I completed a week of culinary instruction with the Awaiting Table Cooking School. The week was spent at "The Castle" in the small town of Spongano and the overall experience was fantastic. The instruction was excellent. The food and wine were plentiful and delicious. The course met my expectations because it was well organized and because it was rooted in the passion of the food, wine and culture of Puglia. The director, Sylvestro Sylvestoni, is an expert in the food,wine and regional traditions and eager to share his knowledge and love of this part of Italy.
Each day after breakfast we discussed a culinary topic, headed to the market and then cooked our way to lunch. Each morning we made pasta by hand and attempted to master the art of making orecchiette, the signature pasta of the Salento. We dined early afternoon on the fruits of our labor and then had a break. We reconvened early evening and cooked by candlelight and sparkling wine in an amazingly spacious and well equipped kitchen. We then feasted on many courses into the late evening.The pace of the day was active but not demanding. The company of fellow students was delightful and added fun and depth to the experience.This is a school for serious cooks. People willing to clean and chop vegetables, brown and braise rabbit, clean squid, octopus and cuttlefish, make sausage, and pickle wild hyacinth bulbs. The staff is incredibly energetic, positive and helpful and make you feel part of the team. It was a wonderful way to spend a week.
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