May 6 - 13, 2019 *only a few spots left


Southern Italian Country living! Indulge your senses!


*Limited Availability* - contact Monique to learn more This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Indulge your senses with this exclusive retreat to Italy’s Puglia region and soak in a relaxed way of life where the countryside and the azure blue water await.  Escape for 7 full days in a tailored itinerary to a culinary playground revealed through the masterful techniques of World-Class Chef JC Poirier who will cook for you and bring his vast knowledge to this experience.

The highlight of this exclusive tour is your ability to either sit back and enjoy the ‘farm-to-table” cuisine or to learn from and interact with a master of his craft. 

The flavours of the region will reveal themselves as you unwind and soak in the history of the people and food of the area. We will also explore the treasures and beauty of this mostly undiscovered region.

 Masseria caretti grande0048 mini

Your Experience

You will be staying at the First Class Agriturismo MASSERIA CARETTI GRANDE, a XVl Century multi-generational farm surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the region, only 15 minutes from the beaches of the Adriatic Coast, close to the city of Lecce and a 35-minute drive from the Brindisi Airport.

Masseria Caretti Grande is a hidden jewel surrounded by the centuries old olive trees, where the only sounds you can hear are the song of the grasshoppers and the breeze blowing lightly through the trees. It is an active farm, impeccably renovated, providing a perfect combination of comfort and authenticity. Everywhere you look, there is beauty. The space and furnishing that characterize the rooms and common areas reveal that luxury does not consist only in the aesthetics or in the value of objects, but also in the comfort they offer.

Upon arrival at the Agriturismo you will be greeted by Illuminata Vanessa Lo Presti and her family who will prepare a welcome dinner while we are relaxing. Vanessa is truly passionate about her heritage and is looking forward to taking us around and sharing her stories.


Savour fresh organic tomatoes, a range of meats, honey, farm-made fresh cheese, pasta and bread made with wheat harvested on the farm.  Enjoy family style meals prepared by JC and Letitia who are big fans of the farm-to-table philosophy.  They will be creating meals using ingredients from the farm or the local market. You are welcome to learn to cook with them or sit and relax by the pool and enjoy the surroundings.

The region where the Agriturismo is located: SALENTO + view a map

Torre SantAndrea LecceWEB
Salento, the heel of Italy, nestled in the clear waters of the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, where tall cliffs sculpted by the sea alternate with sandy beaches.


jc-poirier-italy-tourphoto: Luis Valdizon

Chef JC Poirier:  Owner and Executive Chef of St-Lawrence Restaurant, in Vancouver :
(Rated in the top 50 best restaurant in Canada, canadabest100.com).

Numerous awards, the latest being :

Best restaurant, Best new restaurant 2018, Vancouver Magazine Restaurants Awards
Best new restaurant, Best Chef of the Year, 2018, Georgia Straight Golden Plates


He is also the co-owner of Ask For Luigi Restaurant: (Rated in the top 50 best restaurant in Canada, canadabest100.com)

Ask for Luigi has received also numerous awards such as :

Best Italian Restaurant, 2015, 2016, 2017, Georgia Straight Golden Plates
Best Casual Italian Restaurant 2016, Vancouver Magazine
Best Restaurant 2015, Best Italian Restaurant 2015, Best New Restaurant 2015, Vancouver Magazine

JC Poirier co-owns other restaurants : Pizzeria Farina, and also recently opened : Ristorante di Beppe in Gastown.

Quote: “Cuisine de campagne is rustic, generous and honest, to be enjoyed with family and friends. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - JC Poirier.

“At the end of the day, you realize the closest you can get to being honest with yourself and your guests is going back to the source. It’s who I really am as a person and chef.” JC Poirier

Other Activities


In addition to our culinary adventures at the farm, we will be exploring the region which is home to many beautiful sights:

  • Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its trulli district (houses with cone-shaped roofs),
  • Ostuni called “the White City” because of its white walls,
  • Lecce, the "Florence of the South” , one of the most interesting cities in the region for its architecture, typical of the 17th Century.
  • Polignagno a Mare is a jewel of a town  built on a rock facing the sea.Polignano a Mare web
  • A mini-cruise on a catamaran exploring islands and lagoons with some time for snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. Following that, a stop at the market to buy seafood for dinner, to be prepared by JC and Letitia.
  • Tasting local wines, visiting wineries and learning about the regional  grape varieties.
  • Taking part in a local festival.
  • Tempted? Contact Monique for more information : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



And on Saturday night … A Gastronomic Feast

Saturday night dinner : Saturday night will be special! After cooking in Puglia for nearly a week, it is time for JC and Letitia to really express their creativity, offering us a high-end gourmet dinner with great wine pairings. Expect surprises!






“Permesso Avanti”! is a generous, intimate and genuinely open life experience.

Travellers will leave with a rich, deep sense of accomplishment and connection with local people.

We will take you to places where you may never go on your own and are only accessible through my network of friends and family.

Expect a genuine, direct immersion into Italian living. Enjoy some free time, living in the moment, the opportunity to be spontaneous, and who knows … there might be some surprises!

Meet Italian people who were selected for their genuine interest in sharing their life, their home and their stories with you.

You will feel like you are travelling with friends and family!

You will come back rested and with memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life!

You will discover delicious new regional Italian specialties that you may want to try when you get back home!

We won’t settle for less than exceptionally good food and great wine!  

We’ve planned everything for you so all you have to do is …  “Let go and let us take care of you”!




Monique Polloni

Monique Polloni is a well-known former CBC-Radio-Canada Personality and Emcee in Vancouver.
A radio Host and Producer for fifteen years, Monique has always loved sharing her stories and her passion for the good things in life.  
Monique knows the art of tasting, breathing, touching Italy, thanks to her roots, family history and many journeys there. Her passion for Italy's warm-hearted, authentic and colourful people have simply deepened the special bond she has with her father's land.

Born in Montreal, from an Italian immigrant father and a "québécoise" mother, she relocated to Vancouver in 1990.
She learned at a very young age the essence of living fully and enjoyed the weekly visits at the farmers market with her father, which gave her a deep appreciation of fresh quality food and wine.
Having a big Italian family in the Veneto region,  Monique  studied Italian in Florence and spent three months in Turin, representing Canada at the 2006 Olympic games. In 2013, she discovered Southern Italy and fell in love with the region of Puglia for its beauty, people and character. She created unique bonds over the years in all corners of beautiful Italy.
Monique is a trained wine "enthusiast" (WSET) . A music connoisseur and a food lover.
As a reliable , competent, sensitive  and experienced traveller, Monique's motto is "The sky is not the limit"! There is always a solution!" Tutto bene"!

italy-tour-olives italy-tour-jc


Thank you Monique, I loved your absolute passion for Italy!  I fell in love with the people, the food, the language, the architecture. And, I can’t wait to go back! Everyone should DO this trip!

Langley, BC

I really appreciated the comfort at all times, discovering the beautiful region of Puglia, amazing flavours at the gourmet agriturismo and the surprises!

Vancouver, BC

I discovered awesome places, out of the touristic circuits, that I would have never knew they existed before! I was speechless!

The Masseria Caretti Grande was such a pleasant stay with the warm welcoming from Vanessa, and her father “Nino”. I loved the calmness, the comfort and the beautiful decoration of every room.

Grenoble, France

Are you interested in this unique way of exploring Italy?

Email Monique to book a phone conversation and learn more about the experience: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.






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