Food and wine are key ingredients in Castello di Ugento’s new life. One wing of the renovated castle houses a luxury boutique hotel, while across the courtyard the fine-dining resturant Il Tempo Nuovo awakens your palate with Pugliese specialties interpreted with a contemporary twist by Chef Tommaso Sanguedolce. The newly launched cookery school, the Puglia Culinary Centre, under the direction of House Chef Odette Fada, focuses on the region’s eno-gastronomy and welcomes students from the renowned Culinary Institute of America both in January and September each year for a Concentration in Italian Cuisine.
From September to April students spend a semester studying regional cuisine from every Italian region in the state-of-the-art, custom-built cookery school in the castle’s oldest storehouses. Hotel guests are also invited to take cookery classes and learn about Italian cuisine while being introduced to the secrets of Salento’s ‘nonnas’ more traditional dishes.
This region is the breadbasket of Italy. Puglia is where most of Italy’s wheat is grown – to feed the country’s pasta cravings. This is also where you’ll find over 60 million olive trees. The oil produced here has a wonderfully rich spiciness.
The hotel’s restaurant, Il Tempo Nuovo, with its unique historical setting, specialises in Puglia’s cuisine. Local and seasonal are the cornerstones of the menus and Chef Tommaso is developing close relationships with the best producers and farmers in the Salento region. Menus will change with the seasons – and with the local ingredients he finds on his trip to the market each day and what the local fishermen bring ashore.
Much of the produce is grown and harvested from the castle’s 18th-century walled kitchen garden, which was the first part of the castle to be restored, as well as at a nearby farm dedicated exclusively to supplying Il Tempo Nuovo with the freshest produce. From farm to kitchen to fork…
The wine cellar highlights local grape varieties, now highly respected around the world, from Primitivo to Negroamaro and Aleatico. Guests will be able to enjoy a wine tasting in the 17th-century cellar, wine-pairing and gastronomic dinners in the restaurant and visits to local vineyards.