Once in a Lifetime Authentic Pugila Experiences

Making Passata in a Salento village with locals– End of August
Spring and Summer are magic times of the year in the Puglia area. If you get the chance to stroll (and eventually get lost) in the many little villages of the area your senses will be captured by the smells and colors all around: the spectacular nature, the white little houses, the older folks gathering in small groups out of the bars in the main “piazza”, the smell of fresh tomatoes and basil coming from the kitchens.

The countryside is in summer a wonderful set where many beautiful things happen: the fruits of nature are daily picked up early in the morning (la raccolta) and put into wooden boxes to shop at the closest food market or by grocers you easily find in every corner of the streets.


There is a unique experience in the Salento (southern part of Puglia) that I highly recommend if you visit Puglia by the end of August. In late summer, women and men of any age in little villages make the tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro) they will be eating all year long. Hundreds of bottles of a very tasteful passata (nothing doing with the one you find at the supermarket) they make for families and friends, because eating healthy and genuine in this southern Italian paradise is a must not simply a pleasure.

Making the annual tomato sauce is a fun experience for the locals: it is pure joy during which you will share smiles and tales with local mums and aunties speaking most of the time dialect, a few Italian and eventually singing. It is a ritual and making it in good company is simply amazing.

One of the most fascinated things of this area, I will never stop telling it to you, is the happiness people naturally communicate through some very simple gestures, smiling faces and daily activities. And once you personally experience it, you will never stop thinking of that sense of calmness better known as the “Salento slow life”, a philosophy of life putting pure and simple things at the centre of everydaylife.

Little villages regularly do it: folks plan to make the tomato sauce late in the summer and due to the high number of tomatoes bottles each family makes, volunteers among relatives and friends who will join this incredible job are more than welcome.
It usually takes place in outdoor spaces, with the tomato salsa makers sat comfortably while cutting hundreds of tomatoes and chatting on some very popular village stories.
Hundreds of tomatoes surround the tomato sauce makers. Once they wash them they will be put into a big saucepan. Sometimes they also put an onion which gives the sauce more thickness in flavor. Tomatoes are cut in half for avoiding their explosion once they’re put on the fire. During their boiling you will regularly make sure not to burn the base of the pan, so better to squash the tomatoes with a long wooden spoon to ensure their proper cooking.

Fresh basil and a box of salt will be added into the cauldrons to spicy it and spread a generous smell around. Tomatoes will be kept boiled for about one hour while the pulp will be kept and passed through the mill, thus removing seeds and skins. Once boiled and passed under the mill, the “passata” will be heated up with olive oil and very finely chopped onions, basil and salt.

At this point of the preparation the sauce will be let boiling until the sauce will have been reduced down to the consistency you like.

Now the best part of the activity come, that is bottling. These lovely southern Italian locals can bottle hundreds of bottles in a single day for the family to storage and use in winter time for their daily cooking.

In a couple of days after their preparation, the bottles could be unloaded and consumed over the year. In some villages those bottles are sold to food market shops for discerning foodies who prefer eating hands-on made tomato sauce which is very different in taste than industrial one.

Also, for the folks saying they’re using their own made tomato sauce is a great treat and a reason for being so proud.

We make this unique experience every late summer with lovely folks living in the charming Salento villages.

In late august, in a small southern village of the Salento area in the south of Puglia a beautiful couple of husband and wife, Tommaso and Luigina and many more local folks friends will be happy to share this experience with you.

If you are planning to visit Salento in Puglia in this time of the year and would love making this once in a lifetime experience, email to: info@yltourcongressi.com or visit www.yltoucongressi.it to choose the tour you prefer.

Ylenia Sambati is a Puglia Travel Expert who can assist you in planning a trip to the region. She organizes unique trips to Puglia and provide lovely

accommodations. Packages from one day, to weekends and weekly programs.

Ylenia was born and raised in Puglia (she attended University in France) and has extensively experience in tourism and event planning, promoting events and cultural initiatives in Italy and abroad focused on Puglia.

Besides her interest in tourism, Ylenia has also organized several events around the world promoting Puglia culture and lifestyle through the promotion of cultural and educational exchanges by planning events and tours which enhance the familiarity between Puglia and the rest of the world.

She very well knows the area and local culture and loves writing and informing the public about this beautiful southern Italian area and all the interesting things it has to offer.

She represents an outstanding point of reference for passionate of Puglia cuisine and lifestyle: foodie/gourmets, travel agents, importers, cooking schools, tour operators, sommeliers, students, media people, chefs and restaurateurs, writers, bloggers, editors, travel consultants, promotional organizations of food, wine and tourism, people loving southern italian culture around the world.

She specialize in customized Puglia travel and events planning and offer unforgettable experiences for leisure, incentive and business travel, with programs where culture and the traditions of southern Italy can be truly experienced and enjoyed and assists foreign companies in reaching Puglia trading partners.

She can tailor a wide range of inspirational events and tours: enjoy the most authentic Puglia and do something beautiful: cook, yoga, food and wine tour, paint, sport, meet the locals. Don’t miss her hands-on cooking classes in creative cuisines and wine appreciation in authentic Puglia retreats. She  also help you buy, restore and rent out rural, town and prestige properties in the Salento (Puglia) area.

She speaks Italian, English, French.

See you in Puglia!