I remember very well the first time I ever visited a “Masseria” in Puglia, in south of Italy.
It was August 1st 2015. There was a full moon. The blue moon, to be precise; the largest full moon of the recent years. The masseria I visited that night, was a traditional one; a sort of a farm land, with a main house for the land lord, and small cottages for the farmers. Once there would have lived sheep, goats and chickens. Masseria was a self sustainable small ecosystem.
On that full moon in that humble farmhouse, I experienced the simplest and most essential form of luxury: simple food prepared by local people, a young poet and musician playing his acoustic guitar and singing the folkloric chants of old times, and hectares of dry, but fertile land. He played and sang under the bright moonlight, we listened in wonder and awe, following the footsteps of a wise man who showed us the way through the wild plants, explaining their name and use, and encouraging us to remember their smell.
The poetry and the depth of that experience, mingled with a disarming simplicity is a memory I can hardly ever let go of, as well as other wonders like the ones I wrote about in this post where I shared many photos and stories from my stay in Puglia. As soon as I visited that land and its old masserias, now remodeled for the functions of modern life (often as bed & breakfasts), I knew they would be the perfect place to run retreats and workshops. It was a dream for me to share the wonder, the quite and the incredibly rich culture of Puglia with likeminded people in search of beauty, slow traveling and of course, good food.
The experience is a two and half day stay at the end of October in the marvelous Masseria Potenti, where together we will discover the surrounding, food and craft of Puglia. We will cook, eat, drink, chill and take photos by the swimming pool and around the masseria. We will wander a bit in the area, treasure hunting in Grottaglie for Puglia’s trademark ceramic craft. We will forage and gather seasonal herbs, flowers and vegetables and will set the table with all that is authentic to Puglia.
Photo credit: Masseria Potenti
Photo Credit: Emiko Davies
Autumn is a fascinating time in South of Italy, where it’s still warm, the light is golden and the olive trees are ready for the harvest. With a bit of luck, we will taste some new oil and we will definitely make toasts with Primitivo wine, that is typical of that region.
Here you can check out Emiko’s post for a lot of incitement and inspiration and here you can read about how enthusiastic is Alice about the ceramic treasure hunting in Grottaglie. Ci vediamo at #ThePugliaEncounter!
The Puglia Encounter – Autumn Edition
Food, lifestyle and photography in Italy’s Deep South
Photo Credit: Masseria Potenti
La Masseria Potenti near Manduria, Puglia, about 15km from the turquoise Ionian sea and one hour from Brindisi (the closest airport). The white-washed masseria (a traditional Pugliese farmhouse), which dates back to the 1300s, is an oasis in the rugged, “wild west” of Puglia, set amongst grain fields, ancient olive groves and Primitivo vineyards. A boutique agriturismo and self-sustainable farm of 130 hectares, the masseria was brought to life by Maria Grazia Di Lauro and her husband Paolo, whose dream was to transmit their love for their native land to their children and friends. It’s a special place that will inspire every one of your senses. Web | Instagram
The experience will include two and a half days of cooking, photography and styling sessions with your hosts, who will share their experience with you, as well as an excursion to nearby Grottaglie to discover the artisan ceramics and local cheesemakers. We will take a wander through nearby fields and pick vegetables out of the garden to prepare meals and set the table. There will be delicious, traditional meals prepared by the cooks of the Masseria – and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the Masseria in between.
26-29 October 2017
Who Can Apply
This is ideal for anyone who is interested in travel, food and photography, creatives, food writers, travel writers, bloggers wanting to learn more or fill a portfolio full of inspiring images and stories and anyone who simply wants to spend a few wonderful days with like-minded people exploring and enjoying this incredibly authentic part of Southern Italy.
Photo Credits: Emiko Davies & Meike Peters
Emiko Davies is an Australian food writer based in Florence, the author of two cookbooks, Florentine and Acquacotta. She writes recipes on regional Italian cuisine for her blog and her Food52 column and has written food and travel guides for publications such as The Guardian, Saveur, Jamie Magazine and Gourmet Traveller. She loves to cook simple, unfussy food, tell stories and, when possible, to take photographs with good old fashioned film. Web | Instagram
Saghar Setareh is an Iranian food photographer and blogger based in Rome, where she discovered her love for the culinary arts of all forms. Her blog Lab Noon, which was nominated for Saveur Blog Awards and Corriere della Sera Cucina Blog Awards, celebrates Persian and Italian recipes. She also collaborates with restaurants, chefs and food brands regarding their digital communication and food photography and teaches cooking, styling and photography workshops. Web | Instagram
Alice Adams is an Australian cook and food stylist based in Rome. She works with local and international photographers and in 2015 created Latteria Studio as a food photography studio, a home for her ceramics and linen collection, and as a creative space for cooking lessons and workshops. Happiest in a market of any kind, she loves seeking out the special places to find the ingredients and props that help tell meaningful food stories. Web | Instagram
Talea, the brainchild of Chiara Tommasino and Valentina Guttuso, is an event design agency that creates nonconventional, exclusive experiences in alluring locations. Named after the Italian word for a plant cutting, the duo bring life to new ideas for projects and events, organising every last detail, from the creative beginnings to the styling and setting. Instagram
1650 euro per person
Included in the price
- Three nights accommodation at the beautiful Masseria Potenti. Accommodation is in double occupancy rooms (single supplement is an additional 200 euro). You’re welcome to enquire about suite rates if you would like additional space.
- All meals, refreshments and snacks.
- All excursions, including foraging and visit to the ceramics workshops in the nearby town of Grottaglie.
- Two and a half days of workshops that will cover cooking and food writing, food and lifestyle photography and styling (see below for the programme).
Flights and airport transfers, the latter of which can be arranged by the Masseria (Brindisi is the closest airport).
For payment and booking
A deposit of 50% to register for the workshop with final payment due by 15 October, 2017. To book and send deposit (by bank transfer) please email Chiara at firstname.lastname@example.org and please let us know when booking if you have any allergies or dietary requirements.
Thursday 26 October
6pm – arrival, welcome aperitivo. Introduction and mingling
Friday 27 October
9 am – breakfast
10 am – coffee and morning tea with an introduction to the photography session by Saghar, followed by cooking session, styling and photography in three groups with Emiko, Alice and Saghar.
1 pm – lunch and time to relax
3 pm – field trip to Grottaglie, the city of ceramics
8 pm – dinner
Saturday 28 October
9 am – breakfast
10 am – a wander through the masseria grounds and surrounds to harvest local produce, herbs and flowers
11 am – setting a scene and making a meal with local produce
1 pm – lunch and time to relax
3 pm – social media, recipe writing, blogging, visual voice talk followed by lightroom editing
5 pm – fresh pasta making with Nonna Esther
8pm – dinner with Nonna’s fresh pasta
Sunday 29 October
10am – brunch and farewell
*The programme may change or have slight variations due to weather or availability.
What to pack: Bring a manual camera, a notebook and an appetite. The weather in Puglia during autumn is mild, it usually hovers around 20ºC/68ºF during the day and 15ºC/59ºF at night.
Cancellations: Due to logistics, there will be no refunds on cancellations. However, we can accept a replacement for your spot. We recommend you have travel insurance in the event of any unforeseen events.
Coming from Iran, she mostly develops her recipes by combining the aromas of the middle east with the flavors of the Mediterranean, specially Italy, where she has found her second home.