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TASTE Travels Italy: Cooking and Eating Through Puglia with Suzy Karadsheh, Author of The Mediterranean Dish

Join Suzy Karadsheh and TASTE’s Matt Rodbard in Italy this summer. Limited spots available for June 13–19, 2023.

Touched by the waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, Italy’s Puglia region is a sunswept sliver of land that has served as a crossroads of culture for centuries. The Romans, Greeks, and Turks have all left their mark on this rugged region at the heel of Italy, known for its dramatic coastal landscape and magnificent Romanesque and Baroque architecture. The food here—rich in grains, legumes, fish, fruit, vegetables, and olive oil—is considered among the most naturally healthful in the world, and it’s ready for discovery with two culinary experts, a celebrated cookbook author and an award-winning food writer.

Join Mediterranean cuisine expert Suzy Karadsheh and TASTE editor in chief Matt Rodbard on TASTE’s inaugural trip to Puglia, where we’ll set out to learn about Italy through its distinctive food and culture. The inviting Apulian approach to life will reveal itself through this highly curated itinerary featuring conversations and tastings with local chefs, bakers, butchers, cheesemakers, winemakers, and fishmongers. We’ll stay at two lovely home bases: the four-star Tenuta Monacelle resort and the five-star Risorgimento Resort in the Baroque city of Lecce.

Double Occupancy: $6,390 pp
Single Occupancy: $7,585 pp


Polignano a Mare on the Mediterranean sea.

June 13–19, 2023


  • Discover the key ingredients of the Mediterranean dish—fresh produce, locally caught fish, extra-virgin olive oil, and rustic breads—with an itinerary and menus curated by Suzy Karadsheh.
  • Meet with artisan producers such as Mariangela Antolini, known as “Mariangela the Mozzarella.”
  • Enjoy a cooking class that includes making the local orecchiette pasta.
  • Sample the street food of Puglia: focaccia, small pastry treats (sweet and savory), local flavored coffee drinks, and, of course, gelato!
  • Savor the slower pace and rhythm of dining with locals, sharing convivial stories about family recipes.
  • Visit the magical cities of the region: the Baroque city of Lecce; Polignano, which is perched over the sea; and the unique town of Alberobello, filled with cone-shaped houses called trulli.

Day 1: Welcome to Puglia

  • Arrive at Bari Airport.
  • Travel via two group transfers to the Valle d’Itria (1.5-hour drive).
  • Check into the hotel, Masseria Santo Scalone.
  • Enjoy some independent leisure time.
  • Eat a welcome dinner at the hotel with your travel companions.

Included Meals: Dinner
Hotel: Masseria Santo Scalone

Day 2: Mozzarella and the “Pasta Grannies”

  • Eat breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart for a traditional farmhouse and meet with Mariangela Antolini, the owner of an organic mozzarella business. Taste typical cheeses of the region and watch the cheesemaking process.
  • Enjoy a light lunch at the farm with local cheese specialties, paired with wine.
  • Continue to Bari. A local guide will lead you through the old city, pausing for a short coffee break with an espressino before discovering the narrow winding streets where local nonne (grandmothers) prepare orecchiette (the local pasta). Taste some typical street food of Bari, including focaccia barese (seasoned with tomatoes, olives, oil, and oregano), panzerotti, and sgagliozze.
  • Dine at your leisure in Bari in the evening.
  • Return to the Masseria Santo Scalone after dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tasting
Hotel: Masseria Santo Scalone

Old olive trees between Polignano a Mare and Alberobello.

Day 3: The Craft of Olive Oil and the Bounty of Fish

  • Eat breakfast at the hotel.
  • Visit an olive oil mill in the morning and learn about craftsmanship, tasting many Italian varieties of this essential ingredient.
  • Take a guided tour of Alberobello, with its 1,400 trulli (traditional cone-shaped, dry stone houses). This city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
  • Lunch at your leisure in Alberobello.
  • Return to the hotel for a little free, independent time to relax.
  • Late in the afternoon, visit Polignano a Mare, a town perched on a sheer cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Explore the charming alleys on a guided walking tour.
  • Pause for refreshments at a local café. The owner will introduce you to the local version of caffe (mixed with sugar, lemon, cream, and amaretto) and some homemade gelato.
  • Take time to wander in this quaint seaside town.
  • Enjoy a fish-based dinner at a local restaurant with views out to sea.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner
Hotel: Masseria Santo Scalone

Day 4: Wine Tasting and Apulian Ceramics from Grottaglie

  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then check out.
  • Drive to a local winery in the countryside near Taranto. Learn about the organic wines produced there.
  • Visit the cellars, then enjoy beautiful vineyard views as you sample the flavors of Puglia paired with wines produced on the estate.
  • Tour the lovely town of Grottaglie, renowned for its ceramics. Meet a local artisan in his workshop to learn about some of the typical ceramic dishes used to serve local food.
  • Continue to the magical town of Lecce, “the Florence of the South,” and check into the hotel.
  • Spend the evening at your leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tasting
Hotel: Risorgimento Resort

Ponte di Polignano bridge.

Day 5: Lecce: Street Food Tour and the Art of Aperitivo

  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
  • Take a walking tour through the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce. Discover the Piazza del Duomo, with its majestic Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta. Pause at a pastry shop to taste the local iced coffee of Lecce, prepared with almond milk.
  • More street food will be sampled along the way: rustico leccese (a puff pastry shell filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce, béchamel, and pepper) and pasticciotto (a local dessert filled with cream).
  • Later, discover the magnificent papier-mâché handicrafts that Lecce is famous for, and meet with a local artisan.
  • Join the locals for an evening passeggiata (stroll) through the streets as the sun sets. Pause for an aperitivo—the Italian tradition of drinking a glass of wine with typical cold cuts such as capocollo and some taralli crackers.
  • Enjoy dinner at your leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Tastings
Hotel: Risorgimento Resort

Roman Amphitheatre in Lecce.

Day 6: Lecce: Farmers’ Markets the Italian Way and a Cooking Class

  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
  • Wander the local market with a food expert to select seasonal produce.
  • Continue to a local farm just outside Lecce. Roll up your sleeves for a private cooking class, where the focus will be on pasta.
  • Dine on your delicious creations (pasta, main course, and dessert).
  • Return to Lecce for some independent leisure time in the afternoon.
  • Gather for a farewell dinner in a private home, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The family will share favorite recipes and stories about the rich agricultural land.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel: Risorgimento Resort

Day 7: Arrivederci to Puglia

  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Transfer to Bari for individual flights home (two-hour drive).

Included Meals: Breakfast


Masseria Santo Scalone
One of the oldest fortified residences of Ostuni, Masseria Santo Scalone sits between the Adriatic Sea and the rolling countryside of Puglia. Built at the end of the 14th century, this rustic yet elegant complex of buildings has recently been carefully restored to its ancient roots. Each room offers a unique perspective, some showcasing the original stone structure while others focus on authentic cultural themes or locally sourced decorations. Many rooms overlook the large central courtyard and gardens, creating an intimate, natural atmosphere. The restaurant offers a seasonal menu focused on farm-fresh products sourced directly on-site from Masseria’s organic garden. A respite from the bustling city, the grounds also offer an array of relaxing spaces, including a pool, multiple flower and vegetable gardens, a citrus grove, an olive grove, and a solarium.

Risorgimento Resort
This five-star property in the center of Lecce was originally built in 1800 as a ducal home. The private home was renovated in 2007 and opened as the Risorgimento Resort, with a contemporary Baroque-style interior that retains the original exterior architecture. This boutique property with 47 rooms, each designed in typical Salento colors, reflects the beauty of the local stone and the lush vineyards nearby. Both in-house dining options offer upscale gastronomy for hotel guests and Lecce visitors alike. There is also a wellness center with Turkish baths.



Double Occupancy: $6,390 pp
Single Occupancy: $7,585 pp
Deposit: $500


Suzy Karadsheh
Suzy Karadsheh is the founder of the TheMediterraneanDish.com, the number-one website and resource for modern Mediterranean recipes and lifestyle. A true daughter of the Mediterranean, Suzy’s authentic voice, no-fuss approach, and easy recipes have helped millions of people enjoy flavor-packed meals while seamlessly following the world’s healthiest diet—the Mediterranean diet. She is an author, creator, TV personality, and your go-to gal for a good laugh and all Mediterranean cooking (Greek, Middle Eastern, Italian—you name it).

Suzy has been featured on Access, Barron’s, Today, HuffPost, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, Food Network’s Delish, Shape, PureWow, The Kitchn, and more. Suzy was born and raised in Port Said, Egypt, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and dog, Max. She loves falafel, any place by the water, and lots of family time—but not in that order.

Matt Rodbard TASTE Travels

Matt Rodbard
Matt Rodbard is a writer, editor, and author of food and culture books with more than two decades of experience working in television, magazines, book publishing, and online media. He’s the author of Koreatown: A Cookbook, a New York Times best seller, and Food IQ, a Publishers Weekly best seller, and he’s the founding editor of online food and culture magazine TASTE, winner of two James Beard Foundation Awards. Rodbard is also host of the TASTE Podcast.

TASTE is an online food culture publication for everyone, whether you’re a new home cook, an everyday eater, or someone who just loves reading about food and cooking. TASTE was launched in 2017 and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards and IACP Digital Media Awards.

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TASTE is an online magazine written for people who love to cook at home and enjoy reading about approachable recipes, popular and emerging ingredients, and stories reported from the frontlines of today’s quickly moving food culture.