Vast swathes of Puglia were once dedicated to growing grain and wheat and it is not by chance that the breads, taralli biscuits and pastas from the region can be bought all over Italy. Unfortunately, production is not what it was but we have tracked down a small 'forno a legna' in the hamlet of Casalini near Cisternino, province of Bari on the edge of the Valle D'Itria, to give you an idea of what the independent visitor to Puglia looking for gastronomic experiences can find.
Traditional Puglia bread
The small concern is called 'Vignola' and the owners have spent 12 years refurbishing a disused local bakery back to its original state, complete with stone oven heated with olive wood. Although modern equipment is now used, the end product is 100% 'artigianale'.
The company produces such products as 'frise', 'friselle', 'taralli', 'biscotti' and 'fagottini'.
The great thing is that the original flavours of years ago have been kept thanks to the exclusive use of local flour, extra virgin olive oil from the hills of Brindisi and DOC white wine from the Valle d'Itria. Absolutely no preservatives or vegetable oils here. The bread is made from flour 'tipo 0', water, salt, natural yeast and beer yeast. Apparently it's perfect for 'bruschette'.
See also the Altamura bread