The exquisite food of Apulia is the essence of our Mediterranean Cuisine. Sun, sea, rich soil and multiple cultures blend into the intense flavours and aromas of this region’s unique products. Apulian cuisine and food are tasty, simple and healthy.
In the charming region of Apulia you may find the finest Olive Oils in the world.
Thanks to an ideal climate and a strong tradition of olive cultivation, the olive groves that stretch endlessly along the coasts are responsible for a big portion of Italy’s olive oil production. Apulians have always carefully cultivated the plant and extracted the olive juice. Apulian olive oils range from mild, light, and sweet to fruity-spicy, aggressive, and rustic, depending mostly on the cultivars used. Also, Apulia is known and famous in Europe as the Land of Wine (no doubt, among the best in the world). In recent years, Apulian wines have jumped in quality and gained international recognition, with Cacc’e Mitte, Salice Salentino and Primitivo di Manduria.
The typical flavours of Apulian dishes come from vegetables: Olives, Eggplants, Onion, Garlic, Hot Red Pepper, Sweet Pepper. Apulians are fond of bitter greens including Broccoli Rabe, Arugula and Turnip Greens. An unusual treat in Apulia is Lampasciuoli, grape hyacinth bulbs looking like shallots that taste onion. Other specialties include Braciole (rolls) of veal or horsemeat. Fresh cheese include delicious Mozzarella made from either fresh sheep or buffalo milk. Among other local cheeses there is Burrata (a fresh cheese with sweet cream inside), Ricotta and Cacioricotta (a hard, aged ricotta that is often grated over pasta). Much of Pasta starts life in our wheat fields. Apulians have always been attached to wheat. Many families eat homemade pasta once or even twice a day, often in the form of Orecchiette (little ears) round, concave disks of Pasta. Orecchiette are often tossed with broccoli rabe or meaty tomato sauce. Variations in size merit different names: Chianchiarelle are small orecchiette and Pociacche describe the larger-than-usual size. Strascinate are squares of pasta dough that are rubbed over a ribbed board to give one size a ridged texture. Another favourite is Troccoli, square spaghetti related to Spaghetti alla Chitarra, but made with a special rolling pin with circular blades. Puglia is a land rich in genuine and very healthy traditions and their observance is a moral and cultural habit which continues nowadays from generations to generations. Let’s think of Bread! Many types of bread can be found in bakeries among which the typical bread, made with hard wheat flour. Pizza and focacce, a type of deep base pizza, among which there is the delicious calzone, a pie made of two sheets of thin oil based pasta stuffed with a mix of cooked onions, black olives and wild celery. We can also find taralli, the most common are made with flour, oil and white wine; sometimes they’re flavoured with fennel seeds. Other typical products are small and sweet tomatoes (pomodorini), preserved without any type of treatment. They can also be dried up and preserved in olive oil. Preserving raw eggplant and peppers in olive oil is a very old Apulian tradition. Fava bean puree with chicory is made with nothing more than cooked and pureed fava beans, flavoured with that dense, fruity olive oil of the region and served with boiled chicory. The coasts of Puglia produce most of our Italian fish, with typical dishes including oysters roasted with oil, lemon, garlic and marjoram. Mussel and potato soup are other specialties, though much of seafood is eaten raw with prawns, sardines and cuttlefish as big ingredients.
Pettole: bread dough fritters given by Baby Jesus to the poor.
Friselle: dried bread rings made of roughly ground wheat. They taste delicious after dipping them in water to soften them. They are topped with fresh tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and are an easy, no-cook alternative to Pizza.
Roast Eel or Capitone Arrosto: this is a classic Christmas Eve dish.
Cartellate: these are classic Christmas time pastries. They are ribbons of pastry twisted into circles and covered with either honey or mulled wine.
Orecchiette with Olive and Tomato Sauce. Orecchiette are one of the classic pasta shapes from Puglia. The name, Orecchiette, means little ears as they resemble the human ears in shape. They are especially renewed as being a delicious accompaniment for broccoli rabe.
Orecchiette with Ragù: this is the only long-cooked sauce made in Puglia.