Mamma Mia ! An Italian Flower

Meet Belfiore or as we will know her in our future cooking series, Mamma Anna!

Our friend Yle with Yltours in Lecce, Puglia will do the interview for me today.   And although I have not met Signore Sambati yet, I already feel as if we are friends.

Anna in the kitchen with her sister

Mamma Anna has a lovely surname: BELFIORE

I think that when she was born, a star was on top of her head since she is always shining and smiling. Everybody loves talking to Anna and spending time with her. She’s just awesome. 

Well, her surname is BELFIORE (beautiful flower) which tells a lot about her.
 A mother of 4,  Yle included – the Puglia Travel expert – Mamma Anna embodies the sweetest image of the Italian Mamma.      We know she loves textiles, perfumed body creams and peasant cooking from Puglia.
Let’s get to know Mamma Anna better and her beautiful mind….

Mamma Anna how are you?
Bene grazie..e tu? (Very well thank you and you)    
She has a magnetic smile, I have to say…..that is so very much contagious  

How is life in Puglia?

Very nice and sweet.        We live well in this part of Italy.      
No traffic, no smog, sunshine almost every day of the year, warm (friendly) locals and awesome food and wine

A mum of 4!

Yes:       Giorgio, Barbara, Ylenia (who we call Yle), Azzurra.      I have always loved being a full time mom and taking care of my children.     I have paid a lot of attention to teaching them to eat properly, the Mediteranean way.    A few cakes.   Rather legumes, vegetables, hand made pasta.      My Mum used to live with us and very often made hand made pasta.

I remember Yle in particular watching  her doing this job for hours.     That was crazy.     The two things she (Yle)  did most were making as if she spoke in English (and she didn’t of course) and spending a lot of time with her nonna (my mum) while making pasta.

How do you make your food shopping Mamma Anna (what in Italy they call “spesa”)?
The freshest seasonal products.   No doubt.    Food markets are my favourite, especially on Sunday.
I always go to a Sunday food market by the ocean and know all the vendors and ask them to sell me the very best of the day!
I personally do not like eating produce that has been  ‘on the shelf’ for too long. We in Pugliahave the habit of eating the combination of a few, yet delicious ingredients.    Simple recipes.
When it is about making the “spesa” I personally select all the food that will be prepared and focus on recipes that are easy to make, healthy and mostly coming from “cucina povera”.     I’m happy to realize that my children have adopted this food habit,  and do the same.

For a mother it is very important to teach children how important it is to eat well and be aware about ingredients.

You run cooking classes helping Yle with her friends coming from all around the world.
Yes, that is so much fun.       I love when Yle tells me we have some friends visiting and we have to cook together.      It’s like sharing part of my family traditions and making people feel happy and comfortable all the time.       These are very social cooking classes during which we prepare, have some laughs, drink a good glass of wine and taste what we prepare.

I have met some amazing friends during these cooking classes and have had a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite ingredient?
Hard to say, have more than one actually….I think cherry tomatoes.   I love the pane e pomodorini (bread and cherry tomatoes) with a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil.      Vegetables for sure – a lot of delicious recipes with zucchini always keeping the genuine flavour of ingredients.
What’s you favourite Italian cinema celebrity of forever?
Sofia Loren of course.      She embodies a lot of nice values. Beauty, Italianism, simplicity, energy, intensity.   (I) Have always loved her and (have) seen her films so many times.

Enjoy good food, good company, good wine!

Do you ever cook to music?

Sure I do.     Do you know how amazing it is to sing and cook?
Depending on the day it can be classic opera or famous Italian songs.  (I) Love Pavarotti, Who doesn’t?      But also “La traviata” and many more.
When my children were little, I used to be a nice blondie mum cooking all the time and singing too while doing that and I remember them asking me “Ancora mamma” – keep on singing Mamma. How many wonderful memories.

The point is that for us Italians, most of the time the food is related to families, beautiful memories and simple ingredients

Do you have any questions for Mamma?  

 Let’s ask her to cook with

us next time!

How can people book a cooking class with you?

Via Yle!!  – she smiles
She’s my manager.    I cook, I am the Mamma.    
 Contact Yle at
to plan your next adventure!  
Read some of her other stories on this blog:

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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