In September 2011 I found my way to the heel of the boot, beautiful Lecce, Italy. The region remains a lesser known Italian tourist destination. Don’t misunderstand, the lesser known part only means a more authentic experience, incredible wines, food, and arguably the country’s best olive oil. My travel companion, Cooking Lisa, spent an amazing day with Salento native, Ylenia Sambati. Upon meeting Ylenia, I was enchanted. Looking through Lisa’s pictures from her cooking class, I was kicking myself for not attending. We asked Ylenia to do a guest blog on her beautiful home and the travel adventures she designs for clients. If you are planning a trip to Italy and still need to finalize your itinerary, give YLTOUR a look. Enjoy the post! Please leave a comment to let us know what more you’d like to know about the region. We’ll invite Ylenia back to answer those questions! Ciao Ciao! Valerie Quintanilla
Olive groves (all around you), old stones, red earth, warm local people, narrow streets, white-washed houses, baroque balconies, cascading geraniums, simplicity and uncontaminated countryside, blue sea.
Gastronomy here is pure poetry
When you visit this region, do not miss shopping at a farmer market. You find them everywhere (by the ocean, in the city, in dedicated areas). Blooming colours all around you and a not to miss occasion for exploring the region in the most authentic way! Every village has its “market day” where you shop for awesome fresh food. On Sunday, visit very nice food markets by the ocean…all year round.
A cooking class is a must do in this area: the mums in our kitchens cook for hours and they love sharing the experience with friends from all around the world. Probably a few of them will only know a couple words of English, but it doesn’t matter…they’re so cute and fun that you will like cooking some traditional food and tasting it with them, their family and their friends.
We have specialties you must try once you are in the area: “rustico” being one of them. Shop at any bar or bakery and enjoy it all day long. Folks usually have this delicious snack, especially late in the morning. These round snacks are baked in the oven, made with flaky pastry and filled with béchamel sauce, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and a pinch of black pepper. Must be eaten hot!!