Put simply, Puglia remains one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.   In the last few years this has been changing and finally we have the chance to sample and explore the delights this wonderful region has to offer on our  inclusive Italian cooking holiday and culinary tour.   Puglia, ancient Apulia, is a land of sun, sea, vines, and olive groves, and has a wealth of natural, historical and cultural heritage that makes it one of the most exciting areas of Italy.  Like most visitors before you, once discovered you will fall in love with the people, the food and wine, the beaches, the whitewashed “Trulli” towns and the rolling countryside with its olive/orange/lemon groves and vineyards.

Puglia is right there at the heart of it all yet is still unspoiled by the ravages of mass tourism.  It is a place where the local shopkeepers still sell local produce, and the villagers still smile as they greet you.   With over 300 days sunshine each year it has a slower but endearing pace of life with the siesta as part of the daily routine. After a long lazy lunch and a glass of “Primitivo”, the silence falls until late afternoon when the cobbled streets come to life and there is a hubbub in even the smallest village as people take their evening “passegiata” – an essential part of their life.   A holiday in Puglia truly is an experience not to be missed.

Food and local cuisine

Fisherman’s catch

Puglia’s microclimate produces some of Italy’s tastiest food, for years appreciated only by the locals, but now a hot destination for gourmet travellers.  Surrounded on both sides by the sea, it is not surprising that fish is a local staple and part of our Puglia cooking programme.

 

 

Puglia produces much of Europe’s pasta, presses most of Italy’s olive oil, catches the bulk of the country’s fish and is the sixth biggest wine-making region in the world.  Specialities of the region are orecchiette, the small ear-shaped pasta that holds sauce so well, braciole al sugo (stuffed veal parcels in a fresh tomato sauce), puree di fave (broad bean puree) and cheese lovers will be in their element with the selection of fresh mouth watering ricotta and mozzarella, burrata (Puglia’s famous cheese with a creamy interior) provolone and Cacioricotta.  There is bruschetta with tomatoes and oil, salami and prosciutto and other ingredients including chickpeas, capers, green peppers, artichokes, aubergines and basil.  Fresh fish is in abundance and you will see a selection of oyster, mussels, octopus and even sea urchin dishes on  most menus.  Pugliese people love to share their wonderful cuisine and most local restaurants serve a range of antipastas giving you the opportunity to sample all these delicious dishes.

 

Fishermans Cove

Wine

Puglia is fast gaining a reputation for its characteristic rich red ‘Primitovo’ wine, the most widely drunk of the local wines which can be sampled at wineries all over the region.  During your holiday in Puglia wine lovers will discover some of best of these quality branded wines with visits to the  vineyards in the enchanting hilltowns of Locorotondo and Martina Franca as part of your cooking holiday and culinary tour  itinerary.  Puglia produces more wine than any other Italian region (competes with Sicily for first place as grape producer) and counts 25 DOC wines amongst its repertoire – needless to say the quality of the local produce is reflected in the delicious recipes available on our Puglia Cooking programme.

Local towns

Alberobello

Puglia has a wealth of history, Graeco-Roman towns and ports, rock churches with Byzantine frescoes, Norman cathedrals and castles but Puglia’s unique feature and most striking tourist attraction is the ‘Trullo‘, a simple dry-stone walled building with a domed roof topped by a cone resembling an inverted funnel. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a vista of conical dwellings topped by their curious pinnacles and mystical symbols, creating an almost surreal fairytale landscape.

You will find these amazing dwellings dotted around the green IItria Valley but especially in the town of Alberobello aptly named the capital of the trulli because of its clusters of over 1000 white-washed ‘Trulli’ lining the streets like house sized mushrooms erupting from the pavements.  Alberobello has been named a  UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 to preserve these unique and amazing buildings.

Polignano al Mare

A holiday in Puglia would not be complete without a visit to Martina Franca, an enchanting elegant town famous for their baroque buildings and 17th century beauty.  This wonderful historic town is included on our Puglia cooking and culinary tour as well as Locorotondo, a hill top town of remarkable circular design and Polignano al Mare, famed not just because of its spectacular houses built right on the cliffs but because it is the birth place of Italian ice-cream (gelato).

To book or find out more about our inclusive Italian cooking holiday and culinary tour please contact us.

www.explore-puglia.com/itinerary