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Jun 15th, 2011, 04:03 AM
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Last dinner in Puglia:


This is the only repeat visit that we made; more details of the restaurant can be found in my first Puglia report, from late 2010:

Parco di Castro, a SlowFood masseria/restaurant, sits amidst olive groves at the end of an unpaved lane leading west from SS16 at km 868.4.

The masseria offers a quintessential Pugliese eating experience. Food is locally sourced, ample, and hearty. Service is warm and welcoming; in contrast to most other places we ate on this trip, some English is spoken.

We opted to begin, yet again, with the house antipasti for two which was priced at a fairly steep (for the area) 20 euro per person. While we waited for the promenade of food, we were given a dish of fried fave.

Among the antipasti:

Fresh mozzarella and fresh ricotta from Caseificio Crovace, the cheese maker in nearby Speziale.

Thin-sliced, uncooked, pancetta

Fave e ciccoria, the Pugliese staple; quite good here

Foccacia with tomato, a Barese specialty

Artichoke "under oil," or preserved in oil

Red peppers under oil and topped with toasted bread crumbs; amazing, sweet peppers. I felt that this, and some of the other dishes, was served too cold.

Half-moons of zucchini tossed with oil and mint

Timbale di zucchini baked with cheese.Excellent.

Pizzette with tomato

Salad of grano saraceno, or buckwheat, with diced tomato. This puzzles me, as it did not look like the buckwheat sold in the US, yet the Italian term translates as such. Absolutely wonderful.

A plate of sliced cucumber arrived, as intermezzo, in the Pugliese fashion.

Again we chose "primi per secondi," and were served:

Capalacci ripiene di Melanzane, salsa di pomodoro, or pasta stuffed with eggplant in a tomato sauce. Very good.

Also very good: My spinach cicatelli with cardoncelli mushrooms, tomato, and arugula.

We passed on dessert, being too stuffed, but were offered a complimentary plate of the most exquisite almond cantucci from a bakery in nearby Montalbano, along with three digiestivi: wine/sherry; alloro, or bay; and an outstanding limoncello.

With house red, and water, the bill for two was 59 euro.

If you are looking for well-prepared, home-cooked local food in a casual setting, I recommend this masseria/restaurant, which also offers guest rooms and would make a very well-located spot from which to explore the area.

The restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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thanks much!
kawh is offline  
Feb 10th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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so excited to find this!

cant wait to read through this this weekend!
dina4 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 02:11 PM
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Fabulous report -- we're beginning to think about a trip here in the Fall. Must go look for your report from the fall trip u mentioned.
yestravel is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Adding a NYTimes article on wines of Puglia:

ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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ekscrunchy- you are a miracle. I have just started planning our trip to Puglia this coming June (I love the planning almost as much as the trip, especially when I read reports like yours). Most travel books talk about paintings, sculpture etc. but my favorite art forms are architecture and...food. (luckily I live in Sonoma in the S.F. bay area), and I especially appreciate your list of dishes including the total price. thanks.
And now I am seeking advice: If we fly into Bari and rent a car, tour Puglia and go north up the E55, and cut across to Naples on the A16 (my husband wants to see underground Naples which we missed last time), is that a harrowing or boring drive. One of us hates curves and the other is afraid of sheer dropoffs on roads. Any advice on what to include on the way, in addition to the sites you mention? And for just the Bari/Puglia itinerary you spelled out, how many days would be ideal (I know, a lifetime), but we have 3 weeks for southern Italy and are open to advice from you and the other wonderful fodorites.
humanone is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:38 PM
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We drove from Bari towards Naples recently. Easy highway drive. Some pretty countryside to look at, some boring. Its only a few hour trip Get good directions for when you get on and off the highway.
tengohambre is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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We just returned from Puglia. We picked up our rental car at the airport in Naples and drove A16 and a14 to Masseria Barbera It was not a long drive and not particularly interesting, but easy. It took about two hours. I don't remember any curvy roads and definitely no sheer drop offs.

We also had three weeks and found that to be a nice amount of time. We did spend four days in Naples and three in Matera which is a definite don't miss. We used Nadia as a guide one morning, Having read both of ekscrunchy's TR we enjoyed many of the towns she mentions. Our best meal was at Antichi Sapori. It was fabulous, don't miss a meal there.

We stayed in Galatina for five days and used our apt there as a base to explore the Salento. Lecce was about 20 minutes drive south of Galatina. enjoy your planning and your trip.
yestravel is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 08:25 PM
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Oops, Galatina is South of Lecce.
yestravel is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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Humanone: Thanks for your kind words. I will defer to the two posters above, who have taken the drive to the Naples area, as I have not done this.

But I would also suggest that, since you have ample time, you might like to investigate meandering from the Bari area to Matera and then on the the Pollino Park (maybe tucking into the Cilento region of Campania for a night or two) and then heading for Naples. Basilicata is a region unheralded by most tourists and one that merits devoting a few days between Puglia and Naples, if you can work it in.

(If you stick to the E55/A16 plan, let me ask you if you are interested in wine, because if so, you might want to consider visiting either the region around Melfi and Mt Vulture, famous for Aglianico, or the area around Avellino, renowned for some of Campania's best white wines.)


We just returned from our third trip to Puglia. This time (September, 2012), we flew into Bari and drove immediately to Marconia, in Basilicata, where we spent two nights in a grape and orange-growing estate, the agriturismo of San Teodoro Nuovo.


From there, we visited the town of Bernalda, a food mecca that I fell for immediately and to which I have to return. Food highlight: Dinner at La Locandiera, in Bernalda.

The main focus of our stay was to track down my beloved Senise peppers and I am glad to report that our mission was successful. We spent several hours at the farm of Sr. Giuseppe Pennella, just outside Senise, and we departed with armfuls of peppers in several forms.

From Basilicata, we drove through Taranto, stopped in Gallipoli, and arrived at our next destination for a three night stay: Masseria Don Cirillo, between Ugento and the Ionian coast at Torre San Giovanni. (I wrote a review on TripAdvisor)


From here, we visited the Ionian beaches, a few gorgeous, sun-baked Salentine towns, and the lower Adriatic Coast. A food highlight was dinner in Taviano, at A Casa Tu Martinu.

Finally, we returned to which my favorite Italian hotel, the splurge-worthy Torre Maizza, in Savelletri di Fasano.

I will try to put together a brief report about this trip when I get time.

Meanwhile, I will link the report from my first Pugliese adventure, in 2010:

ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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As we are from the Sonoma/Napa area we go wine tasting frequently, and prefer red wines. So,any suggestions for wine tasting, especially in charming local venues. thanks.
humanone is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 12:08 PM
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PSGMARTINO is offline  
Apr 1st, 2013, 05:33 AM
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NYTimes on Puglia in the off -season (winter/fall)

ekscrunchy is offline  
Apr 1st, 2013, 06:43 AM
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We were there last fall. OUr original plan had been a winter trip and after reading this article I'm glad we chose the fall. Hard to imagine larger portions of food! Every meal we ate in Puglia was huge and I left the table feeling stuffed.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 1st, 2013, 07:07 AM
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bilboburgler is online now  
Apr 28th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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This report confirms my desire to plan a trip to Puglia.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 04:47 AM
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Caroll I will be more than happy to discuss. Will also try to sketch out a report on our most recent trip, last September. Highly recommend a peek into Basilicata...
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 18th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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topping/ re bookmarking as we are actively looking into an October 2014 trip.
tedgale is offline  
Oct 10th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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ttt: We are heading off in 5 days, so I want to keep this at the top of my list, to refer to while travelling.
tedgale is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 02:16 AM
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oh dear, sandralist says that we MUST go to the Dolomites, and ek is making the south seem so enticing.

What is a time-strapped traveller to do?
annhig is offline  

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