Today was a great day. I met my lovely friend Gio. He is currently touring around a delightful American couple, Don and Susan, who make artisan pasta in California. Along with Anthony (originally from Hastings) who was the official driver, we all went to lunch in Lecce at Le Zie.


What an amazing lunch. Salento cuisine at its best. Honest, simple, tasty.  The photos on the wall are of various famous guests including Francis Ford Coppola.  An interesting point as Don has met him to discuss pasta. What a connection!

After lunch we travelled in convoy, yes I drove and apparently went through a red light or two but I’m not proud of that just proud that I was told by the driver in the car following that I drive like an Italian.  I felt that was a compliment!  And I didn’t go through a red light. It was red for turning left and I was going straight.

We drove to Maglie to the factory of Benedetto Cavalieri. They are artisan pasta makers since 1918. The factory was started by the current Benedetto’s grandfather and it’s now run by him and his son Andrea. Two of the most charming people I have met.


Don was in his element having admired the Cavalieris from afar. And they were so generous with their time. Showing us the antique typewriters, calculators and of course the pasta making machines. They still hand pack the pasta and the ladies didn’t mind me taking photos.

Here is Benedetto


And here he is with his son Andrea and Don


And a few more..

They then took us for coffee and sent us on our way with samples. I feel very honoured to have had this experience. To see their passion was inspiring.