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Giro di Puglia

The old fishing harbor in Monopoli on the Adriatic coast in Puglia is just one of the charming towns worth visiting here.

The old fishing harbor in Monopoli on the Adriatic coast in Puglia is just one of the charming towns worth visiting here.

While we wait for Pascarosa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to be blessed by the FDA at the Port of Portland, we are busy cooking up something new for the fall. Maybe we’ve been inspired by the Giro d’Italia, the epic bicycle stage race now underway just next door to us in Matera, then Mola di Bari tomorrow. And so many friends and friends of friends have gotten in touch lately, wanting to know more about Puglia and its amazing coastline, cuisine and gioia di vivere (joy of living) that we have started putting together plans for some tours during the golden days of September, October and early November here. But we need your help to design the best experience possible, so here’s where you come in.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is one of the most satisfying Pugliese dishes you'll learn how to master.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is one of the most satisfying Pugliese dishes you’ll learn how to master.

Will you take a minute to check out this survey and tell us what you think? Here’s what we’re planning: three tours, focusing on three different aspects of life here, for one week each. The first is a culinary tour that offers an up-close, very much behind the scenes look at la cucina Pugliese (Puglian cooking). We’ll participate in hands-on cooking classes, olive oil tasting and evaluation, wine tasting featuring Puglia’s world-class varietals and obscure blends now experiencing international success and walking tours of the centri storici (historic centers) of some of the most charming towns and villages you’ve ever seen. This trip will take place in mid-September, 2013 and in the later spring of 2014.

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

Experience the flavor of the first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from the Pascarosa olive harvest.

The second, an olive harvest tour, provides an opportunity to participate in the olive harvest, bringing olives to the olive mill and tasting the first organic extra virgin olive oil as it drips off the press. This trip includes hands-on cooking classes focused on the use of extra virgin olive oil in every course from antipasto to dessert, visits to historic and modern olive mills, a workshop on the sensory evaluation of olive oil and visits to Valle d’Itria towns steeped in olive oil tradition. This trip will take place during the very beginning of the olive season, around the first week of November 2013.

Ride with the areas premier amateur cyclists while discovering the Valle d'Itria.

Ride with the areas premier amateur cyclists while discovering the Valle d’Itria.

The third tour is a biking tour of the incredibly Valle d’Itria countryside. From the Adriatic  to the Ionian coasts—and all the hills and valleys in between—guests will have the chance to join the local bicycle club on their weekly rides. There will be a variety of routes available to accommodate all rider levels as well as activities for non-rider partners like hands-on cooking classes, visits to artisan cheese and pasta workshops and more. This trip will take place in mid-September and in the later spring of 2014.

More detail about the trips can be found on our Pascarosa website, which will be active any day now . . . really!  But as we shape the tours and refine our pricing, your input is absolutely invaluable in creating experiences that reflect your interests.

Learn how to make handmade orecchiette from the masters—Puglia's grandmothers.

Learn how to make handmade orecchiette from the masters—Puglia’s grandmothers.

If you can take a minute to complete this survey, we can zero in on the details that will make these Pugliese sojourns memorable. All of the tours we’re planning include experiences that are not generally available to the public. Over 17 years in Puglia have given us the chance to develop deep friendships with farmers, food artisans and vintners who will share their knowledge and their home with our guests. We speak Italian fluently, so we’ll smooth the way as our guests develop their own relationships with the people of the Valle d’Itria. We’ll also take care of all the arrangements—from five star accommodations to comfortable transportation between activities.

Polignano a Mare, one of Puglia's seaside jewel-like towns to visit.

Polignano a Mare, one of Puglia’s seaside jewel-like towns to visit.

So thanks for your willingness to share your thoughts with us. And as a way of thanking you, we’ll give you a 10% discount on the cost of any tour you might decide to join eventually if you complete our survey by June 1, 2013. We’d love to see you here and hope to capture your imagination as an inaugural participant.

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