Stile Mediterraneo | Center for Italy Puglia's Mediterranean Cuisine and Lifestyle
Stile Mediterraneo


We are in the New York Times 8Comments

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Italy Cooking Courses

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We are so happy to share such great news!

We are in the New York Times and the article perfectly captures our mission, that is to promote the healthy aspects of Southern Italian food, an ancient cuisine that Southern Italian women handed down from mother to daughter for centuries and today is Unesco Heritage.

Lecce in the New York Times

Photograph by Gianni Cipriano for the New York Times

From the article:

“STILE MEDITERRANEO Another dynamic duo runs Stile Mediterraneo, which was founded when Ms. Rascazzo, a Harvard M.B.A. who worked for Goldman Sachs in New York and London, quit investment banking several years ago to “do something to help my region,” as she put it one afternoon while showing off the centuries-old palazzo that serves as headquarters.

The business is another fully familial affair. Ms. Rascazzo’s sister, Marika, a cardiologist, is her partner and sometime co-teacher. The palazzo, situated amid olive groves and vineyards just outside Lecce, belonged to their grandfather. Their grandmother taught them to cook.

“When I was living abroad I always noticed that only Tuscany and Northern Italian regions were getting all of the attention,” Ms. Rascazzo said. “Nobody knew about Puglia or our way of eating, or our wines, or our producers. It was just Mafia, pizza, spaghetti — the usual things associated with the south.”

Missing her home region and eager to raise the profile of its food, Ms. Rascazzo, 40, moved back to Lecce, sunk her savings into restoring the family palazzo and in 2007 started Stile Mediterraneo. Today she conducts food tours, leads visits to local producers and oversees cooking classes, where guests learn to make orecchiette, sweet-and-sour bell peppers, cakes with ricotta cheese and much besides. She is frequently joined by her sister, who draws on her medical background to impart scientific and nutritional details about the dishes. (Tip: Don’t peel tomatoes when making sauce; the skin contains lycopene, an antioxidant.)

Dr. Rascazzo’s recipes and information come together in her English ebook, “The Cuisine of Southern Italian Women: Mediterranean Secrets for a Healthy and Happy Life.”

Meanwhile, the sisters’ quest to bring attention to the region’s food — and the centrality of women in carrying on culinary traditions — has received some helpful boosts in recent years.

Last year Unesco awarded the Mediterranean diet — of which cucina povera is very much a part — status as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The organization even singled out its matriarchal debt. “Women play a particularly vital role in the transmission of expertise,” says the Unesco website, “and the safeguarding of techniques.”

International food cognoscenti have also been dropping in. A team from the Culinary Institute of America has visited Stile Mediterraneo, and chefs and restaurateurs from as far away as New England, Montreal and Rio have taken courses. Mike Chiarello, the head chef of La Bottega restaurant in Napa Valley and a sometime Food Network host, is one of them.

“I thought I was treating my daughter, recently enrolled at C.I.A., to a cooking class with Cinzia and her sister at Stile Mediterraneo and that I would simply be accompanying her to learn things I already knew,” Mr. Chiarello wrote via email.  “Instead, I came out of the class with a handful of new techniques and knowledge of how to make the perfect simple tomato sauce.”





Learn the Mediterranean Secrets for a Happy and Healthy Life – September 20-27, 2014 0Comments

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Italy Cooking Courses

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We have a few places left for our SPECIAL cooking and wine tour in Lecce on September 20th-27th, 2014.This is a unique opportunity to learn all the secrets of the ancient cuisine of Puglia that is not only delicious but also healthy.

The tour includes cooking classes, wine tour, olive oil tasting and several excursions to many beautiful places.

For more details please visit this page or contact us via email at info.stile[at]

Hope to have you here in Lecce, the beautiful baroque town of Puglia.





How to make real orecchiette pasta from Puglia Italy 4Comments

Posted on January 20, 2014 by Italy Cooking Courses

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Today it was a beautiful day at the market in Lecce (the one where locals go).

We met all our friends and of course we bought all the fantastic produce from Puglia.

Then, back to the Stile Mediterraneo Cooking School, Cinzia makes fresh hand made orecchiette, the real way!

To make orecchiette you need durum wheat semolina (never use White flour!) and water, a wooden board and a knife.

You can accompany the orecchiette with tomato sauce which would be the authentic way in the Lecce Salento part of Puglia; or with broccoli rabe, aka cime di rapa, that is a recipe from the Bari area.

What do you think of the video? I hope you understand the Italian accent!

The video has been made and edited by Andrew Jenner.




How to make frisella barley bread from Puglia Italy 0Comments

Posted on January 10, 2014 by Italy Cooking Courses

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If you like simple, tasty and very easy to make food then you should definetely try frisella bread from Puglia.

Frisella is made with whole grains, either with durum wheat semolina or with barley. Very rarely it is made with white flour.

There is nothing to cook with frisella and for us in Puglia, it makes a whole meal instead of pasta or rice.

In addition to being easy to make, it is also very tasty.

The secret is always to use very fresh and tasty ingredients. I used all the fresh ingredients I bought at the local market in Lecce: wild arugola, red cherry tomatoes and dry oregano. The most important ingredient are the capers in white wine vinegar. And of course frisella has to be enjoyed with the most intense Stile Mediterraneo [...] Continue Reading…


How to make real cavatelli pasta from Puglia 0Comments

Posted on December 30, 2013 by Italy Cooking Courses

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This is the beginning of a series where we take you directly into our Cooking School in Puglia and teach you how to make some of the best recipes from Puglia.

Today we are making cavatelli fresh pasta with durum wheat semolina and water. This is the real way that Cinzia learned from her mother and grandmother.

This is the recipe to make orecchiette and cavatelli with tomato sauce and cacioricotta cheese, the way we eat them in the Lecce Salento part of Puglia.

What do you think of the video? and what about the cavatelli?
The video has been made and edited by Andrew Jenner.


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  • About Stile Mediterraneo

    cooking school italy wine tours pugliaStile Mediterraneo is a Cooking School located in Puglia Italy. Our mission is to improve people's quality of life through education and good food. Join our "Use Your Own Senses Revolution": learn to buy, taste and cook high quality food and live life fully through good food. During our culinary and wine tours in Puglia, you will taste the authentic Italy with local experts. You will learn the secrets of an ancient, simple and tasty cuisine, handed down from mother to daughter for centuries and today Unesco heritage. Stile Mediterraneo was founded by Cinzia Rascazzo (extra virgin olive oil taster, 3rd level wine sommelier, Harvard MBA). The principles taught at the SM Cooking School were inspired by the medical research conducted by Dr. Marika Rascazzo (a cardiologist) in her ebook. SM was featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Culinary Institute of America's video about Puglia and in the National Geographic. Our ebook was presented at Harvard Business School. Our events were hosted in Florida, Georgia, Boston, NYC, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria. Lonely Planet and National Geographic recommended Puglia among the best 10 places in the world for 2014. Read more
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