07984 803175
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About Us

Who We Are

by Monica Contini
We are Valentina and Monica, two friends from the Southern Italian port city of Bari, perched on the Adriatic coast of one of Italy’s most captivating regions, Puglia. We are both artists who share a passion for the unique culture of our region. Valentina specialises in contemporary crafts and I am an actress, and founder member of Bari’s renowned theatre company Teatro Kismet. What unites us is our love of the culinary arts, inspired by traditional recipes that have been handed down over generations. I learnt from my grandmother, Valentina from her father, and we’ve both been cooking since we were around 12 years old. Initially we cooked for our families.
Later we took charge of the kitchen at the theatre and cooked for visiting theatre companies, for events such as new year parties and birthday gatherings, as well as being hired for more intimate private dinner parties. Here in Puglia we are used to making the most of the abundance of local produce, both from the sea and the rich red soil characteristic of Puglia. We used to set up nets in the sea to catch our fish, dive for sea urchins and forage for mushrooms and the many natural herbs and plants we use in our cooking.
Our kitchen doesn’t feature trained chefs – we are two women who cook with our hearts and with passion. A few years ago I moved to the countryside near the historic hilltop town of Locorotondo in the Valle d’Itria, famous for “trulli” the clusters of white stone houses with conical roofs. I bought a beautiful olive grove, and now produce my own extra virgin olive oil (organic and non organic varieties).
Visit my website to find out more about our oil Giulivo www.oliogiulivo.it/store/blog-3/?lang=en Valentina and I never stopped dreaming about opening our own small trattoria. But it was only last year that we came up with the idea of an itinerant restaurant, one that could travel easily. So with two plane tickets and a couple of suitcases, we can pop up for a short residency in towns or villages across Europe. Over a few days we aim to bring our Puglian artisan cooking and the warm atmosphere of eating “a casa” (at home) to people at their houses, and at local restaurants or cafes; sharing simple dishes and refined flavours, made with Puglia’s fresh seasonal ingredients, but most of all with love.
The seed of that idea first took shape over a coffee whilst visiting our friend Judy, in the Kitchen Garden Café, near her home in Kings Heath, Birmingham. We were so taken with the homely atmosphere of this magical café a quiet oasis in the city, and the friendliness of the staff that we felt suddenly it could be the perfect partnership to launch our new venture. So here we are. We hope you will join us, to have fun discovering “la cucina Pugliese”.
Buon Appetito!
An evening of authentic Southern Italian flavours, aromas and warm hospitality. • Discover exquisite traditional specialities from the region of Puglia • Cooking from the heart by Monica & Valentina flying in to Birmingham for 3 nights only • Fresh, seasonal ingredients to tempt vegetarians, seafood lovers and carnivores
AVAILABILITY 30 November Menu Terra
AVAILABILITY 1 December Menu Terra e Mare
AVAILABILITY 2 December Menu Terra

Contact Details

To book or for more information and menus contact: Judy Owen.
07984 803175
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