Culinary Travel

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This trip is targeted to today’s leading influencers in food, health and wellness. This group represents a cross section of registered dietitian nutritionists who specialize in journalism, education, media relations and community activism. Through many different streams of communication, their authoritative voices are sought after in every state and internationally.

All registered dietitian nutritionists are welcome to register and are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

  • Hosted and accompanied by two award-winning culinary nutritionists, Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN and Robyn Webb, MS.
  • All in-country lodging, travel and tours researched and curated by Southern Visions Travel, a luxury, Puglia-based culinary travel company owned and operated by local regional specialists.
  • Conducted in collaboration with top local chefs, organic and biodynamic farmers, DOP bread makers, artisanal cheese-makers, and a renowned regional nutritionist.

Puglia’s diet, with emphasis on local olive oil, whole grains, vegetables and fish has drawn attention as a prime example of a healthy and modern Mediterranean diet. Spend an unforgettable week learning the secrets of a deeply passionate food culture in an authentic region of Southern Italy. There is openness and rustic charm in Puglia that is reflected not only in the warmth of the people, but also in the sharing of food and dietary secrets. Local dishes are simple yet flavorful and have stood the test of time as they’ve been passed on from generation to generation. This unique “hands-on” trip is a celebration of healthy cooking and the Mediterranean lifestyle, and offers an insiders view of a culture that has maintained biodiversity in its growing regions for centuries.

  • Lodging has been carefully chosen for the highest standards so that you will enjoy a Mediterranean seaside experience, luxury accommodations in an ancient city and a magical retreat on an organic farm dedicated to indigenous produce grown on the estate.
  • Local and expert hosts will be present throughout the trip to share their knowledge.
  • Guests will interact with a local nutritionist to obtain firsthand information about the modern Mediterranean diet and how it relates to the health and wellbeing of the population.
  • Guests will experience cooking classes, learn about and enjoy food on-site from the most passionate and celebrated chefs and producers of the region.
  • Required local insurance is provided by Southern Vision Travel and is detailed in the travel brochure.

Book by June 15, 2016 for a complimentary free night at Palazzo Indelli at the start of the trip.

Book by June 15, 2016 to receive a $300 discount per person.

  • Minimum number of attendees: 10
  • Maximum number of attendees: 15
  • Travel Agency: Southern Visions Travel

Please see Layne’s Huffington Post blog about Puglia by clicking here

About the Trip Leaders

Robyn Webb, MS

robyn_webb_720x554Robyn Webb, MS, is an award-winning cookbook author, culinary nutritionist, Health and Wellness Editor for The Daily Basics and the long time Food Editor of Diabetes Forecast Magazine. She has written 16 cookbooks, including the World Gourmand Winner for Health and Wellness…

Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN

layne_296x443Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian/culinary nutritionist, author, blogger and innovator in the food and health industries. With a lifelong passion for wholesome food and better health and wellbeing, Layne helps consumers achieve a healthy balance in diet and lifestyle.

In the restaurant field, she has teamed with a number of high-profile chefs to create and market healthy menus and provide recipes and nutritional analysis.

Itinerary and Objectives/Outcomes


palazzo_indelli_monopoli_300x300Palazzo Indelli is a newly restored 16th-century palazzo in the heart of Monopoli’s old town. Facing onto the enchanting Piazza Garibaldi, this central location allows for easy exploration on foot of this untouched historical quarter. On just the other side of the piazza is the town’s picturesque harbor with its colorful fishing boats and refreshing sea breeze. Palazzo Indelli has just 22 rooms and offers friendly and professional service to all their guests. The lovely stone floors and elegant high ceilings recall the elegance of a by-gone age. We are sure you will love the style and the perfect position for discovering the charms of Monopoli.

masseria_montenapoleone_740x681Masseria Montenapoleone, is a beautifully restored farmhouse in the very heart of Puglia. What makes this place stand out from other lodgings is how the owners have lovingly restored every detail to maintain harmony with the original architecture and above all with nature. The estate produces extra virgin olive oil and boasts many fruit trees and a garden brimming with vegetables. Guests are encouraged to explore the grounds and enjoy the abundance of fruits, flowers and vegetables grown and celebrated at the Masseria.

Naturally breakfast each morning is made with produce from the estate and includes such delicious treats as house-made preserves and traditional freshly baked cakes. The rooms are individually decorated and feature wooden beams, original antique floors and country-style furnishings.

suite_htl_santa_chiara_lecce_258x195Suite Hotel Santa Chiara is located just steps from the ornate baroque church of Santa Chiara, in the very heart of Lecce’s enchanting old quarter. The 21 elegant suites are furnished using the very best in modern Italian design and comfort. The roof garden offers beautiful views and the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the bustling streets below in an oasis of calm. The hotel offers its own restaurant, bar, meeting room and private parking. Hotel Santa Chiara provides one of the best locations for enjoying the highlights of the city: the extraordinary main piazza of S. Oronzo with its magnificent roman amphitheater; The Basilica of Santa Croce with its rose-window, one of the best examples of baroque architecture in Lecce, and finally the spectacular Piazza Duomo are all within a few minutes’ walk.

Day 1: Welcome to Puglia & Bari Vecchia
day1_501x751On arrival on the first morning in Bari, take a quick tour of the enchanting old city of Bari Vecchia. Here the local ladies still make pasta by hand sitting outside their houses. Their speed and precision will amaze you! Then we’ll transfer to your first hotel, Palazzo Indelli in the heart of the historic centre of Monopoli.

Layne & Robyn will present the itinerary for the week and go through the details of our culinary adventure before kicking-off the first night with an ‘aperitivo’ and a welcome dinner.

Overnight: Palazzo Indelli

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (2 hours): To understand the strategic location of Bari, which is the capital of Puglia and the importance of the old medieval city of Bari Vecchia where old ways of making pasta haven’t changed for hundreds of years.

Attendees will see:

  1. The technique for making orecchiette ear-shape pasta by hand with two simple ingredients
  2. How pasta is handled, traded and sold on the streets of the Vecchia
  3. The different sizes and cultural practices like why you may receive 1, 3, or 5 gigante orrechiette thrown in the batch.
  4. Whole wheat pasta and traditional semolina flour used in making the pasta.

Expert Guide: Local Chef Anna Maria Chirone for the culinary aspect (see CV translated into English to follow). For walking tour of Bari: Silvia Sessana, expert cultural and historical tourism guide. Credentials to follow

Day 2: The Olive Oil Day
day2_olive_mill_358x269Today Next visit a fascinating organic olive mill where we will walk the grounds with the owner and visit the underground mill that has been in use for olive oil production since the Bronze Age. This experience is a full immersion into the vital nature of olive oil and all it means to the Puglia region. The visit will include a detailed breakdown of the pressing process through the ages and a tasting of the estate’s various oils with the owner (who teaches olive oil tasting). For lunch we enjoy a fabulous picnic in the idyllic setting of the monumental olive grove. Ostuni,

day2_b_720x960The white washed city on a hill known as “La Cittá Bianca” follows for a gentle stroll and gelato before heading back to our hotel. Tonight you are free for dinner in old town Monopoli. Why not wander down to the harbor and see what the fisherman are bringing in and then enjoy some deliciously fresh seafood?

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (3 hours):
To understand the history of olive oil and why Puglia was and still is the most important region in Italy for olive oil production.

(Time at olive grove = 2 hours, lunch and learn = 1 hour)

Attendees will:

  1. View an ancient underground olive mill and understand how olives were pressed
  2. Understand how olive oil was exported and used for lighting lamps
  3. Learn about different types of olives and oils; when olives are harvested and how the region monitors and cares for the most ancient olive trees in the world.

Experts: At the olive oil estate: the owner, Corrado Rodio 7th generation olive farmer and registered olive oil tasting expert and also Michele Miccoli – tourist guide and recently qualified in a local “agroalimentare” project specializing in the production and maintenance of indigenous crops and traditions of Puglia. Details to follow.

Day 3: The Grains of Puglia, Burrata Cheese & Trulli Houses
day3_a_bread_375x250The morning starts with an in-depth tour of the masseria’s estate with the passionate and engaging owner Giuliano. The estate is rigorously organic and specializes in biodiversity and the cultivation of indigenous crops, fruits and vegetables that in many other areas have died out. Giuliano will demonstrate the use of the produce in the traditional cuisine of the area in a class dedicated to pasta and focaccia bread. After lunch we travel half an hour to the UNESCO site of Alberobello for an evening wander to see the famous Trulli Houses and also visit a local cheese artisan Giorgio, who will demonstrate the art of making delicious burrata and other fresh cheeses such as ricotta at his farm. Tonight’s dinner will be an incredible treat: an 8- course tasting menu at the beautiful Masseria Frantoio where all the produce is grown on site.

Overnight: Masseria Montenapoleone

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (8 hours):
3.5 hours: To participate in a tour of an organic masseria and understand how crops are planted, rotated and harvested. Learn about the importance of biodiversity on this well-managed farm; Partake in a cooking class; 2 hours: To partake in a tour of the 14th century whitewashed Trulli homes of Alberobello (town in Puglia), known for their cone-shaped roofs, where cheese was stored and children slept. Animals lived inside with the family, while bathrooms were outside. Smelly homes (and children) were a sign of wealth; 2 hours: To immerse oneself into life and operations at a cheese Masseria; 0.5hrs in-depth visit to the orchard and gardens of Masseria Il Frantoio before dinner.

Attendees will:

  1. day3_b_tour_651x904Participate in a farm tour of local animals and ancient crops on the hotel’s estate
  2. Gain knowledge about ancient varieties of local fruits and vegetables from the Mediterranean
  3. Understand the importance of biodiversity and why organic farming has always been a way of life in the region
  4. Learn about the use of local products in traditional dishes
  5. Take part in preparing pasta and focaccia in traditional ways from Giuliano (family member/manager of masseria) and Teresina (in-house nonna)
  6. Understand the types of fresh cheeses that are staples in the Mediterranean diet
  7. Learn about how the less popular aged cheeses are made
  8. Make fresh cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella and differentiate between the different types and how they are prepared and stored
  9. Learn about burrata and how it originated from this region
  10. View how cows are fed, milked and live happily on the grounds of the cheese farm
  11. Learn about the architecture, history and understand life inside the ancient city of Alberobello (how it was in the 14th century and how it is today).
  12. Visit with a couple that owns a Trulli home and take a tour inside the home to see and understand how families live
  13. Taste dried figs made the traditional way: stuffed with almonds and citrus
  14. Experience a farm to table (0 kilometer) meal at an ancient masseria and tour the grounds to learn about the ingredients used to prepare the meal

Experts: Masseria owner and dedicated organic farmer, Giuliano Monteneve. Teresina, local nonna and life– long cook. Mimmo, qualified tourism guide of Alberobello and life-long resident. Giorgio Spalluto, 3rd generation cheese–maker and dairy farmer. Armando & Rosalba, estate owners and bio-organic farmers and life-long cooks (in the the case of Rosabla) at Masseria Il Frantoio.

Day 4: The Bread & Sassi Day
day4_740x555Today we have a very early start so we can experience the bread making process in the town of Altamura from start to finish. We will help the master bakers at a DOP bread producer make the dough and then head off for a well-deserved breakfast in the historical center of Altamura while the dough rises. Once the dough is ready we can get involved in the next stage of creating the many different traditional loaves. Once ready, we can bake them and eat the fruits of our labor! Next, we will head to the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site Matera, perched high on a beautiful hillside and only recently seen by foreign eyes. You are free for lunch here before enjoying an afternoon guided walk of the town’s stunning sassi (ancient cave dwellings restored for current use as homes, shops, and restaurants). Afterwards we will shuttle you back to the Masseria for a well-deserved rest and a light dinner prepared in the Masseria’s country kitchen.

Overnight: Masseria Montenapoleone

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (5 hours): Attendees will learn about the old traditions of DOP bread making and will bake their own bread in a DOP bread-producing bakery. In between and after baking, attendees will experience breakfast and lunch like the locals.

(Total time at the bakery = 3 hours)

Attendees will:

  1. Understand why the town of Altamura plays an integral role in the traditions of DOP bread making
  2. Learn about the type of wheat grown in the region
  3. Learn how to identify DOP Altamura bread and how it is regulated
  4. Prepare the dough and make the loaves along side expert DOP bakers
  5. Taste different types of bread and learn about traditional bread products of the region ie: tarralli
  6. Breakfast and learn– taste and learn about a typical fast breakfast and how coffee drinking plays a role in the Italian culture (The idea of Starbucks was conceived in Italy, but no Starbucks exist here); and how Italians drink almond milk! (1 hour)
  7. Lunch and learn–taste and learn about fresh local cheeses of the region (1 hour)
  8. Hear why McDonald’s could not survive in this area
  9. Visit a community of ancient cave dwellings to see how people lived over a thousand years ago

Experts: bread maker/ owner of bakery, guide (Silvia)

Day 5: Lecce & Salento Vineyards
day5_winery_740x435At 10.00 am our driver will take us to visit one of Puglia’s most renowned wineries – Li Veli. After a fascinating tour with the vineyard’s expert oenologist, you will be treated to a private lunch and wine pairing over-looking the ageing barrels of wine. Our final destination is Lecce, the capital of the Salento Province. Known as the ‘Florence of the South’, the city hosts amazing Baroque masterpieces and treasures of Italy.

Afternoon and dinner at leisure in Lecce (free time for shopping or optional walking tour of the historical centre here) Overnight at Suite Hotel Santa Chiara.

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (4 hours at the vineyard): To learn about the traditional wines of this region and why Primitivo is the real “Zinfandel”.

Attendees will:

  1. Learn about grape varieties
  2. Learn about wines production in this region
  3. Find out how much wine is produced and how much is exported sold locally
  4. Learn how to taste wine like an expert wine taster
  5. Why wine of this region is so robust
  6. Find out about organic v biodynamic wine production
  7. Lunch & learn- how to pair wines with a traditional Mediterranean lunch

Expert: Li Veli’s manager and chief wine maker, Giovanni Dimitri who has managed the winery since its inception in 1999 and was previously trained on the family’s Tuscan wine estate.

Day 6: Flavors of Gallipoli

day6_seafoodThis morning you are heading west, to Gallipoli on the Ionian coast. We will meet with Anna Maria on Corso Roma in the beautiful old town for your cooking class and lunch. First collect some seafood from the local fishermen. The fish market is lively and captivating and Anna Maria is a skilled teacher and will be happy to welcome you to her cooking school for some delicious local dishes. Back in Lecce a leading local nutritionist will deliver a closing lecture to place into context the many techniques and traditions experienced during the week. For our final dinner, we’ll enjoy the best of Salentine cuisine paired with outstanding local wines.

Educational Objectives and Outcomes (6 hours): To explore a strategic old seaside city of Gallipoli and its flourishing fish market. Then prepare a traditional Mediterranean-style meal using local seafood and other local ingredients.

(Shopping and cooking = 4 hours, Meeting with local dietitian/nutritionist = 2 hours)

Attendees will:

  1. Understand why Gallipoli was a strategic city on the Mediterranean coast and the history of its ports
  2. Tour the old city and watch how the locals buy fresh seafood at the old city open air seafood market
  3. Spend the day with Puglia’s most renowned chef and cookbook author Anna Maria Chirone
  4. Learn how to choose fresh, local seafood at the market
  5. Learn Anna Maria’s techniques of healthy Mediterranean cooking and prepare a meal with Anna Maria and colleagues at a local cooking school in Gallipoli
  6. Meet with a local dietitian-nutritionist in the ancient city of Lecce to learn about the dietary problems he/she assesses most often in her hospital and private practice settin Review local foods and typical dietary practices that keep Italians at the top of list for the world’s healthiest countries.
  7. Learn and dine: experience a zero kilometer Salentine meal in the ancient city of Lecce

Experts: Chef Anna Maria Chirone and Biologist Nutritionist-Dr. Barbara Natalizio

Day 7: Farewell
After our final group breakfast at the hotel, our team will shuttle you to Brindisi Airport and bid you arriverderci.

In addition to the educational objectives and outcomes, the following details are included in your tour cost:

  • 6 nights lodging at 4 star historical hotels
  • 6 breakfasts
  • All transfers during the itinerary (from Oct 31 to Nov 6)
  • Group departure transfer to Brindisi Airport on Nov 6
  • Visit to the old quarter of Bari “Bari Vecchia”
  • 5 lunches (wine not included)
  • 4 dinners (wine not included)
  • Exclusive visit to an olive oil estate
  • Visit to the White City of Ostuni
  • Cooking class at Masseria Montenapoleone
  • Visit to a burrata cheese farm
  • Visit to the UNESCO site of Alberobello
  • Bakery experience in Altamura
  • Visit to the UNESCO city of Matera
  • Private winery tasting experience
  • Visit to the baroque city of Lecce
  • Cooking class in Gallipoli

The tour starts in Bari at 10:00 on Oct 31 and we recommend you arrive in Bari the night before the start of the tour.

Application to CDR for CE credits for Registered Dietitians (Pending Approval)

Price: $3,199.00 US Dollars, based on double occupancy

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