TASTE Travels: Bread in Puglia and Pizza in Naples with Maurizio Leo of The Perfect Loaf

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Join Maurizio Leo, sourdough savant, educator, and author of the James Beard Award–winning cookbook The Perfect Loaf, for a week in southern Italy to discover the very best in baking—with plenty of bakery visits, restaurant discoveries, and hands-on instruction (we call it “dough time”) from one of America’s most celebrated bread educators. Puglia and Campania are two regions of Italy renowned for unique baked goods, and the weeklong journey will be filled with highlights for the carb-curious.

Puglia is home to everything from the famous Altamura bread to crunchy sourdough friselle and taralli snacks, while Naples, in Campania, is the birthplace of pizza. Need we say more? There will be plenty of hands-on baking time and the chance to meet with local bakers, pizzaioli, and artisanal food producers.

Join Maurizio and Matt Rodbard, founding editor in chief of TASTE, around the Italian table as they make and break bread together and lead conversations diving into the big food topics of the day. Guests will be treated to multiple tastings and enjoy camaraderie and conversation with fellow bread heads as they discuss flour types, sourdough starters, and baking tips from Maurizio and Italian artisans.

Price:

Double Occupancy: $8,895 per person
Single Occupancy: $10,025 per person
Deposit: $500

BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY!

Day 1: Arrive in Italy
September 21, 2024

Arrive in Bari and transfer to the Masseria Montepaolo resort just outside Polignano a Mare. Guests will enjoy a welcome dinner of local breads and seafood at Terrazze Monachile. The remaining time in the evening is free to stroll in Polignano a Mare, perched on a sheer cliff overlooking the sea. Cap off the evening at the legendary gelateria in town, where you can sample chocolate, pistachio, and the favorite flavor of the day.

Included Meals: Dinner
Accommodations: Masseria Montepaolo

Day 2: Pane, Olio e Pomodoro
September 22, 2024

After breakfast, join Maurizio for a lesson in baking the typical Apulian sourdough rusk, friselle, among other baked goods. Maurizio will lead a workshop in which he will share techniques and talk about bread-baking principles, while answering questions along the way. While the breads bake in the wood-fired oven on the property, enjoy conversation with Maurizio and Matt about sourdough starters and the culinary adventure ahead. Today’s lunch in the garden will naturally feature freshly baked bread, as well as Apulian classics. After some time to rest at the hotel or enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool, set off by bus for the whitewashed hill town of Ostuni. Guests will enjoy a short, guided walk through the town as local inhabitants are partaking in the evening passeggiata (stroll). Dinner this evening will be at Masseria Moroseta, where the chef, Giorgia Eugenia Goggi, will curate a special wine-paired menu for the group, featuring produce from the estate and nearby food purveyors.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Masseria Montepaolo

Day 3: Pane e Formaggio
September 23, 2024

After breakfast today, head to Altamura, renowned for its sourdough with a high water content and a nutty flavor. Visit the historical artisanal bakery Di Gesù to learn how pane di Altamura DOP is made. Guests will discuss the grains and flour used, getting some serious “dough time” while learning about the local bread-baking techniques. After the bread is baked, guests will enjoy a picnic lunch featuring breads and local cheeses including Nerone, aged in Apulian figs and coated in caramelized organic oranges and Amore Primitivo wine. Enjoy some time at leisure in Altamura before visiting a local pasticceria to taste sweets, including sospiri pugliesi and tette delle monache. Continue to Bari and check in to your centrally located hotel. Dinner is at your leisure this evening. Tour staff will be able to provide restaurant recommendations for your independent culinary explorations.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: JR Hotels Oriente

Day 4: Taralli e Trulli
September 24, 2024

Begin today in Palo del Colle, the birthplace of taralli pugliesi. Learn the tradition of taralli, wheat-based crackers similar in texture to grissini, made from an unleavened dough and typical of southern Italy. Then meet with the flamboyant Mariangela Antolini, owner of an organic mozzarella business, and watch the cheese-making process at her farm. Taste typical cheeses over lunch, such as fior di latte and burrata. Continue to Alberobello in the afternoon. Enjoy some time at leisure to wander through this picturesque town filled with its 1,400 trulli (traditional cone-shaped, dry-stone houses). This city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Your evening is free in Bari to wander the historic center of the city and see the pasta grannies making the local orecchiette pasta, or to pause at a local bar for some focaccia barese or panzerotti.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: JR Hotels Oriente 

Day 5: Orecchiette
September 25, 2024

This morning, enjoy a guided walking tour through the historical center of Bari, pausing to learn about typical handicrafts. Enjoy lunch at a local trattoria to sample orecchiette pasta and other flavors of Bari cuisine. We drive to Naples in the afternoon (the drive will take approximately three hours). Check in to your hotel for the next three nights, overlooking the Gulf of Naples. Dinner will be enjoyed at a local restaurant.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Day 6: Coffee and the Neapolitan Foods of Past and Present
September 26, 2024

Start the morning at Caffè Gambrinus for arguably the best coffee in town, served in the classic Neapolitan way. Fully caffeinated, embark on a walking tour around a local market to see the regional produce before rolling up your sleeves for a cooking class of typical dishes. Later, visit Antico Forno Attanasio, one of the sanctuaries of typical Neapolitan sweet treats such as sfogliatelle, pastiera, and babà al rum. A local food expert will lead a pizza crawl in the evening, visiting some of the best-known local pizzerias. Sample pizza a portafoglio (an icon of street food in Naples), pizza fritta (a bit like fried pizza or a deep-fried calzone), and pagnottiello (a local panino filled with cheese, pancetta, and salami). Along the way, Maurizio and Matt will compare and contrast these items with pizza back in the United States—American pizza styles versus the neo-Neapolitan movement.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Tastings, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Day 7: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!
September 27, 2024

The final day of the trip is a real pizza intensive. In the morning, visit a local mozzarella producer to learn the process for making mozzarella di bufala and how it differs from some of the cheeses tasted in Puglia. In the late afternoon, depart Naples for the nearby town of Caiazzo. Celebrate your week of baking in Italy with a dinner at the world-famous Pepe in Grani pizzeria. Here celebrated and prized pizzaiolo Franco Pepe, who comes from a long line of bakers with a passion for dough, experimentation, and innovation, will treat you to a selection of award-winning pizzas. By the end of the evening, you can judge whether the Michelin Guide’s description of Franco Pepe as “a living patron saint of pizza-making” is accurate!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Day 8: Arrivederci
September 28, 2024

  • Group transfer to Naples International Airport

Masseria Montepaolo, near Polignano a Mare (two nights)
In historic Masseria in the Valle d’Itria, this 16th-century stone farmhouse has been elegantly transformed into a small hotel resort. Our group will be taking over most of the property. Most rooms are in the main building, with several located in separate buildings around the estate. The hotel offers Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, and traditionally furnished accommodations with private bathrooms. Guest rooms are decorated with country-style fabrics and furnishings. The restaurant specializes in regional cuisine, served in the dining hall or under a covered veranda.

JR Hotels Oriente, Bari (two nights)
Located in the heart of Bari, this four-star hotel is set in a completely renovated early 20th-century building. All guest rooms have air-conditioning, a flat-screen satellite TV, a minibar, and free Wi-Fi. There is a hotel bar and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views over Bari. Bari’s historic center and seafront promenade are just a five-minute walk away.

Hotel San Francesco al Monte, Naples (three nights)
This four-star hotel in a former monastery boasts a panoramic view over the Gulf of Naples and sits above the bustle of this busy city. Guest rooms are modest in size but elegantly furnished and with sea views. The hotel’s top floor is set against the hill of San Martino, where there is an outdoor pool and garden offering 360-degree views of the city, the Mediterranean Sea, Mount Vesuvius, and the island of Capri. The grounds also include the ancient vegetable gardens cultivated by the monks, complete with walkways and pergolas.

Price:

Double Occupancy: $8,895 per person
Single Occupancy: $10,025 per person
Deposit: $500

BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY!



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