Puglia: Where to Eat in Italy's Most Overlooked Food Destination
TravelPuglia: Where to Eat in Italy's Most Overlooked Food Destination
Mozzarella for breakfast, sunbathing for lunch.
Thereâs a French-Italian film by Marco Ferreri called La Grand Bouffe about a group of friends that decide to eat themselves to death. While the point of the movie is to satire consumerism, you understand how such a thing is possible after spending a week in Pugliaâ"the region of southern Italy tucked away in the heel of âthe bootâ known in Italian as Apulia. The force of Puglia cuisine is stronger than your willpower, and after your third round of burrataâ"burrataâs from here, by the wayâ"a gluttonous demise starts to seem like a fair trade for the glorious feasting experience. Eating y ourself to death takes a while, and luckily for you, Puglia has plenty to do before you take your last bite. This southeastern tip of the country has gorgeous beaches for languid seaside digesting; towns that belong in paintings, not just your Instagram feed; culture to distract yourself between meals; wine, wine, and more wine to drink before, during, and after those meals.
The best part about Puglia? The absence of crowds. Despite being a long-established agricultural powerhouse, Puglia has only recently emerged as a desirable tourism destination in the last fifteen years after suffering a long period of under-appreciation. âThe dark age of Puglia started with the unification of Italy, for sure,â says Vito Palumbo, a native of Pugliaâs capital, Bari, and the brand manager for Tormaresca, a wine producer bringing international recognition to the region. âNow Puglia is the most vibrant part of Southern Italy. Itâs an area moving much faster than Calabria or Sicily.â Case in point: Richard Branson has decided to launch Virgin Galactic business in Puglia. Boeing has a facility in Puglia. Helen Mirren owns a home in Puglia.
Before you go, know not to pronounce the âgâ in Puglia. Itâs POOL-ia. Also before you go, youâll want to rent a car to get around the heel of the boot. Uberâs not a thing down here, and while there are busses and trains, having your own wheels will make life much easier. Know that the demand for rental cars exceeds the supply of rental cars. To avoid having a meltdown at the airport rental car counter, book your Fiat ahead of time.
The drivingâs easy after you get used to a few cultural differences on the road. Italians are going to ride your tail hard and they are not going to use turn signals. Be prepared for melodic Italian road rage that includes thorough hand gesturing. Before you start your engine, download a Puglia holiday playlist stacked with Italian jammers, includ ing Franco Battio tracks (try âE ti Vengo A Cercareâ). Lastly, leave your Tevas at home. Italians are impeccably groomed and well-dressed, from their tailored shirts to their spotless loafers. They prove that it doesnât matter what you look likeâ"you can still look hot if you put some effort into your style. Bring your loafers.
Where to stay and what to eat
Puglia isnât huge, so donât be overwhelmed trying to narrow down a perfect home base. Most of the places youâll want to see are day trippable if you rent a car. As far as accommodations go, the move here is to stay in a masseriaâ"essentially a gated farmhouse. âIn Puglia, there very few hotels. Itâs all masserias,â says Palumbo. A masseria stay will give you the illusion of staying at your Italian familyâs home, even if you donât have an Italian family. A solid pick is Masseria Eccellenza, which lives up to its name thanks to its magical breakfast spread (mozzarella in the morning!) and twink ling pool. From the front yard, you can catch glimpses of the sea peeking out from the gaps in olive tree foliage. Eccellenzaâs Fasano location plants you in-between Monopoli and Ostuni, two of Pugliaâs must-visit towns with must-dine-at restaurants like Osteria del Tempo Perso. Youâre also near a host of beach clubs that allow for low-effort ocean access. These clubs (like Lido BambÃ¹) offer beach chairs and towels plus bars, restaurants, bathrooms, and changing rooms. All you have to do is show up with your swimsuit and wallet. A more frugal option is to hit up a public beachâ"these lacks some of the amenities, but still pack all of the beautiful punch.
If youâre looking to stay in town, let Lecce be that town. It doesnât take long to fall in love with Pugliaâs âCity of 100 Churches.â Itâs romantic and easy to navigate, and around every corner is an ornate Baroque wonder that deserves its own operaâ"like the unusually enclosed Piazza del Duomo. Keep your neck craned upward as you walk around the gleaming cityâ"many of the stunning Baroque architectural wonders the city is known for are on display above eye level. In the afternoon, though, you may wonder if Lecce is a ghost town. From 12-4 P.M., the townâs residents are in hiding from the brutal sun, leaving you in the beautiful streets alone. âItâs called Controra,â says Palumbo. âItâs like a magic vibe in the city. The light in the city is so bright on the stones â" you walk around and itâs so dreamy.â Lecce is in its full glory at night. The city comes alive. Explore to get your appetite up; youâre going to need it.
Italians donât waste time on bad food, and neither should you, particularly when youâre in Puglia. âThe food in Italy is a religion. We respect it as much as the pope,â says Stefano Spagnolo who owns Salento Wine Shop and Salento Wine Tour. âHospitality is sacred.â Whether youâre starting or ending your night with cocktails, youâ ll want to stop into Saloon Keeper, Quanto Basta, and Prohibition, three bars that could hold their own in any city on earth. For low key drinks, snacks, and people watching, thereâs Viveur down Via Umberto. Eat pizza at La CittÃ di Pulcinella or La Succursale. Cure your hangover with a pasticciotto and caffÃ¨ Leccese at Caffe Alvino.
Other destinations of note include Gallipoli for partying, and Borgo Egnazia for a resort worthy of Justin Timberlakeâs wedding (yes, really). Locus Festival for good music in cool venues throughout the summer. Masseria Montenapoleone for staying forever. There are too many great beaches to list where you can swim in the mesmerizingly clear Adriatic Sea and work on a tan that will never measure up to an Italianâs. Puglia is not uptight, and your Puglia plans should mirror that. Leave ample room in your schedule for new discoveries, lingering lunches, and wine drinking. The most important wines for the region feature the grape varietals N egroamaro and Primitivo. Drink accordingly and get your hands on a bottle Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato. Try not to eat yourself to death, but if you do, we get it.Source: Google News Italy | Netizen 24 Italy