Puglia Italy is a great value travel destination, perfect for those who want an authentic experience, but it’s also a spot where foodies will be overjoyed with the array of tasty options. One post can’t really begin to describe all the wonderful food you can savor here, but at least this will give you an overview of some of the regional specialties to seek out during your travels.
This is the pasta of the region. Orecchiette, which means little ears in Italian, is aptly named for its unique shape. It’s on every menu and family dining table throughout Puglia, but especially in Bari where you can find little old ladies making and selling it all day long. It’s most famous use is in orecchiette con cima di rape, a traditional pasta dish from Puglia.
- Want to try making orecchiette con cima di rape? Click here for the recipe.
What can I possibly say about this creamy, mouthwatering cheese? I could better describe it by the moaning sounds I make while eating it. If I were ever to marry a food item (hey, don’t judge me!), it would be burrata. It’s a cow’s milk cheese, made with mozzarella and cream, so it’s softer and wetter than fresh mozzarella. And as soon as you make that first cut into the pouch, it releases it’s creamy insides all over your plate. Eat it fresh, at room temperature for the best taste.
There are many different types of focaccia in Italy, but Bari’s version is loaded with tomatoes. Crispy crust with tasty, flavorful sun-ripened tomatoes and drizzled with lots of olive oil. Seek it out, it’s a must have.
Like a smaller version of a calzone, these half-moon pastry pockets are filled with savory ingredients and baked to perfection, The most common filling is tomato and mozzarella cheese.
Tiella con cozze
Think Paella. It’s similar. It’s a recipe made with mussles, potatoes, rice, onion, olive oil and tomatoes. A complete meal in a ceramic dish.
- Drooling over Puglia’s culinary delights yet? Click here to find out how I can create your custom foodie adventure.
Olives and Olive Oil
With 50 million olive trees, Puglia boasts not only the most in Italy, but some of the oldest. So it stands to reason that the region also produces the most olive oil. The oil is used as a base in almost all dishes and offers a fruity, buttery flavor, milder than some of its counterparts. Olive varieties include, Corantina, Frantoio, Oliarola Barese and Leccino.
A type of biscuit that is traditionally served with wine (think dunking like a donut) that is first boiled and then baked, resulting in a cracker both light and slightly crunchy. They can be bite-sized or larger. The dough is infused with ingredients like cheese, black pepper, fennel, sun dried tomato or onion. They are truly addictive, but it’s fun tasting them all to find your favorite combination.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Puglia is a hot bed of agriculture, since much of the region’s earth is flat and fertile. Sea breezes and strong sunshine make perfect growing conditions for many fruits and vegetables. Artichokes, clementines and olives were ever present during my November visit, but tomatoes, grapes, figs and turnips are also found. Other crops grown include durum wheat and almonds.
Pane di Altamura
A well-known artisan bread from Altamura, a town in Puglia, is made with local durum wheat, yeast, water and salt. It’s got a crispy, dry crust, which is achieved by leaving the oven open for the last minutes of baking. Loaves are huge – weighing between 2 – 10 pounds and is known to last over two weeks!
If you like fresh seafood, Puglia won’t disappoint! Most of the region is surrounded by coastline, so the seafood is as fresh as it gets. You can find mussels, shrimp, clams, swordfish and more. Be adventurous and try something unique like sea urchin or octopus.
Hungry for recommendations to savor these foods in Puglia? Click here to see how I can help!