Does Puglia grow any of its own produce?
Puglia is the least mountainous region of Italy and consists of broad, flat plains with a few low lying hills. The soil is rich and fertile and the climate is pleasant, with hot summers and mild winters. These factors make Puglia an important agricultural region producing around 40% of Italy's olive oil, a large portion of the wine and they also grow the famous durum wheat used in pasta and bread. It also has the longest coastline of any mainland Italian region, with approximately 800 km bordering both the Ionian and Adriatic Seas.
Is the food good in Puglia?
Historically, the vast majority of the people in Puglia suffered from poverty, resulting in their food being cheap and simple. Far from having a negative effect on the traditional dishes, quite the opposite is true, with Puglia providing a fine example of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
What does the diet mainly consist of in Puglia?
Bread and pasta play a large role in the staple diet of the region, both being made with flour from the locally grown durum wheat. Puglia is famous for its bread, particularly 'Pane Altamura' and also for its pasta shapes called 'orecchiette' (meaning 'little ears'). Many of their pasta dishes are made with orecchiette, the most famous being 'Orecchiette con le cime di rapa', which is the green leaves of fresh young broccoli. These leaves, anchovies and plenty of olive oil are the basis of this well-known pasta dish.
Does Puglia have good fish and seafood?
Due to the long coastline fish and seafood play a large part in the local cuisine. Anchovies are used a lot throughout the region and sea bass, mullet, grouper, swordfish and sea bream among the most popular fish. Gallipoli is famous for a dish called 'Scapece' which is fried fish preserved in red wine vinegar with breadcrumbs and saffron.
Seafood is extremely popular with octopus, prawns, oysters, mussels and clams forming the basis for some delicious recipes. A regional favourite, both with locals and tourists, is ‘Tiella’, a slow baked dish consisting of layers of rice, mussels, onions and potatoes. Puglia is also well known for its love of raw fish and is often compared to Japan for its consumption of raw fish dishes. If you are a lover of fish and seafood there are some excellent restaurants to choose from in this region.
What type of meat is eaten in the region of Puglia?
Meat was not often eaten in Puglia in the past as the people were generally too poor to afford it. Cattle were traditionally reared for milk so beef was not eaten. Each farmer used to raise a single pig which, when slaughtered, would be mainly used for preserved foods such as ham, sausages and salami. Lamb, poultry and rabbit were the main types of meat eaten, with horse and donkey meat thrown in when the animals became lame and had to be put down.
Is it possible to eat well in Puglia if you are a vegetarian or vegan?
Vegetables grow in abundance in the region and are used liberally in many pasta dishes, side dishes and salads. They are grown locally so are always fresh and are eaten seasonally. Broad beans and broccoli, both the flower and the leaves, are the two most common vegetables eaten in local dishes. Fennel, courgettes, artichokes, bell peppers, cauliflower, aubergines and wild leaf chicory are also used extensively. As with the rest of the south of Italy, it is not uncommon to eat the vegetables raw, cold cooked vegetables or vegetables preserved in oil.
In the winter months, soups are very popular, and they mainly consist of vegetables with the addition of either bread or pasta.
The pasta tends to be made just with local flour and water, without the addition of eggs, as the people were so poor and tended to keep the eggs for other dishes. The pasta is mostly made traditionally, by hand, and the old recipes are adhered to. So, yes, vegetarians and vegans can eat very well and very healthily in Puglia.
Do they eat dessert in Puglia?
As is common with most regions of Italy, particularly in the south, desserts are not eaten regularly and are something that is reserved for special occasions. The meal is usually finished with a piece of fresh, seasonal fruit. On the times that desserts are eaten, usually in a restaurant with a large party of friends or family, the sweets of this region are very much influenced by the Middle East. A lot of them contain figs, nearly all have nuts such as almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts and many are laced with spices. Honey tends to be used as a sweetener, rather than sugar, and soft ricotta cheese is also a popular addition. A tart called ‘Torta Pasticciotto’ is one of the traditional desserts and is a pie filled with almonds and either figs or amereno cherries.
What types of fruit grow in the region of Puglia?
All of the fruits grown in Puglia are eaten seasonally, ensuring that they are fresh, ripe and delicious. All general fruits are grown in this region, including citrus fruits and recently they have been cultivating more exotic fruits such as avocado, mango, bananas and Goji berries.
Are any types of cheese made in Puglia?
The most well-known and best loved cheese from Puglia is ‘Burrata’. This is a soft cheese with an outer shell of mozzarella which is filled with stracciatella and cream. Some of the other cheeses typical of the region are ‘cacioricotta’ and ‘pallone di Gravina’, Other southern Italian cheeses such as ‘caciocavallo’ and ‘pecorino’ are made in Puglia and vary slightly in taste and strength to those made in other regions.
Eating out in Puglia.
This charming and exotic region is full of places to eat out, ranging from a simple, rustic meal at a wooden table to high class restaurants with unique surroundings. One of the most famous restaurants in the region is set in a cave, overlooking the sea; what could be more romantic! Grotta Palazzese Restaurant