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Enjoying the Cuisine of Piquant Puglia

April 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

The distinct flavours of Puglia are the product of several of the region's features: Italy's longest coastline, wide stretches of farmland, and a history of agricultural communities having to make a little go a long way. The confluence of these circumstances has resulted in a rustic cuisine that brings warmth, homeliness and a simple elegance to locals and visitors alike. From the pastas and breads to the game and seafood dishes, these are foods that will ensure the region a fond place in your memory, whatever your itinerary and accommodation. Puglia is rightly proud of its cuisine, so you can expect dishes prepared with sincerity and care - here are some suggestions for what to try, and where to try it.

Olives

Whether you stay in a villa or hotel, one feature of the landscape is sure to never be far from your accommodation - Puglia's olive groves. Some of these olives are used in either fresh or marinated form in many dishes, while the bulk of them are used to produce oil. Apulian olive oil, the region's most famous product (it produces around two thirds of the olive oil in Italy, and provides much of the rest of the country with it), forms the basis of Pugliese cuisine. The air and soil in which the olives are grown are said to lend the oil its subtle hints of pepper, lemon and wild rosemary, which in turn give a distinct flavour to the region's cooking.

Bread and Pasta

The other famous crop in this region is durum wheat - the hardy wheat used to produce pasta. But when it comes to producing great pasta, the ingredients are only considered half the secret. The other half is the method, and the best pasta you'll taste in this region is that which has been formed by hand. Look out for the area's favourite pasta, orecchiette - 'little ears'. Great care and pride also go into the production of bread, and the local bakers' signature loaves are the huge rounds called Pane di Monte St Angelo.

Seafood

No lover of seafood should leave without sampling the delights on offer here. Whether it's a seafood restaurant in one of the coastal towns, or fresh fish bought in the market to take home and prepare in your accommodation, Puglia offers some of the very best. Specialties to look out for include marinated octopus, baked muscles, Taranto oysters, and stuffed baked cuttlefish.

Cooking classes

After sampling the best of the region's restaurants, why not take home some techniques so you can recreate the flavours long after you've packed up and vacated your accommodation? Puglia has some excellent cooking class options, with several one-day courses available in Lecce, and a range of classes available to guests and non-guests alike at top hotels.

Helen Forbes is from Essential Italy, a company specialising in Italian holiday villas, apartments and hotels. If you're looking for the perfect Italian accommodation, Puglia is ideal. Our handpicked accommodation, Puglia and elsewhere, offers distinctive Italian qualities, great comfort and convenience.

Source: EzineArticles
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