Not the Typical Cooking Lessons in Italy: Come learn to cook Italian in Puglia

Not the Typical Cooking Lessons in Italy: 
 Come learn to cook Italian in Puglia

One of the more popular activities for travelers to Italy is to participate in a cooking lesson, an event that will take you beyond site seeing and shopping.
It can also give you great insight into the lifestyle and traditions of the country you are visiting.  What you learn at the Cookinpuglia school could change your attitude towards Italian food and cooking.
COOKINPUGLIA  creator Ylenia Sambati, has designed a unique combination of learning experiences not often found at other cooking schools. Part of her philosophy  is ‘to recreate the most authentic atmosphere, cooking with local mums and herself, using the most genuine ingredients and educate guests on how this type of cuisine could be a real elixir for health’. 

Beside the traditional Cucina Povera Pugliese, Ylenia Sambati has created a new idea of cooking by using  real food engaging local communities and mums, using seasonal and pure ingredients thus giving students information on food issues, health and eco-friendly living.

CookinPuglia offers hands on cooking experiences with a unique flare.  Classes are taught by local women who cook for their families every day.   In a chat with founder Ylenia Sambati, she shared the philosophy of the school:  “ Cookinpuglia plays an important role in preserving the true Italian cuisine and culture through a memorable experience of food presentations, seminars and hands on kitchen practices as well as the impact food has on health and wellbeing”.

A few of the unique programs available include Cucina Povera, the traditional preparation of dishes enjoyed by generations of Italians, The Mediterranean Diet,  Vegetarian Italian dishes,  Healthy Organic cooking  and her newest Ayurvedi cooking (available in 2016).   Each program follows the use of the freshest ingredients, locally sourced, seasonal foods, using herb seasonings and the importance of extra virgin olive oil.

Traditional recipes originating from ‘peasant cooking’ have been improved upon and are the source of several programs:

Vegetarian Italian Cooking:   Puglia is a paradise of vegetables and healthy ingredients.  Vegetarian Italian recipes use ‘Km Zero’ ingredients.  Classes demonstrate how to prepare flavorful dishes using the very best organic and green ingredients.   You will learn how to select seasonal vegetable at the food market and how to prepare legumes and use brown flours in the dishes you prepare.   Only olive oil, wine and food produced in the area are used.  All ingredients are bought fresh daily.   

The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest food plans. The focus on whole grain, vegetables, antioxidant-rich fruits, legumes, sea food, pasta, rice, olive oil, wine, nuts and a limited amount of animal protein.   All the ingredients that are plentiful in sun and sea rich Puglia.   Extra Virgin Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and available from local farms with a long tradition of oil production.  This class begins with an orientation on the Mediterranean Diet, the lifestyle and a trip to the market.  Back at the school, participants will prepare a 4 course meal guided by a local with lifelong experience cooking in the Mediterranean style.   This plan also promotes enjoying your meals, eating slowly with friends or family.

Organic cooking classes will teach participants the basics of nutrition and diet, choosing the right foods that will provide the proper nutrition.  The class begins with an instructive market visit to explain how to select the best foods with the most flavors.  The class will demonstrate how to combine ingredients that are both healthy and taste good.   Lunch will be based on the dishes prepared by the class.

Ayurvedic  Cooking will be added in 2016:  how the food we eat (major food groups) prepared correctly can result in better digestion and absorption on needed nutrients.   The goal is to help prevent sickness by cooking and eating correctly.

As part of your CookinPuglia  experience ,it is also possible to visit farms and meet the local producers of the foods, cheese and oil you will be cooking with.  And of course a visit to the local winery is also available.

There are also cooking programs designed for the more advanced ‘chef’ as well as culinary programs that include classes and a visiting guest chef.  If you are traveling as a family or as part of a group, a specific program can be designed to suit your interests.  Wine tours and olive oil tastings can also be arranged. 

Cooking lessons are offered at the Cooking and Wine School north of Lecce in the charming town of Squinzano or in Martina Franca in a private trullo home, the cone shaped homes famous in Puglia.

Culinary programs are available year round.  YLTOUR PR offers other tours and services from experiences to itinerary planning throughout Puglia. 

Contact Ylenia Sambati at or
 More details available from and
Lee Laurino editor of Home To Italy reviewed the above programs with CEO Ylenia Sambati.

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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