The region of Puglia can be neatly split into three zones; the flat north plain and Gargano, the heel known as Salento, and the iconic central zones of Bari and Brindisi.
June in central Puglia means bright colours and rich cherry harvests, especially in the cities of Bisceglie and Turi in the province of Bari. Turi is in the heart of Primitivo DOC wine country, but also knows a thing or two about cherries, not least the 'Ciliegia Ferrovia' or 'Railway Cherry', a strange name for the most cultivated cherry type in Italy.
Certainly large, the name actually originates from around 1935 when the strain was developed from the nut or seed of a tree growing near the railway lines heading south east towards Sammichele di Bari. Hence the name 'Ferrovìa' given by the local people. Carefully looked after the fruit of the original tree became popular with both consumers and cultivators and spread its roots first towards Conversano and Turi.
Turi still remains one of the most important zones for cherry production in Italy, mainly due to the fact that the 'Ferrovia' keeps its freshness for at least a week and is easily exported. The 'Sagra della Ciliegia Ferrovia' in June is held in its honour.
When I was a child we lived in San Vito De Normanni. While there, we ate a local item called (from what I remember) a "Fratelli" or "Fertelli" or something along these lines. It was similar to a calzone but I thinked it might have been fried or the bread was different. It was definitely not a calzone! I have been looking for the recipe now for about five years and have had no luck so far. If you have possibly heard of this please let me know how I can make it. I still dream about them. They are the tastiest meal I have ever had. Thanks so much for your time. T.J.
1 garlic clove, extra virgin olive oil, 1 tin tomatoes, salt, potatoes, handful of flour, chopped fresh basil.
Pane di Altamura Dop is a traditional Apulian bread product from the zone of the Murgia Altamura in the province of Bari. To get an idea as to how long and how much this bread has been part of the Puglia local food culture, the Latin poet Orazio in the 37 BC was hailing it the best bread he had ever eaten.
In an area of Italy more often associated with fish and the sea for the casual visitor, the cultivation of olives is one of Puglia's greatest resources and economic certainties. To the extent that it can claim to be an emblem for the area and indeed most of Italy's mass consumed olive oil originates from the region.
It all started in the 18th century when a young Charles Bourbon proposed a reduction in taxes to the larger landowners in return for their help in cultivating olives. Today, 50 million olive trees exist from those initial saplings. There are around 240,000 farms operating in the sector.
A fabulous seafood recipe from Monopoli which is typical of the culinary tradition of the Puglia coast.
cavatelli fresh pasta, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, cuttlefish cut in strips, clams, mussels and shrimps.
The menu below was sent to us by Rodolfo del Frassino, the owner of trullo Monte Zuzzu. Rodolfo is a professional chef with over 20 years' experience and on request, he will provide you with some typically delicious dishes from the local Apulian cuisine. It features the best seasonal products and a selection of seafood, meat and vegetable dishes to choose from.
Start off with an antipasti, made up of four of the following typical dishes. Desset might be fruit almond cakes. To end a rosolio, a sweet liqueur made from herbs or fruit hand-made by local experts. Our choices are in bold.
Fans of the baroque should beat a path to Lecce, the capital of the territory known as Salento at the most south eastern of Italy's boot or heel.
Inside the 16th century walls of the old city the Piazza del Duomo is the place to discover the so called 'Barocco Leccese' and, according to the tourism authorities, the most dramatic point of contact between faith and art.
The cathedral dates from Norman times but the present building took its form around 1670. It really dominates the square and positively invites the visitor to enter its doors with its enticing promise of unknown riches inside.
The power of the church is symbolized in the pulpit made from Lecce stone and carved with scenes from the Apocalypse.
At the heart of the city is Piazza S.Oronzo. This ancient square dates from medieval times and was for a thousand years covered a Roman ampitheater.
It was only unearthed in 1901 when the foundations for the Banca d'Italia were being laid.
If you are visiting Lecce, the top ten places to see of historical and urban interest are the following, in no special order of preference: