Gourmet Getaway to Puglia and Basilicata

The Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2019

Dates: October 24 - November 1, 2019
Group Size: 14 people

Join us on this gourmet getaway to the rugged vines, age-old olive groves, and intriguing hilltop towns of Puglia and Basilicata. Together we will uncover the bounty of Puglia’s agricultural heritage and fine artisan food traditions from capocollo and burrata to the sun kissed produce of the Salento, before sampling the region’s prized Extra Virgin Olive Oils crafted from ancient varietals. We will explore the enchanting trulli dwellings of Alberobello, the brilliant whitewashed Old Town of Ostuni, and the architectural splendors of Martina Franca, before cooking typical Apulian cuisine in the Baroque masterpiece that is Lecce. From sampling bold Negroamaro and Susumaniello to sipping luscious Primitivo vintages in Manduria wine country we will travel to the otherworldly landscapes of Basilicata to experience its antique baking traditions and rustic culinary heritage as we discover Matera’s mysterious, honeycomb network of ancient sassi caves.

Itinerary

Day 1

We will begin our gastronomic voyage through Puglia and Basilicata at the rendezvous point of Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari, where the CountryBred Tour Manager will be waiting to welcome everyone as they arrive. Once all participants have arrived, we will depart via group bus transfer for the lush plains of the Valle d’Itria, adorned by silvery olive groves and rugged vineyards. We will arrive to the stunning, boutique winery of a renowned family of vintners and embark on a special walk through the vineyards followed by a tour the estate's 18th century Masseria, before toasting to the start of our epicurean adventure with an aperitivo of the winemaker's acclaimed vintages produced from the local Verdeca and Bianco D'Alessano grape. From the verdant vineyards of the valley we will travel to the idyllic landscapes of ancient Cisternino for check-in to our former 19th century hamlet of trulli dwellings turned sophisticated four-star country retreat, Borgo Canonica. We will settle-in with free time to relax after our journey, before celebrating the start of our journey together with a lovely dinner of Apulian cuisine highlighting seasonal produce and typical ingredients, at the Borgo's charming restaurant. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: Light Lunch, D)

Day 2

This morning we will set off to discover the enchanting towns and stunning landscapes of Puglia's Valle d'Itria. We’ll begin the day with a special visit to an artisan producer of exceptional cured pork products crafted in the typical Pugliese style to learn about the family's specialized production process, before tasting their signature cured meats, including the coveted regional specialty, Capocollo di Martina Franca. Following our tasting, we’ll travel to Locorotondo, one of the valley’s most beautiful towns, for a private walking tour of its famously circular center characterized by cummerse, whitewashed angular homes with pointed roofs. Next, we will tour the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello, a whimsical town fabled for its intriguing stone huts known as trulli, which are said to date back to the 14th century. Today’s lunch will be an elegant tasting menu of contemporary Southern Italian cuisine using superior materia prima at one of the region’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants. After lunch we will embark on a guided exploration of the medieval walled center of Monopoli to discover its ancient seafaring roots and stunning 17th and 18th century architecture, before returning to our hotel for a free evening. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: B, L)

Day 3

Today we will be introduced to the local flavors and unique products that have made Puglia an epicurean stand out, starting with a visit to the farm of an artisan cheese maker known for their exquisite production of mozzarella and burrata. We’ll enjoy a hands-on lesson in cheesemaking while learning about Puglia’s regional cheese traditions, before delighting in a sampling of farm fresh creations. From the farm we will next travel to the stunning hilltop town of Ostuni, know as the “Citta’ Bianca”, for a private walking tour of its Old Town adorned by brilliant whitewashed architecture reflecting centuries of influences, from Romanesque to Gothic. From Ostuni we’ll set off for the storied estate of a small batch olive oil producer and enjoy a private tour of their olive groves before sampling the mill’s exceptional organic oils produced from ancient local varietals, such as Ogliarola Salentina. Our visit will be crowned with a delectable lunch of typical Apulian fare showcasing seasonal produce and the estate's fine Extra Virgin olive oils. Our afternoon will be spent discovering the jewelbox town of Martina Franca during a private walking tour of its refined old quarter, an open air museum of opulent Baroque architecture, striking noble palaces, and grand squares. Along the way, we’ll stop to admire 18th century frescoes before visiting the ceramics workshop of a local artisan who will introduce us to the region's intricate maiolica craftsmanship and the beloved tradition of the "Pumo Pugliese." This evening will be a celebration of typical Martinese dishes, such as handmade orecchiette pasta, at a delightfully historic eatery in the heart of Martina Franca. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4

Our gastronomic adventure will continue as we depart Borgo Canonica for the Baroque masterpiece that is Lecce, endearingly known as the “Florence of the South.” We’ll check in to our chic, five-star sanctuary, La Fiermontina, a former 17th century residence nestled within the historic core of the city, and be welcomed by our resident food expert, a renowned cookbook author and authority on the gastronomy of Puglia. Our foray into the local cuisine will begin with a guided food shopping tour to procure ingredients for today's culinary experience, before rolling up our sleeves for a hands-on cooking class to learn the art of preparing typical Apulian fare, culminating with a lunch of our delectable creations. When our cooking experience has concluded, we'll have a free evening to enjoy our hotel's plush amenities and continue discovering Lecce’s many charms independently. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, L)

Day 5

This morning we will uncover the Baroque treasures of Lecce while learning about its Roman past with the help of our Regional Ambassador. During our private walking tour we will experience Lecce’s historic core studded with dazzling treasures, including the city’s Roman amphitheater dating back to the 2nd century, and such extraordinary civic spaces as the Baroque Piazza del Duomo. The rest of the day will be free to have lunch independently and continue exploring the city’s stunning center of artisan shops, quaint cafes, and Baroque architectural marvels, at our leisure. Tonight, we will savor an elegant dinner of elevated Salento-inspired cuisine at one of the city's most exciting gastronomic restaurants. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, D)

Day 6

Today we will set off for Southern Puglia's glorious Salento Peninsula to discover the region's cornucopia of seasonal treasures from the earth, and meet the artisans who are working to preserve its handcrafted food traditions. We'll begin our epicurean exploration of the Salento at the wine estate of an esteemed family of winemakers passionate about crafting high quality wines that are a true expression of the Salento terroir. We’ll embark on a private visit of the estate cellars before enjoying a seated, tasting flight of the their elegant vintages produced from regional varietals, such as Negroamaro, Primitivo and Susumaniello, accompanied by a light lunch of Pugliese delicacies. We will next uncover the centuries old olive oil producing heritage of the Salento with a special visit to the estate of Olio Merico, a family of artisan olive experts since the 18th century. Acclaimed for their high quality, organic production process, we’ll tour the estate's ancient olive trees and historic underground frantoio (mill), before tasting their fine, Extra Virgin Olive Oils crafted from local varietals, such as Ogliarola di Lecce and Cellina di Nardò. Our epicurean day in the Salento will be crowned with a visit to a family-owned farm that celebrates the produce of the region with its cultivation and conservation of vegetables in the traditional method. We'll learn how the estate's farm fresh produce is grown, harvested and naturally dried, before tasting their highly sought after conserves. From the Salento we’ll return to our hotel for some free time in the late afternoon, before delighting in a dinner of rustic regional cuisine thoughtfully reimagined at La Fiermontina's gourmet restaurant. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, Light Lunch, D)

Day 7

Our epicurean voyage will continue as we depart La Fiermontina and make our way to Puglia’s premier Primitivo di Manduria wine producing region. We will arrive to the estate of a boutique producer renowned for their stellar small batch Primitivo wines, where we’ll be greeted with an aperitif of the winemaker’s Traditional Method sparkling wine before embarking on a guided tour of the estate vineyards and underground aging cellar. Our special visit will culminate with a tasting of the producer's luscious Primitivo di Manduria DOCG, accompanied by a light lunch inspired by the surrounding wine country. We will bid adieu to Puglia and be transported to the rugged landscapes and timeless hilltop towns of the ancient land of Lucania, known today as the neighboring region of Basilicata. We’ll arrive for check-in to our 18th century palazzo turned elegant five-star hotel, Palazzo Gattini, located in the very heart of ancient Matera, a European Capital of Culture for 2019. We’ll kick off our first evening in town with a special tasting of a locally produced amaro liqueur unique to Basilicata, before savoring the flavors of the region with an elegant dinner at a chic ristorante revisiting Matera’s antique culinary traditions with a gastronomic perspective. (Overnight: Matera / Meals: B, Light Lunch, D)

Day 8

Today’s exploration of Matera will commence with a private walking tour to learn about the town's fascinating roots dating back to the Paleolithic age. Along the way, our Regional Ambassador will bring to life Matera’s Roman origins and the history of its mysterious Sassi, ancient stone dwellings carved into rock that are believed to be the first human settlements in Italy. We will next learn about one of Matera's most prized gastronomic traditions, bread making, with a behind the scenes visit to a historic panificio revered for its antique wood burning oven. Our host baker will prepare a traditional Matera style focaccia for us, and we'll enjoy a tasting fresh out of the oven, before learning about this storied family of artisan bakers and the region's cultivation of Grano Duro (Durum Wheat). We’ll enjoy a baker-led demonstration on how to form bread dough in the traditional fashion, before trying our hand at kneading, shaping and baking this fabled loaf. Today’s lunch will be a multi-course ode to the hyper-local ingredients and typical flavors of the Matera province, as we celebrate our gourmet getaway through Puglia and Basilicata with a special dining experience within the unique setting of a historic Sasso. Following lunch, we will have the rest of the day free to shop at our leisure, continue discovering the town independently, and prepare for tomorrow’s departure. (Overnight: Matera / Meals: B, L)

Day 9

This morning we’ll get a very early start as we check-out from Palazzo Gattini and depart for our scheduled drop-offs at Bari Airport and Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari, and the end of tour. (Meals: B)

Tour Highlights

  • 8 nights at luxury, four and five-star boutique accommodations in Puglia & Basilicata
  • Full-time CountryBred Tour Leader & select touring with local guides and culinary experts
  • 12 regionally inspired meals showcasing local food products & seasonal ingredients, including Michelin-starred dining experience in Puglia
  • Private, air-conditioned bus for all intercity travel, excursions & touring
  • Exclusive gourmet visits to artisan producers of traditional Capocollo di Martina Franca, Burrata cheese, and organic vegetable conserves, with tastings
  • Boutique olive oil mill visits with tastings of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the Valle d’Itria & the Salento
  • Exclusive winery visits & tastings in Valle d’Itria Wine Country, the Salento & Primitivo di Manduria Wine Country
  • Privately guided walking tours of historic center of Locorotondo & UNESCO World Heritage town of Alberobello
  • Privately guided walking tour of historic Old Towns of seaside Monopoli & hilltop Ostuni
  • Privately guided walking tour of Baroque towns of Martina Franca & Lecce
  • Privately guided walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage designated Sassi di Matera
  • Special visit to workshop of ceramics artisan in Martina Franca
  • Guided food shopping tour in historic center of Lecce
  • Hands-on cooking class of typical Apulian cuisine led by local culinary expert
  • Tasting of specialty amaro liqueur unique to Basilicata
  • Traditional bread making workshop at antique panificio in Matera

Pricing

Pricing is $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy* 

Single Traveler Supplement: $1,500

*Prices subject to change