The Cuisine of Puglia: Welcome to Foodie Heaven
Food and drink isn’t a part of life in Puglia. It is life. No region of Italy is more fiercely proud of its culinary heritage. From the rich bounties from the sea (often eaten raw, or crudo – “Italian sushi” the locals joke) to the stunning treatment of vegetables to the best bread and coffee in the country, every delicious mouthful comes with its own story.
For the uninitiated, Puglia’s cuisine can almost seem un-Italian. You’ll struggle to find a lasagne or ragu sauce on a menu. Down here, regional specialties are everything. Pasta is inevitably orecchiette (little ears) made fresh and traditionally served with a simple tomato and cheese sauce. Vegetables regularly replace meat at the heart of the secondo. It’s not that the Pugliese are vegetarians. It’s just that the vegetables – peppers, eggplant, chickpeas, wild greens – taste so good, there’s simply no need to add meat to the plate. The linking factor in everything is Puglia’s unparalleled olive oil, the gift from the countless, gnarled, ancient olive trees that punctuate the landscape. The snack of choice is taralli, crunchy wheat loops; perfect accompaniments to a glass of wine. Pugliese wine has rightfully seen its profile grow globally – powerful, flavoursome local varieties like Negromaro and Primitivo are now available in wine stores around the world.
Even the coffee here is different. There’s the Espressino, of course, a unique midway point between an Espresso and a Cappuccino, delivering the punch of the former and the smooth comfort of the latter. There’s also the Caffe in Ghiaccio, a shot of espresso served with ice and a splash of almond milk, perfect for hot summer days.
Whether you’re dining in one of our specially selected restaurants or grabbing a quick snack (we couldn’t recommend trying a puccia, a Salentino vegetable sandwich, highly enough) you’ll inevitably be blown away by the respect and care that goes into every bite.
The bottom line is that Puglia has some of the very best food in Italy. And by any criteria, that means some of the best food in the world.
Everyone in Puglia is a foodie. There’s a connection to the producer, whether it’s the farmer, the fisherman, the grocer or the winemaker, that translates directly to your plate and glass. Freshness isn’t a bonus. It’s essential.
This is food that’s delicious and nutritious. It just happens to be our favourite food region in all of Italy.