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« Torre del Saracino | Main | Salento, part II: too many fishes… »

October 13, 2004

Comments

Miles Efron

Amazing! I saw a Cacioricotta in my local (Texas, USA) grocery. Will have try it out.

I'm curious, is Puglia where pugliese bread is from, or is that Apulia?

Alberto

Miles, sorry for the confusion: Puglia is Apulia, I only tend to use the proper Italian name for places. And clearly that's where pugliese bread comes from, though that is a modern re-interpretation of the traditional Pane di Altamura, a sourdough bread BTW. Altamura is to the North of where I was, closer to the Region's capital Bari.

Iaia

Alberto, I'm in Puglia (fortunately) very often for work, and I think that there are LOTS of wonderful restaurants ! Near Lecce there is Cavallino, a little town full of typical restaurants and bristo-like places, for example. Sure it's difficult for non-local to find out great surprises (expecially fodd shops), but I think that Puglia is one of the richiest food Italian regions !

Alberto

Iaia, my comment on Puglia not being a foodie destination was meant in a slightly different way. I know there's many great eating out places, I was BTW at Osteria del Pozzo Vecchio in Cavallino, and a post on that is on its way.

The fact is that compared to regions like Sicilia and Campania, Puglia is still relatively unknown, at least outside Italy. Its best products are still well kept secrets and there's no big effort to make these well known to a wider public. Also all those nice restaurants we're talking about serve mainly local traditional food, apart one or two, like Poeta Contadino in Alberobello which is considered one of the best places in Southern Italy. That kind of food something I love but not necessairly something that attracts the attention of more sophisticated gourmets out there.

But you're right: I should have written that it deserves to be a foodie destination although it is not yet one.

Marco Bianco

I've been going to puglia for the last 4 years visiting friends and family in Barletta and Foggia. I just love the food. I always go in early September when the grapes are just ready to be harvested. I love the lighter red wines of Castel del Monte, which contain the Troia and Montepulicano grapes. Also go to Andria and try the buratta cheese made at IL BAFFONE.

Marco Bianco
Phoenix, Arizona USA

lunarossa

Well, I'm living in Puglia at the moment and I find it to be rich and plentiful region when it comes to food. There are quite a few local wines and olive oil that deserve to be sampled. Culinary speaking (and I have tried only 4 or 5 restaurants) is very much like the rest of the Italy, but they certainly like their sea food and pepperoncino! Everything is fresh and delicious, albeit simple. And that is the beauty of it – the food of peasants and fishermen. Perfect if you ask me.
At home I often make one of the local specialities: orecchiette con cima di rape or little ears pasta with turnip greens – broccoli-like vegetable that is abundantly used throughout the winter. Delicious!

Alberto

Lunarossa, definitely agree about Puglia being plentyful. By saying it is not a foodie destination I only meant that it is still miles away from other Italian regions when it comes to promoting its typical products. Your comment about seafood and chilies makes me curious: in a which part of Puglia are you living in? Just wondering since in Salento the cuisine is defintiely more connected to the land and chilies are used pretty sparingly.
I don't really get what you mean with "Culinary speaking... is very much like the rest of the Italy." To me there are really strong gastronomic differences inside Italy, and also moving outside of trattoria food, so maybe I'm missing the point or looking at too much detail (I am Italian after all!)

lunarossa

I live in Brindisi (but I’m not Italian). I go to the market practically every day. The selection of veggies and fish here is quite good and what’s more important to me it changes with seasons. OK, it is still possible to find aubergines, for example, in January but there are mountains of fennel, courgettes or artichokes when they are in season locally. You can even buy them on the street corners from nonno’s of the back of an old battered “Ape”. Often I talk to women on the market or my neighbours how to prepare particular veggie or fish or piece of meat I bought that day and “little bit of pepperoncino” gets mentioned. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way saying that the prepared food is the same as in the rest of Italy (I get rather clumsy with my English sometimes). What I meant was that all the produce typically associated (how very foreign of me!) and used more or less in Italian kitchens are present in numerous forms and combinations but purchased and prepared daily and simply. And I’m still learning, collecting recipes from Italy, from foodblogs like yours, ordering cookbooks from Amazon which is how I found out that polenta is more popular in the north, and that people from Naples are known as “mangiafoglie”(wink!).

Alberto

Lunarossa, absolutely no offence taken! You have to excuse me if I sounded too serious or angry: I was just curious to know what thoughts were behind your comment on Italian food and phrased it way too roughly. While the idea of "daily and simply prepared" food is definitely a good description of what Italian, and especially Southern Italian, food is most of the time, I would encourage you not to see this as the only way Italian food can be. Festive foods or even Sunday Lunch dishes can be quite complex and often require lengthy preparations which cannot be afforder during the working week. Also, if somewhat more sofisticated restaurant food stimulates your curiosity, do try a few good restaurants (there are a few in your area, if you want I can give you the info per email): you'll get a chance to see how those simple dishes can be turned into intriguing gastronomic creations. That said, traditional Pugliese dishes like "fave e cicorie" are something that would make a creative cook envious: simple, intriguing and timeless.

BTW I love the Ape sellers too :-).

Pia Hellgren-Brooks

Hi!
Puglia is in Umbria, right? it says in the article that it's not necessarily foodie heaven. But I was under the impression that Umbrfia is famous for its truffles, which certainly makes it a heaven for foodies?

Alberto

Hi Pia. Puglia is actually a Region on its own. It comprises what you would call the heel of the Italian "boot". So sadly no truffles there. On the other hand, don't get my comment wrong: I find Puglia has loads of great food to offer, only the offer should be improved, organized and advertised better. As an Italain, when I see the amount of gastronomic treasures we have and how badly we need to improve our communication skills with those visiting our country I get a bit angry ;-).

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