Food and wine

Origins of the most appreciated wines of Puglia

The Apulian vineyard area is 87,000 hectares in total and guarantees a production of 4,900,000 hectoliters per year. Apulian red and rosé wines cover the majority of production (65%), while white wines only account for 35%.

One of the strong points of Puglia wines is the climate. In this region the sun shines and is present not only in the summer period but throughout the year. This means that the soil, as well as the fruit trees, can benefit from it, giving rise to juicy and very tasty products. The white and red grapes of Puglia, in fact, are known for being intense in color and very persistent in the mouth. Hence until the early 1990s, they primarily use them as a base for other less full-bodied national wines that needed greater intensity.

The native varieties still present in Puglia today such as Nero di Troia ( or Troy the mythological city ) and Negroamaro, trace the presence of the vine in Puglia already during the Greek colonization, in the 8th century BC. It was the Greeks themselves who also imported the cultivation method defined as “alberello” ( bush vine ), which is still widespread today throughout the regional territory. The real value of Apulian wine was highlighted around 1990, when the producers of Apulian wines realized the potential of their wines.

Among the most appreciated Apulian wines there is certainly Primitivo. With an orange-purple color, it is persistent on the palate and very consistent. Negroamaro, a more typical grape of Southern Puglia, is intense color, with violet reflections. It recalls aromas of ripe fruit such as plum, black cherry and cherry. Not to forget the characteristic Aleatico, a DOC red wine, more velvety than the previous two wines but much appreciated.

Join our tour and you’ll have a taste of delicious local wines and you’ll visit family-run wineries and more.

Food and wine

Tiramisù, the first Italian dessert in the world

Tiramisù is one of the most popular desserts in the world, it is the fifth word of Italian cuisine best known abroad, the first for desserts. Etymology of the word Tiramisu: lift me up, strengthen my body.

Tiramisu is a traditional dessert widespread throughout Italy, whose origins are debated and attributed above all to Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It is a spoon dessert based on ladyfingers (or other biscuits with a crumbly consistency) soaked in coffee and covered with a cream, composed of mascarpone, eggs and sugar. The tiramisu recipe is not present in cookbooks prior to the 1960s. This allows us to assume that tiramisu, as we know it now, is a recent invention.

The grandmothers tell us that they prepared this dessert with art and passion for family and friends, well before the 1950s. So, before the spread of electricity and the first refrigerators, they had this dessert, only in the province of Treviso and surrounding areas. In fact, due to the fresh ingredients, tiramisù did not have a long shelf life.

The history of this dessert teaches us to ennoble poor foods such as mascarpone (probably from the Lombard “mascherpa” which means ricotta, but it is not ricotta). Mascarpone is an acidified milk cream obtained from cream or milk cream. According to some historians, the origin of this cheese dates back to the medieval period. Its name derives from an expression used by a Spanish nobleman of the 1200s who said “Mas che bueno” (more than good).

World Tiramisu Day is on March 21st. The first day of spring and the day of dessert that recharges you for the new season like a tonic.

In Puglia an ancient traditional recipe, replaces the ladyfingers biscuits ( intended to rich families ) with bread since the roots of our cuisine, are in the farmers’ traditions made of simple foods. Contact us for a guided tour of the sites and the food of Puglia.

Food and wine

What’s a slow food restaurant?

One of the most common question when people read the kind of restaurants that I select for my tours, is: “what’s a slow food restaurant?”.

It’s a restaurant where they support and preserve traditional and regional cuisine.  It supports, promotes local small businesses/producers and sustainable foods. It also focuses on food quality, rather than quantity.

Carlo Petrini founded Slow Food in Italy in 1986. Today it’s a worldwide organization that promotes local food and traditional cooking. This is what you can read on their website:

“Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Our approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles. And so good ( quality, flavorsome and healthy food), clean ( production that does not harm the environment ) and fair ( accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers ).

Slow Food aims to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. It counteracts the rise of fast life and combats people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.

Slow Food believes food has a lot to do with many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result”.

“Eating is an agriculture act” says Wendell Berry ( American poet and novelist). In other words, you have political power in your everyday actions. When you decide what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to buy, you have real influence. 

So are you ready to change the world eating good food ? Book our tour today to support Slow Food restaurants and get a tasty food and wine experience in Puglia 🙂

Food and wine

Orecchiette, a symbol of Puglia around the world

Puglia’s “orecchiette” pasta, now known throughout the world, are a true symbol of the cuisine of this region. They look like small white and rough domes, with a thicker edge and a thinner centre: they really look like small ears! “Orecchio” means ear in English.

The origin of Apulian orecchiette is still uncertain today and there are many theories on how and where they were born. The oldest would date back to the ancient Romans and would see a type of round-shaped pasta with a sunken centre, as the ancestors of orecchiette. This pasta, which Varro also talks about, was prepared with flour, water and cheese.

The second hypothesis, however, would trace the typical Apulian pasta to a French, specifically Provençal, recipe. In fact, it may have been the Angevins who brought “crosets” to Puglia, a round-shaped pasta with a hollow center that was already consumed in the Middle Ages.

Finally, a third theory sees the orecchiette descending from a traditional Jewish dessert, the Ears of Haman. In fact, between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Jewish community was strongly present in the region and especially in Trani.

Then there is the tradition that sees the shape of the roof of the trulli as the inspiration of this typical pasta shape. What is certain is that today orecchiette are a symbol of Puglia in the world and there can be no holiday in Puglia without a dish of it.

I offer my guests the opportunity to learn how to make the orecchiette in a cooking class run by a housewife still carry on the tradition of homemade pasta. Besides we can taste them in restaurants offering them in classic versions or in tasty innovative recipes. Check out our week tour of Puglia for more details.

Food and wine

Pasta with “ragù” is the typical Sunday dish

Pasta with ragù is the typical Sunday dish in Puglia. During the colder months, it’s even possible to smell the irresistible smell, walking on a Sunday morning through the alleys of the Apulian cities. Originally it was the main Sunday dish as the sauce was used to season the pasta and the meat consumed as a second course.

From an early age we are used to spending Sundays with the family. As a child, I remember it as a special day since at the end of a long work or school week, it brought the whole family to grandmother’s house around a long lunch table. Every one had the habit of bringing something, be it a bottle of wine, cheese or some pastries. But the main course was the one that grandmother cooked, the famous pasta dish with meat sauce. She, with joy in her heart at seeing the whole family reunited, woke up early in the morning to prepare a tasty lunch.

The preparation is simple and the result is really tasty and inviting, even if the cooking is quite long. We start with braciole: meat rolls stuffed with parsley, garlic and parmesan. Pan sear the braciole in olive oil over high heat briefly, just enough to brown the outside of the roll. You may skip this step, but it definitely adds flavor to the dish. Then, into the sauce the meat goes! This is the part that takes a good amount of time but it is worth the wait. It’s better if you use the typical homemade preserve, which becomes so tasty that it can be used to season pasta: orecchiette are almost always the chosen ones.

Pasta with ragù is the typical Sunday dish in the North as in the South of Italy. As “ragù” the most famous is Bolognese ragù, a classic recipe from the Emilian tradition. Anyway here in the South when we say ragù we mean the Neapolitan ragù, made with whole meat and not minced meat.

Do you want a taste of typical food of Puglia, combined with a guided tour ? Have a look at our food tour itineraries, price, and description.

Food and wine

A complete guide to typical food of Puglia

To truly understand the culture of a destination you must taste the local flavors. Puglia has one of Italy’s most desired cuisines and you can learn what you need to try on your visit.  Are you curious to know what to taste ? Here it is a list of typical food of Puglia you can’t miss.

BURRATA. It is probably the most appreciated Apulian cheese in the world. A bag of mozzarella dough jealously encloses the stracciatella inside, a mixture of cream and shredded mozzarella.

ALTAMURA BREAD. A sourdough bread that stays fresh for one week made of semolina and varieties of durum wheat grown locally. Since 2013 it has been a DOP product.

MEAT BOMBS. Apulian street food “bombette” are small pork rolls filled with cheese, salt and pepper.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. The varieties of olives present in Puglia have an incomparable quality for the production of extra virgin oil. The most well known are the Ogliarola, Coratina and Peranzana.

ORECCHIETTE. Apulian pasta differs from other regions’ both in size and, often, in raw material. “Orecchiette” are very particular and the original ones are found only in this region. Furthermore the burnt wheat ones are a made with peculiar “burnt” grain used to make dough tasty and characteristic.

PANZEROTTO. It is a shell of fried dough, which following skilful processing takes the shape of a crescent. The classic filling includes tomato and mozzarella, but there are many tasty variations. Made of strictly local ingredients, it has become an ambassador of Apulian flavors in the world: wheat, mozzarella, olive oil and tomato.

In addition, there are delicious fine wines in this region. So are you ready to taste the typical food of Puglia ? Have a look at our food tour itinerary for further information.