An idyllic seventh century Masseria in Ostuni

One of the first farmhouses in Puglia converted for tourism, Masseria Salamina is a family-run business that expresses the history of the land. The original building and olive trees are from the 1600s. Since its creation there have been a number of expansions over the years including the creation of a chapel in 1792. As you walk into each section you can see how it has been repurposed. For example the dining room was once a mill and other rooms were once stables. The olive trees still remain in tact and are used for the three varieties of olive oil used in the restaurant.

Masseria Salamina is the idyllic blend of luxury, history and agriculture. The ancient walls preserve the past and continue to demand the highest quality for its customers. The rooms are furnished to the style of the different eras so visitors can choose to their liking but there are modern amenities of television and wifi are available for everyone. From the salon there is a view of the sea, which is only a short bike ride away. For those that prefer to stay closer Masseria Salamina also has a large swimming pool, painting courses and traditional cooking classes.

A great pride is taken in Puglian culinary tradition and so only the highest quality, organic ingredients are used. When ingredients are not available from the farm, only high quality ingredients from neighboring producers are used. For the family it is the utmost importance to share the best of the land.

Experience traditional "guitar" pasta making

Although I’ve been to masserias in the past this has been the most impressive building to date. It is a large building that has been beautifully preserved and has expanded throughout the years. With a short tour of the building as we stepped into each addition it was like walking through time as the architecture and décor changed as we moved into each expansion.

We arrived in the drawing room, it was like walking straight into history. The salon room was gorgeous with upholstered furniture, chandelier and intricately painted ceiling. In the middle was a delicious display of local food: sundried tomatoes with capers, pecorino cheese with squash marmalade, olives, tarallis, and blanched and toasted almonds that were so good we brought them with us to begin a cooking lesson. Masseria Salamina has a large dining room and well-equipped kitchen. They hold cooking classes regularly to help customers understand local food and traditions and we arrived to have a full lesson, making fresh Langanari pasta, rolled seabass with cauliflower cream and chicory salad with anchovies.

Even though Dave had made fresh pasta many times he had never made Laganari nor had he used the classic technique of making a well with the flour and then adding water. It was great to see how quickly the kitchen could do this with ease, for us it took a bit longer but with direction and encouragement we eventually got it. To make the pasta shape we needed to use a chitarra, which is known as a pasta guitar. It seems like a funny name but that is exactly what it is – a frame with wire music strings that you can press rolled out pasta through to make into strands. I had never seen this before but what a brilliant idea.

We watched as the chef made the other traditional dishes, explaining the importance of fresh produce and traditional method. To say thank you Dave cooked a fish we bought earlier in Savelletri using heirloom cauliflower and carrots from organic food producers L'Ape e la Coccinella. When we were done we sat down to a beautiful lunch with our generous hosts and talked about our favourite subject – food. It was a great day to share and learn about tradition.