1. Chiara, you and your family own Masseria Potenti, a boutique hotel in Puglia, Italy. Could you tell us about the property and its history?

Our Masseria is a hidden resort in the heart of Salento, Apulia Italy. It is housed in a sixteenth century Masseria (farm house that you can find only in Puglia and in some parts of Sicily) in an uncontaminated landscape, immersed in nature between blue seas and open horizons.
 

Masseria Potenti pool
Poolside at Masseria Potenti

 

Masseria Potenti fotocameremasseriapotentisito
Lavender bushes at the Masseria

 

Masseria Potenti mother
Chiara’s Mother, Maria Grazia

 

Masseria Potenti green table setting
Beautiful details

2. Have you and your family always run the Masseria and if not, what were you doing beforehand?

Our farm is a family project where everything has been renovated respecting the original structure from the XVI century. My parents were born and grown in Manduria, a small town known for Primitive wine in Apulia, South of Italy. 30 years ago they moved to Milan.

My Father is still a psychiatrist (who works three days a week in Milan) and my Mother was a lawyer and is now taking care of our Masseria. As a good psychiatrist my Dad believes in dreams and in their realisation through tenacity and determination. He is a very good motivator, and seeks to accommodate all our inclinations.

My Mum is the typical Italian woman from Southern Italy, always smiling, very warm and happy to share her passion for the kitchen and interior design with her friendsTogether five years ago they opened Masseria Potenti, initially born as their country home for retirement. They started  with two extra rooms for guests and inviting their friends in Milan for the summer holidays. From that moment the project started, because friends of friends asked to come too and from two rooms we now have 15.

 
Masseria Potenti Fotomasseriapotentisito
Freshly picked bounty at Masseria Potenti

 

Masseria Potenti_decori floreali piscina
Beautiful details at Masseria Potenti

 

3. ‘Masserie’ are estates unique to Puglia and some parts of Sicily. Could you tell us more about them?
 
The Masserie are ancient buildings, typical of Southern Italy, widespread in Puglia. In the past they were large farms with a rich land extension, property of noble local landlords. The farms were based on a system of self-sufficiency and well inside the home of the wealthy landowner, there were also the peasants’ lodgings, stables and warehouses for forage and crops.

 

Masseria Potenti_esterni_vasi piscina
The stunning Puglian light at Masseria Potenti 

 

Masseria Potenti_ sera_view
Masseria Potenti at night

 

masseria i potenti
Inside the rooms at Masseria Potenti

 

Masseria Potenti white bedroom
My kind of bedroom

 

4. What is unique about your masseria and the activities/services you offer to your guests?
 
The most interesting thing about the Masseria is that you seem to find yourself in a small paradise as well preserved as it was conceived, where you live with nature and its beauty. You will also experience an informal ambience in a very Italian style where you feel at home, especially meeting my Mum Maria Grazia and all her incredible all-female staff. Holidaying also means discovering new people, not only a beautiful place.

 

Masseria Potenti Telini and Sky
Under cover, shadows and lights at Masseria Potenti
 

5. The region of Puglia is famous for its rustic coastal setting. Could you tell us a bit more about the region and ‘musts’ to see and do?

 

We have an exceptional sea that is very clean with white beaches all around. We are very close to two wonderful natural reserves: salina dei monaci and Palude del conte. To visit: it is very nice to see Lecce, Ostuni, Matera, Manduria, Francavilla, Oria and Grottaglie (all old towns with very pretty historical centres).

 Masseria Potenti orecchiette come fare PNGHandmade Orecchiette

 

6. What are the culinary delights of the region and would you be able to share a simple recipe with our readers?

 

Some of culinary delights of the region include: frisella, orecchiette, parmigiana, ciceri e tria, panzerotti, rustico, taralli, braciole meat, bombette (special apulian meatballs), as well as pasticciotto leccese and zeppole.
A simple recipe? For sure, here is a recipe for orecchiette with ricotta and asparagus.
 
Orecchiette with ricotta and asparagus
 
For the dressing:
350 grams of ricotta 
100 ml milk
1 bunch of mint
1 bunch of asparagus
1 red/Spanish onion, finely chopped
q.b oil
Salt to taste

 

For the orecchiette:
1 kg burnt flour/grano arso (00 flour is also fine)
500 ml lukewarm water
1 pinch of salt

 

Masseria Potenti orecchiette con asparagi PNG
Preparations for orecchiette with ricotta and asparagus

 

For the orecchiette
Put the flour on a work surface
At the center of the flour make a crater where you add water and salt
Mix and knead to make a dough, until soft and elastic
Put to rest for 10 minutes
Roll and cut the dough into thick log like strips then cut into thin cubes
Shape the cubes into rounds using a serrated knife

 

For the dressing 
Boil asparagus
Make a sauce with the oil and red/Spanish onion
Cut the cooked asparagus into small pieces and mix it with the fried onion over low heat, adding 100 ml of milk and a pinch of salt
Remove from the heat and add the ricotta, breaking it down and mixing it with the asparagus, to create a soft cream, not too runny
Cook the orecchiette and dress the sauce by adding chopped mint
Add a little drop of oil and serve

 

Masseria Potenti_esterni_panoramica piscina
More poolside details at Masseria Potenti
 Masseria Potenti flowers by roadside
 
7. In your opinion, when is the best time to visit Puglia?

Every season is beautiful because of the light that makes our countryside magic. My favourite months are: during the Easter period (full of processions), May, June, the end of September, October and the Christmas holidays.

 

Masseria Potenti event set up

 

8. What are your plans and dreams for Masseria Potenti and do you have any upcoming workshops or events you can share with us?

In September we will have a yoga retreat workshop. We will also be repeating the amazing experience of our food photography retreat, were students can take pictures and cook.
 
From September we will open a Spa. Soon we will also be opening a museum to showcase our production of wine and oil (all made in the Masseria following the 0 km philosophy).
 
(All images by Chiara Tommasino)

 

Instagram: @masseriapotenti
Consciousness: We just try to respect nature, use produce from our land, and where not possible we buy from local producers.

 

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