The fig fruit, the caciocavallo, the capocollo, the hanging tomato and orecchiette
Puglia is one of the Italian territories that stands out not only for its gastronomy but also for the important food heritage due to the biodiversity of horticultural species. That is to say: There is something to suit everybody's fancy!
Just think of some of the Slowfood presidium in the region to have your mouth watering.
Let’s start from a tree that enchants all visitors, that of the fig tree. By its fruit a real delicacy is produced: The Fico Mandorlato (In San Michele Salentino you will find the Slowfood presidium), which combines the flavour of the still green figs dried in the sun to that of toasted almonds, and with its bitter contrasts with the sweetness of the fig tree it makes you appreciate more the flavour.
Also as part of the sweet presidium, it is also famous the Ceglie Biscuit. U 'Piscquett'l is a sweet paste of toasted almonds, in the shape of an irregular cube, filled with jam of cherries or grapes and flavoured with mild citrus fragrances. These cookies remember a long farming tradition: they were prepared in the homes of Ceglie in conjunction of important festivals and weddings and were part of the "favours".
Get away from the sweet flavours for a short but intense journey through the savoury delicacies.
We begin to imagine a herd of Podoliche cows grazing on Gargano that inspire a sacred tranquillity immersed in the woods and Mediterranean bush. Extraordinary cheeses are obtained from their milk. First of all the Gargano Podolian Caciocavallo, another Slowfood presidium. The most delicate operation of the production is shaping the cheese until it reaches the form of a bellied flask with a head.
It is almost a requirement to match it another excellent Slowfood presidium: Capocollo of Martina Franca. It 'a cold cut whose distinctive flavour comes from the marinade in' cooked wine '('Martina' or 'Locorotondo' dry white wine, with the addition of cooked and concentrated Verdesca must and Bianco d'Alessano) and flavoured with typical herbs of Murgia dei trulli area. Smoking is obtained by burning natural bark ‘fragno’ (the Macedonian oak), almond skins and aromatic Mediterranean plants.
Finally, you have to taste the king of the Apulian table: the tomato. Among the best food delights, you will find the Tomato Queen of Torre Canne, another Slowfood presidium, so named for its pedicle, that growing it takes the form of a chaplet. These tomatoes are usually left to dry on until early September and then, they are tied for the stalk of cotton yarn, hang from the vaults of the farms and are kept until the end of next April. Once the possession of many ramasole (the hanging tomato) was an expression of social prestige and family wealth: it was a coveted talent of the girls of marriageable age.
Where you can taste all this? In the Apulian trattorias, in wine bars along the old town alleys, in the countryside farms and especially during the summer festivals.
Among the many events, we announce an interesting one that features the undisputed star of the Apulian cuisine: the orecchietta! On 17 and 18 August in Grottaglie (TA), the city of ceramics, will host the sixth edition of "Orecchiette nelle 'nchiosce". In the narrow streets of the old town, 12 chefs interpret the Apulian recipes between tradition and experimentation. Wine, music and folklore will surround so many delicious dishes.
What can I say ... Bon appetit in Puglia!
(Foto Carlos Solito)