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Puglia in the Summer Sun: Cooking by the Sea

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Priced From
$3,498 USD *
(For One Person, Double Occupancy)
* Plus taxes. Tours sold on an availability basis.
7 days | 6 nights

Fully Guided Tour
Cooking on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula

This summer, immerse yourself in the Southern Italian sun and sea, while learning techniques for delectable eats along the way. Framed by the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west, your edible vacation is located at the southern heel of the boot. Puglia has much to boast about: clear, clean water, delicious food, abundant wine and olive oil production and the people are as open as the sky. You’ll appreciate the local aroma, as oregano, rosemary and juniper perfume the air. Your hands-on cooking classes are created with authentic local recipes, most handed down from their Nonna Tetta to Paola and Antonella, your hosts. This cooking vacation includes VIP pick-up and transfer to your hotel, six nights' accommodations, exclusive access to a private Italian beach club, exciting cave exploration and hiking, all meals and wine and four hands-on cooking classes. Your experience begins at Brindisi Airport or Lecce Train station. These locations can be easily reached from US departure points with an easy connection in Rome or Milan. We can also arrange a pre or post-travel stay in Rome or Milan. We are happy to arrange extensions into other parts of Italy at your request.

Puglia in the Summer Sun: Cooking by the Sea

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Itinerary Accommodations Map FAQ
6 Nights Accommodation
Airport or Train Station Transfers
Welcome Drinks
All Meals Included
4 Hands-on Cooking Classes
Entrance to Lido Giulia Beach Club
2 Boat Caves Tours (Ionian and Adriatic Coast)
Daily Morning Hike
July 10 - Aug 6, 2016 & August 28 - Sept 3, 2016: Sunday Arrival/Saturday Departure
(click item for details)
Day 1
Arrival | Welcome Drinks | Dinner | Cucina Pugliese Class Upon arrival in Rome, take a quick and easy connecting flight or travel to Puglia by high speed rail. You'll be greeted warmly at Brindisi Airport or Lecce Train Station and escorted through the picturesque countryside, enjoying stunning coastal views all the way to II Tabacchificio. When you reach the hotel, meet your hosts for a welcome drink and snack. Next, use your free time to relax, settle into your room and go for a swim before dinner. Kick off your culinary experience with a typical southern Italian dinner, featuring an abundant round of starters (up to ten tasty cooked vegetables, cheese and typical local hams), orecchiette con cime di rapa (orecchiette with greens), mozzarella in carrozza (local mozzarella fried in a crispy shell of bread and fresh eggs) and dessert. Over dessert, you’ll be briefed on the week's activities and receive a short lesson on the Cucina Pugliese.
Day 2
Wake Up Hike to Ciolo | Buffet Breakfast This morning, experience the natural beauty of our area with an easy hike to the private natural fiord Ciolo. This beautiful trail winds along the Adriatic Sea and on very clear days, Greece and Albania are both visible. At the end of the path is a breath taking cave and natural pool, so don’t forget your bathing suit, goggles and snorkelling mask, as you’ll certainly want a chance to swim. Return to the hotel refreshed and ready to start your day with a bountiful, fresh breakfast buffet.
Day 3
Round Trip Transfer to Lido Giulia Exclusive Beach Club Today, enjoy the beach, Italian style. Just five minutes from the hotel, the Lido Giulia Private Beach Club awaits you. The Lido Giulia has beach-going locals and tourists since 2001, offers a unique place to enjoy the beautiful sea of Leuca. Minimalist decor and architectural style allow the pristine blue of this strip of southern Salento Leuca to really shine. Taking advantage of some of the clearest water in Italy, the Lido provides five convenient sea access points. After a dip in the sea, delight in all the comforts you’d expect from an exclusive club: chaise lounges, umbrellas, private cabanas for up to four people, a solarium and gorgeous restaurant/bar.
Day 4
Vegetable Appetizers from Apulia Cooking Class Today’s preparation is fave e cicoria (favabeans with wild chicory), pomodorini scattarisciati (burst tomatoes), melanzane ‘mbuttunate (stuffed eggplant with capers and pecorino cheese), smoked eggplant with pecorino cheese, peperonata with anchovies and olives and vegetables taiedda, a traditional dish originating in Puglia. This cooking class is followed by dinner with wine to enjoy with your new friends.
Day 5
Wake Up Hike | The Coast and the Caves of the Ionia Sea Today will be an experience you’ll never forget. After breakfast, head out to Santa Maria di Leuca and a breath-taking cave tour by boat. The coasts of the Salento peninsula conceals many caves, thousands of years old, and this guided tour allows you to disover them. Spectacularly charming and each completely unique, these caves contribute to Salento’s position as a valued source of historical and archaeological finds. As you learn about the caves from your guide, take in the untouched beauty of your surroundings and don’t miss the opportunity to further appreciate it with a swim!
Day 6
Hand-made Pasta with Three Sauces Cooking Class | Dinner In the late afternoon, join a local pasta legend for a class on the preparation of homemade pasta and ravioli. In addition to pasta that’s been described as “the best I’ve ever tasted,” our chef will let you in on the secrets of three Italian sauces, ensuring you successful Italian-themed dinner parties for years to come. Forget what you think you know about pasta and learn the traditional and the best ways to create pasta and the sauces that make it unique. After all this work, a relaxing dinner follows complete with local wines.
Day 7
Wake Up Hike | Beach Club Entrance or Day of Leisure Still yearning for more sand and sea? Today, you have the option of a full day at the Lido Giulia Beach Club, where your only job is to relax by the beautiful sea of Salento. However, if you’re interested in exploring the area, use today’s free time to venture out. The possibilities are seemingly endless and here are some of our suggestions: hike in the countryside, rent a bike and ride the coastline, visit the city of Lecce on the local electric train, go wine tasting or head out to the ancient city of Ostuni, where you can sit in the charming main square, enjoying an espressino freddo (espresso and vanilla ice cream, a heavenly treat) and possibly even spot a celebrity or two.
Day 8
Secrets of Parmigiana: Three Ways | Afternoon at Leisure | Dinner Start the day with breakfast, followed by an exciting cooking lesson on the secrets of Italian Parmigiana. First, prepare the classic eggplant parmigiana as Nonna Tetta did, followed by the low-fat version and finally, a special recipe of zucchini, potatoes and mozzarella parmigiana. Prepare yourself for lots of fun and hard work, as well as succulent results! Enjoy lunch outside at the hotel. For your leisure afternoon, you’re free to choose from one of our suggestions or discover something new: hike in the countryside, bike rental, rest and swim in the pool or visit to Lecce on the local electric train. Regroup back at the hotel for a yummy dinner.
Day 9
Adriatic Boat Cave Excursion There is more to explore as far as coastal caves are concerned. Today, head out on the Adriatic, where, after crossing Punta Meliso and a stunning lighthouse, your guide will help you uncover caves and coves along the coast for about two hours. Pack your suit, because there is a stop for you to visit grotta dello spruzzo (the cave of the splash) , which can only be accessed by swimming. You’ll also love to explore grotta del lago (the cave of the lake), where after a short climb on the rocks, you’ll be met with a small lake of striking blue fluorescent color.
Day 10
Beach Club | Full Day at Leisure | Dinner at Hotel Take today for yourself, either soaking up the sun at the beach club or exploring on your own. You can visit the Alberobello, a unique UNESCO site located in the Valle D'Itria, known for its iconic trulli dwellings. Or head to Lecce, known as the Florence of the South. As you make your way there, we recommend a visit the Basilica di Santa Croce. Get lost in the small winding roads of Ostuni, the white city. For a real treat, find a Pizzica performance and take in this exciting folk dance, which originated in Puglia. However you choose to spend your day, end it with a relaxing dinner back at the hotel.
Day 11
"Seafood Heaven” Cooking Class | Farewell Dinner | Entertainment The cooking class utilizes the seafood purchased during your fish market visit. Tubetti Fagioli e Cozze (pasta with beans and mussels), is an exceptional dish that highlights the ingredients of healthy Mediterranean cuisine: fish, pasta and legumes. Top it all off by toasting to your wonderful week together with the staff as you take in good wine and festive music.
Il Tabacchificio Hotel
II Tabacchificio is a family owned and operated 4-star hotel that began life was once a tobacco factory. Proprietors Paola and Antonella came across the ruins of an old tobacco factory while on vacation and discovered their grandmother had worked there. Inspired, they decided to restore it as a hotel. Renovations focused on the recovery of the original structure of the building, materials and furnishings, as well as masterful design. Each room boasts a private bathroom, heating, air-conditioning, mini-bar, TV with international channels, phone and safe. In addition, this TripAdvisor rated (4.5 stars) hotel experience features an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, along with a shaded relaxation area surrounded by tropical plants. The onsite restaurant, Dalla Nonna Tabacchina, feels spacious and comfortable with its famous vaulted ceiling and offers an al fresco dining experience near the swimming pool, which is the perfect way to enjoy the pleasant evening breeze of Salento.
Gagliano del Capo, Italy
What Currency is being quoted?
All prices are quoted in USD. The price quoted on the first page of a tour is always per person, double occupancy.
What does Double Occupancy mean?
Two persons traveling together, and staying in the same room. Tour prices are normally quoted as “per person, double occupancy” in case two people are traveling together and staying in the same room, but paying separately. The cost of the lodging is also shared by two people, thereby reducing costs. This could be a married couple, two friends or relatives.
What is a Single Supplement?
Whenever a person travels alone, the cost of their lodging cannot be shared by another person. When tour products are priced, they are normally stated as “per person, double occupancy.” Whenever a guest occupies a room as a solo, the whole cost of the lodging must be incurred by that one individual. Tour companies accommodate this by charging a Single Supplement. Epitourean does its best to keep the single supplement as low as possible, but it is a real cost that tour companies must absorb, and must pass along to the single traveler.
If I am a Solo Traveler, will I be paired with another person?
Epitourean never pairs a solo traveler with another person without a special request. If you book Single Occupancy, you will have a room entirely to yourself. However, should you wish to be paired with another solo traveler to save on the single supplement, you may make this request. We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate such requests, since it would take another solo traveling on the same tour for the same dates. But if requested, we will certainly try.
Is a Deposit required to book a tour or getaway?
Yes. We require a 30% refundable deposit for all our domestic (USA and Canada) getaways and tours, and a 50% refundable deposit for international destinations outside of the USA and Canada. Reservations made for destinations within the USA and Canada must be paid in full 30 days prior to departure. Reservations made for destinations outside of the USA and Canada must be paid in full 60 days prior to departure.
Are flights included in the tour price?
No. Flights are never included in the price of our land-only tours. Epitourean does not provide air, rail or sea travel, unless expressly noted in the itinerary.
May I give a culinary tour as a gift?
Yes. Epitourean has a special program designed specifically for this purpose. Our Gift Packages come with features such as special messages to the recipient, gift box option, gift link (without pricing), and floating dates (should you not know when the gift recipient wants to travel). Contact a Culinary Travel Specialist at 800-390-3292 or to receive additional information about this unique offering.
May we request separate beds if sharing a room?
Yes. In most cases, Epitourean can accommodate a request for two beds to be placed in one room. Just make sure to make this request in the comments section of the reservation process.
Does each guestroom have a private bathroom?
Yes. Epitourean partners with the best lodging options in each destination, and private (en suite) bathrooms are a requirement. However, you should inquire as to the configuration of bathrooms should you have a special need. For example, some tours include accommodations in medieval villages, where either a shower or bath(but maybe not both) are present.
Can your tours accommodate my dietary restrictions?
In almost all cases, Epitourean can accommodate dietary choices and restrictions. But we do request that you ask a Culinary Travel Specialist prior to making your reservation so that we can assess your individual situation.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Our full cancellation policy is stated in the Terms and Conditions when making your reservation. Cancellations with a full refund are allowed up to 31 days or more prior to departure for USA and Canada tours, or up to 61 days or more prior to departure for international tours. No refund is allowed 30 days or less prior to departure for USA and Canada tours, or 60 days or less prior to departure for international tours.
If I am unable to use a portion of the tour, can I get a partial refund?
Unfortunately, due to vendor and supplier contracts, we are unable to provide partial refunds for unused portions of any tour or tour component.
Should I Purchase Travel Protection?
We recommend that you purchase a Travelex travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228- 9792 and reference location number 06-0248.

Travel Insurance is underwritten by Transamerica Casualty, Insurance Company, Columbus, OH; NAIC #10952.1308294
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