We are in the New York Times

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.

This is an extract from the New York Times 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.”


 *Photograph is by Gianni Cipriano for the New York Times


By | 2017-05-04T13:25:25+00:00 October 10th, 2014|cuisine, lifestyle in Lecce, Puglia, things to do in Puglia|8 Comments


  1. Italy Cooking Courses May 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Dearest Ruth!
    it will be great to have you and Ricardo back here. NO problem if you are gluten free now….pasta wont be as good…but we will have all the fun anyway. I can’t wait, just let me know when. lots of baci!

  2. Ruth Wellsmore May 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

    HOPELESS AM I!! I am yet to upload photo’s and our feedback to TRIPADVISOR…
    Ricardo and I are still bragging about our time in Lecce. We actually shared some pics the other day and would like to do a combined review and upload many fun photo’s… the finger i the cheek…. haha.
    I am def coming back to Lecce to do this course again, although … I am now gluten free so I will have to substitute some ingredients but will / should get the same result… fresh pasta!!! mmmmmm

  3. Italy Cooking Courses April 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Dear Nichole!

    it was a pleasure meeting and having your friends here in Lecce.
    Would be nice to have you and them back here.

  4. Nichole Buscher April 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I had the pleasure of meeting Cinzia last year who coordinated a special tour for my friends, which highlighted the incredible food and history of the area followed by a personalized wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Cinzia is incredibly knowledgeable and everyone just loved their day with her! What a wonderful concept she has and a true passion for her region. I wish you continued success!!
    Nichole B.

  5. Italy Cooking Courses April 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Dearest Jacqueline!
    how wonderful to hear from you. Thank you so much for your comment. I also have wonderful memories of my time and classes in Maine. I am so pleased you are still making my recipes.
    It would be wonderful to have you in Puglia for more fun.
    A big hug. Cinzia

  6. Jacqueline April 30, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I took one of Cinzia’s courses on olive oil and cooking in Maine. I have made the sweet and sour peppers numerous times. Every time I serve them, people rave about them. The food is not just healthy; it’s delicious. I’m so pleased to see that Stile Mediterraneo is doing well and that the NY Times has recognized them. Well deserved !

  7. Italy Cooking Courses April 29, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Dear Sue!

    how wonderful to receive your message!
    We recall perfectly that wonderful day with you and the rest of your super fun Group.
    So nice that you are still using our apron.
    A super big hug from me, Marika and Dina.
    Come back to visit us!

  8. sue dyson April 29, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    we were treated to the skills and enthusiasm of Cinzia, Marika and your delightful mother when we attended sessions at Stile Mediterraneo in the early stages of development some years ago.
    great memories and delighted to know that your dream is being realised.
    PS still use the apron!!!
    Sue and Leigh Australia

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