exciting as I had never been to an UNESCO site prior to this trip.I learned about local foods grown in Puglia such as cherries, almonds, olives, Verdeca (white) and Susumaniello (red) grapes, figs, etc.The entire experience was just amazing and inspiring in so many ways-both professionally and personally. I am curious as to how the trip would have been with more RD’s as opposed to being comprised mostly of significant others/friends. The week may have had a different vibe to it, but I truly adored everyone that went on the trip. They were a special group and so generous and welcoming as was everyone that we met in Puglia.I am proud of our Puglia group! I loved Mama Mia, Ethelina, Katarina, Lucia, Roberto, Eduardo, etc. and I ADORE my Italian name of Fiore!!!! Giving us all Italian names was such a nice little touch on the trip."

Heather Bessee, MS, RDN

WorldRD® by Layne Lieberman, RD
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2020-01-26T22:49:36-07:00

Heather Bessee, MS, RDN

"I ADORE my Italian name of Fiore!!!! Giving us all Italian names was such a nice little touch on the trip."