I set out on a long-awaited trip to a region of Italy I had yet to explore.
Being happy was almost too easy. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day.
We returned to the kitchen and began to prepare our supper. Silvestro took to the chalkboard, and gave us a short lesson on the “why” of salentine cuisine – the ways in which the food has been influenced by the region’s geography, climate and cultural contact over time. As we learned and cooked and drank and ate, we felt. We experienced a little bit of the local world view, and quickly realized that these are not simply recipes to discover or methods to learn, but a way of living and breathing.
As the evening aged, our voices grew quieter. There was an unmistakable temptation to help clear the plates and tidy the kitchen, as you would do with old friends who selflessly hosted you.
As we said our thank yous and goodbyes, and headed out into the surprisingly lively Lecce night, I realized I got more out of that one-day course than I expected. I couldn’t stop talking about it for days to follow. I have since recommended it to friends, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
Through conversation and participation, hands-on practice, you internalize more than you thought possible in such a short time. When the time comes to leave, you do so with full stomachs, full hearts and overwhelmed senses, with flavors of food and wine still on your tongue, and new facts whirling about in your head, becoming consolidated as new knowledge. And, to your surprise, that initial sense of wonder and curiosity has not subsided but is even amplified, pushing you to make immediate plans to return.
To get a taste of the culture and everything there is to experience and to learn, treat yourself to some of Silvestro’s compelling short films and blog posts. Until you could get there yourself, they are sure to peek your interest and make you dream of Italy’s unspoiled heel.