Faces of Puglia
We were recently joined in Lecce by our great friend, the amazing photographer Adam Blasberg. When he wasn’t sipping Negroamaro and searching for the next seafood feast (it was his Italian vacation after all), Adam took the opportunity to unleash his camera and snap some shots of the incredible people that the Espressino Travel team is lucky enough to work with on our Foodie Tour of Puglia.
We’ll be integrating these wonderful portraits into the site in the near future, but once we saw them, we knew that they were too good not to be shown in a gallery of their own.
Here’s Gianna, our incredible Cooking Class Instructor, in Lecce’s Piazza del Duomo. We had to persuade Gianna to put on her cook’s jacket, and not just because of the soaring temperatures that day. Modesty is just one of her countless qualities; Gianna’s passion for sharing the cuisine of the Salento in her fabulous cooking school, Cooking Experience Lezioni di Cucina Salentina, has led her to appearance on Italian national TV and it’s impossible to walk around Lecce with her without being stopped by friends and fans every dozen steps. That enthusiasm for Cucina Salentina is more than matched by her joy for life, which Adam captured perfectly in her stunning smile.
This is Maurizio, our unrivalled Pizza instructor. According to his wife Silvia, Maurizio is an “earthquake,” due to his boundless energy and passion for life. That enthusiasm filters down to his food. You can taste the love in every pizza he makes. Adam took this shot on Via Libertini, right outside Maurizio’s pizzeria, Pizza&Co. Once Maurizio appeared we quickly drew a crowd of his neighbours, who all clearly love him as much as we do, and weren’t shy about offering their opinions about how he should pose.
We didn’t tell Truffle Hunter Giuseppe that we were hoping to shoot him until midway through an evening’s truffle hunt. Don’t let his rustic attire fool you. Giuseppe has a razor sharp mind, turning his hand to running multiple businesses and inventing one of Italy’s great cooking tools, the Pentolo. He also has a closer relationship with his dogs than many people do with their friends. He treats them like royalty. Quite rightly. These pups are able to discover over a kilogram of delicious (and profitable) truffles almost every time they go hunting. And they’re insanely cute too.
If Marta and Marco of Mantatelure seem too chilled out to be running a luxury guesthouse, that’s just because you haven’t experienced the Salento yourself yet. Cool and calm is how they roll, personally and professionally. That attitude filters down to their guests, who are able to relax in this oasis of calm in the heart of Lecce’s old town. Did you know that there isn’t an Italian word for ‘stress?’
Marco also owns Pescheria con Cottura, an incredible fish restaurant in the heart of Lecce where you choose your fish from the counter and exactly how you want it cooked. Marco was so enamoured by Adam’s portraits that he invited us into the kitchen to take some shots of his tough-looking (but kind and quiet in person) head chef Alberto. With this great look – and the lure of a seafood dinner – how could Adam say no?
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