Especially Puglia – an international CSA for olive oil and artisanal food – invites you on a week-long culinary adventure through the Southern Italian region of Puglia. This Fall, join founder Michele Iadarola and an intimate group of guests for a “Farm Stay” vacation that is one part discovery, one part love affair, and three parts delicious Pugliese cuisine. Curated around participating in the annual Autumn olive harvest, this Farm Stay is for those who want experience first-hand what it means to grow and serve Slow Food in the Italian farm-to-table tradition.
Especially Puglia partners with small family-owned farms and olive groves in Puglia, including one that Michele’s family has cultivated for generations. The region of Puglia produces over a third of Italy’s olive oil, and the Pugliese take deep pride in the worldwide reputation of its exceptionally high quality extra virgin olive oil. And after tasting the robust flavors of Puglia’s EVOO, it will become clear why Especially Puglia is bringing the oil to cooks in the States. The passion for sustainable agricultural traditions and regional cuisine at the heart of the Slow Food movement is alive and thriving in Puglia and its harvest.
The Farm Stay itinerary unfolds the story of Italy’s rustic culinary and cultural traditions with each turn. Michele is a masterful tour guide in a region he knows like the back of his hand. In addition to harvesting olives and getting to know Especially Puglia’s partner farmers, you’ll rove through idyllic Italian towns, including Pietramontecorvino, Lucera, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Castel del Monte. You’ll enter kitchens bursting with hospitality and learn how to cook authentic Pugliese recipes, such as orecchiette pasta – and then eat with the chef. You’ll learn the secrets of traditional canning methods from local artisans, taste hyper-local wines, and let regional musicians introduce you to the music that is the heartbeat of Puglia. Each night, you’ll rest your head in one of the historic farmhouses, or masserie, dotting the rolling hills of the Pugliese landscape.
Caroline, one of last year’s Farm Stay guests, shares her reflections on the adventure:
“There are innate, predictable expectations of what an American tourist will experience in Italy. But in choosing the road too well traveled, we’ve neglected what this country is at its heart and what it truly has to offer. With pinpoint–and at times, almost unfathomable–accuracy, Michele Iadarola and Especially Puglia’s Farm Stay delivers. This was a tailored experience designed by Michele to reflect a culture built around love of family, friends, country, and food. The historic riches are undeniable, the beauty indescribable, and the experience unforgettable. Leave the tourists behind in Florence, Venice, and Rome. Instead, choose to immerse yourself in a rare opportunity to experience unending culinary treasures, surrounded by the most genuine of people, in the most beautiful landscape Italy has to offer.”
Take a peak into our 2016 tours with a video of the olive harvest, a glimpse into a cheesemaking demo, and our galleries above. Read on for details on how to register for this year’s Farm Stays, and learn more on Especially Puglia’s Farm Stay page or by emailing FarmStay@especiallypuglia.com.
Tour duration: 1 week
Dates: October 29 – November 4, November 5-11 and November 12-18
Sign up here by the end of May.