Food Lovers in Puglia – Day 1 & 2: Gelato, Feasts, Otranto, Olive Groves and More



After much anticipation, the day came and the guests of the Food Lovers' Tour in Puglia have arrived!  They enjoyed a relaxing travel day at the masseria. We had a poolside lunch and time to lounge by the pool and/or wander around the grounds of the masseria.  Their official welcome came as we kicked off the tour with a private oil and pate tasting from Azienda Taurino and a dinner of typical Salentine dishes.


Traditional food of Puglia
Dinner included traditional Pugliese dishes: Orecchiette, Fava bean puree with chicory, Fagioli with tuna and onions in agrodolce, focaccia Salentina, potato salad with tomato and basil, and grilled eggplant


The first full day of the tour started off with our group going crazy over a behind-the-scenes gelato-making and tasting demonstration at Gelateria Tentazioni in Lecce. Chef Antonio, who has been making gelato for 35 years, opened up his kitchen to us and gave us a look at how they make gelato and sorbetto in Italy. Antonio also shared his recipe for one of his latest gelato creations: a vincotto sorbetto.  We sampled chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut, vincotto, fior di latte and another creation from Antonio called the Fiesta. Inspired by many popular candy bars in Italy, Antonio made the Fiesta and other gelato bars using gelato flavor combinations similar to the candy bars. The Fiesta is a pairing of chocolate and orange.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of grown ups get so excited.  There
were squeals, ooohs, aaahhs, and moans of satisfaction with every
spoonful of gelato we tasted.


Chef Antonio sharing his gelato creations inspired by popular "candy bars"

Gabriele of Gelateria Tentazioni (temptations) making chocolate gelato

Chocolate and hazelnut spumoni in Italy
Making Chocolate and hazelnut spumoni at the gelateria




Food Lovers Culinary Tour in Puglia
Food Lovers' Tour at Porto Badisco


There was a short pause between gelato and lunch with a photo op stop at Porto Badisco.  Those who’ve been following Food Lover’s Odyssey, might remember my story of Porto Badisco and tasting sea urchin. Although we didn’t taste any of the sea urchin fresh from the sea, we were able to see the beach at its bluest under the bright summer sun.


Our table at La Fattoria in Otranto


On this tour, you can bet that the next meal is right around the corner. And it was. Lunch was at La Fattoria, a trattoria that embraces the Zero Kilometro philosophy, the term Italy uses for its movement of eating local and seasonal. Almost all ingredients come from the trattoria's farm and garden, and those that don’t come from no farther than 100 kilometers away. We dined on countless plates of traditional Salentine antipasti that included pittole (fried batter), fried zucchini flowers, bruschetta and tomatoes, freshly-made ricotta, peperonata, carpaccio di zucchine and grilled eggplant and zucchini. The primi (pasta dishes) included more traditional flavors of Salento: cavatelli with zucchini and massa (a Salentine pasta) with cabbage and chickpeas. On the tour with us is Eva, a master gardener, and she and her husband Del brilliantly detected a hint of cinnamon in the massa pasta dish.


Pittole - fried bread from Puglia
Pittole – fried bread was one of our many antipasti

Massa pasta with cabbage and chick peas
Massa pasta with cabbage and chick peas


To walk off lunch we took a leisurely stroll through Otranto, located on the eastern coast of Salento, entering through the ancient castle walls that were built as a protection against invaders from the east. Our visit included one to Otranto’s cathedral, where everyone stood in awe of the Tree of Life mosaic that covered the church’s entire main floor and the crypt that holds the bones of the 800 martyrs of townspeople who refused to denounce their religion after Otranto fell to the Turks in 1480.


Otranto port
Port at Otranto

Tree of Life mosaic in the Otranto Cathedral

Food Lovers Tour in Puglia
Enjoying the view of the sea at Otranto


The day was far from over. Imagine wine tasting and listening to music under hundred-year old olive trees, under the stars, with the scents from candles wafting through the air and illuminating the olive orchard and then listening to music in the same olive grove.  Our amazing first day ended with us doing just that at  Masseria Terre dei Padri.   


Wine tasting in the olive grove at Masseria Terre dei Padri


Before the piano concert, chef Alessandro invited us for yet another behind-the-scenes look into his kitchen where he showed us the steps involved in creating one of his most popular antipasti, a platter of smoked swordfish, shrimp and a marinated salmon roll. 


Smoked swordfish, marinated tuna involtini and shrimp from Gallipoli at Masseria Terra dei Padri


Our group in the kitchen with chef Alessandro


Dinner was also at Masseria Terre dei Padri where chef Alessandro’s dishes were loved and devoured by all. Chef Alessandro started with traditional dishes of the area and reinvented and recreated them to fit the very upscale setting of the four-star masseria. We paired our meal with two of our favorite wines from our earlier tasting, a rosato and Salice Salentino, made by the masseria. 

Here are just a few of our favorites from this fantastic meal:


Capocollo from Martina Franca, burrata and an eggplant flan
Antipasto plate of capocollo from the Itria Valley, burrata and an eggplant flan

Acqua Sale with seafood
Antipasto plate of Acqua Sale with Seafood

I maritati with little meatballs
I Maritati (orecchiette and maccheroni) with little meatballs (polpettini)

Tiella alla Barese
Tiella alla Barase – A casserole (tiella) of potatoes, rice, tomatoes and mussels


And this was just day one. I'll be back soon with highlights from Day 2!  


If you'd like to see more photos of all the fun and food we're having here in Puglia, check them out in the tour's album on the Food Lover's Odyssey Facebook Page.


me in Puglia in 2013! For this food lover's culinary tour, we'll be
cooking with our beautiful Italian mamme
and professional chefs. We'll also be eating and exploring our way through
the region.  There are four tour dates available from which
to choose! For tour details, check out this page:  Food Lover's Culinary Tour in Puglia


Related Posts:

An Aperitivo to Whet Your Appetite for Puglia

The Pastries of Lecce with Pastry Chef Luca Capilungo

Olivotto: The Sweet Side of Olives

Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Seafood and More with Chef Lino at Ristorante Donna Lisa

Orecchiette and Salentine Breads – Cooking with Mamma Giulia in Salento

Under the Salento Sun – The Masserie of Salento

Wedding in Puglia

Cheese in Puglia – Making and Eating Fresh Cheese in Salento

Artisanal Cheese at Masseria CinqueSanti in Puglia

Lecce: The Baroque Beauty of Puglia

The Art of Making Pasta by Hand: A Pugliese Pasta Lesson with Nonna Vata

Tour of Masseria L'Astore and its Frantoio Ipogeo in Salento

Lunch Salento Style at Cantine Menhir



  1. Tuula
    September 7th

    Oh wow oh wow !! I think we are all sitting in front of our computers and drooling… I know I am! This looks like an amazing day 1 and everyone on your tour is very lucky… so jealous :)! Looking forward to more updates…

  2. Michelle Hebert
    September 9th

    I would really love to be on that visit:) mjh

  3. Krista
    September 9th

    Wow – what a fantastic trip, Kathy. :-) You’ve done a spectacular job. :-)

  4. Kathy
    September 17th

    Tuula & Krista – Thanks for the support and sweet comments. We have a great group of food lovers with us.
    Michelle – Thanks for you comment. You can be on this trip. I’ll be posting dates & details for 2013 within the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

  5. AdriBarr
    October 25th

    What a wonderful album of photos. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time!

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