Speciali della Puglia
We are delighted to bring you specialties from the southern Italian region of Puglia, the “heel” of the Italian boot. Its cuisine has remained relatively rustic and uncomplicated since ancient times. Puglia is renowned for its locally grown, fresh ingredients, especially tomatoes and wheat.
Puglia (Apulia in English) is the heel of Italy’s boot. Unlike its northern neighbors, which are mountainous, this region consists of mostly flat, fertile plains and soft hills, making it ideal for cultivating produce—especially wheat—and raising sheep. The cuisine of this region is simple, without complicated methods, relying on the large variety of its fresh local produce which includes artichokes, chili peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and fava beans. These are often cooked with homemade pasta, added to sheep or mutton ragù, or tossed with one of the many varieties of sheep cheeses. On its fertile plains, Puglia grows vast quantities of tomatoes, and is the number one supplier of sundried tomatoes in Italy. With its endless acres of wheat fields, Puglia is also often called the breadbasket of Italy, the most notable bread being the large rounds from Altamura. The ‘Pane di Altamura’ is a crusty sour dough bread made with durum wheat. One of its characteristics is that it keeps its freshness and flavor for up to a week. As far back as 37 AD, the Roman poet Horace called it the most delicious bread in the world. In 2003, like Neapolitan pizza and Parma prosciutto, it was granted “Protected Designation of Origin” status, granted to certain regional specialties to protect their unique production methods. Puglia also provides nearly half of all Italy’s olive oil, with some ancient groves still producing after 3000 years. It is estimated there are over 60 million olive trees in the region—that’s almost one for every person in Italy!