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Trulli Foodie Puglia-two weeks to eat through!!!

Trulli Foodie Puglia-two weeks to eat through!!!

May 21st, 2012, 02:23 PM
  #21  
 
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ttt 4 later
annhig is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 03:48 PM
  #22  
 
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So enjoying your report, particularly as we're off to Puglia in a few weeks! Looking forward to more and glad to here Monopoli was attractive, we'll be staying nearby for three days.
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May 21st, 2012, 04:16 PM
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May 22nd, 2012, 12:05 AM
  #24  
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Our evening drive took us around the outskirts of Ostuni (puglia like everywhere else has unattractive surburban housing blocks but on the way back our route provided a stunning view of la cite bianca lit up and glistening in the dark-we will venture inside the city, which looked bigger than i expected another time!).

We finally arrived at Masserie Salinola in the Ostuni countryside (after missing the turning and venturing deeper into the surrounds than we needed to) feeling on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is starving, about a 5. Goodness knows why we said "si" to the offer of a set of local stle appertisers produced from ingredients on their farm -oh yes it was because this was a foodie trip so who cares if we were actually hungry or not!! Now this was clearly a nice place to stay (although we were considerably younger than every single other table (we must be ahead of our time in our gastronomic adventures!) and were the only non staying residents so got a bit of extra welcoming by the polite english speaking man in charge as the guests were obviously used to the concept-set menu with options to change something if you didn't like and of course the option of all those extra appertisers. The place sold a lot of its own produce as we saw jaws of passata, olives, olive oil, jams on offer to take home as well as lots of books on the art of italian cooking. It was a nice pretty room, with tea lights on table, beamed ceiling (i think!) and jazz music playing. There were lots of couldrins hanging from the ceiling and the tables were lined with cream table-cloths and soft padding (new to us! tables with blankets to make the leaning on them more comfy i assume!). It seemed like this was obviously a restaurant aimed at guests/tourists rather than somewhere that locals might go- although there were Italians staying and it seemed very nice so this was not a problem, it seemed highly regarded and was more upmarket than i had expected and used as much of its own produce as possible. (being a hotel there were no prices as such just a board with the menu of the day on so we were a little fearful of how much a meal somewhere like this might end up- but relaxed when we saw a bottle of house wine was just 5 euros!)

So now on to the food- we were given a tiny (thank goodness!) plate of bruscetta with warm plump tomatoes (tomatoes really come into their own from May/june so they were going to feature a lot!) and slivers of ricotta on a small bed of wonderfully peppery rocket to wet our appetite before the appetisers starting to flow. Now this was not a big plate of cold appertisers, this was several plates of hot and substantial appertisers (we knew we were in trouble at the point as for a minute there seemed to be no end to them being delivered to us). We were given stuffed lightly fried zuccini flowers with salty delicate ricotta, a warm and light vegetable fritata, rich field mushrooms and tomato pie with a little thin curst on top which when you cracked through gave way to steaming tasty liqor filled with a variety of different fancy mushrooms (the ones that cost a small ortune in london and again here are so so much tastier here- very earthy/meaty and far superior to any we have had before and this pie felt like a little corner of england in puglia!), grilled artichoke hearts with mint (i'm not going to lie- i still don't get the appeal of artichokes-even in Italy this is on my small list of hated foods), a duo of plump mozarella balls that literally oozed our their own milky liquor when you cut into them and a fluffy leek omellate.

I was absolutely stuffed and had no clue how on earth i would possibly survive three more courses. It's ok i tell myself- the next course is just soup!! uh uh fail! this was no ordinary soup, this was a rich soup filled with pasta which looked like macaroni cheese when it arrived it was wonderfully yellow with nuggets of pasta popping through (still not sure what produced the think sauce-perhaps yellow zuccini). Oh dear- how deep does this bowl go......not that deep thank goodness! It was very tasty and hearty with perfectly al dente pasta and felt very Italian/authentic and could be a dinner on its own. The drizzle of chilli oil we were encouraged to give it worked a treat as it added a nice tangy note to it (it also felt very "foodie/chefy") but there was no denying that was absolutely zero chance of me finishing this with the main still to come, i was already on the verge of suggesting we just pay to stay the night given how full we were (how we will survive the 40 minute journey back in the dark!). I felt bad leaving a third and tried to explain to the sweet guy that we had had a huge lunch but he probably thought i hated it.

Finally came the mains, a plate of stuffed aubergine (oh no we had this for lunch!) but it was actually very different to the lunch version, this time filled with its on flesh, chucks of mozzarella, breadcrumbs and something fennel like being served along with what must be the best rosemary potatoes we have ever ever had. These potatoes tasted divine and actually of something in their self able to compete with the rosemary-very yummy and a wonderful dish in itself rather than just a side dish to absorb other flavours. Wow, i had no clue potatoes could taste like this and i did not care that i was full anymore- this potatoes would live on in my memory as a huge regret if i did not at least attempt to eat as many as possible.

My moment of potato madness was stopped when then it hit me that i might actually be sick i was feeling so full from the day's feasting, i started to panic (there was only one female toilet- i cant hog that and besides it was right next to the main room so people would here me) but before we had a chance to halt desert the first course was delivered (yes there were two!). Ok so i am no huge fruit fan but i think this is the happiest i have ever been when the huge plate was slowly set down and i saw that it was just fruit (very pretty and colourful fruit-cherries, apricots, pineapple, melon, orange but still just fruit- i might actually cope-thank you!) I had feared a huge crepe or plate of rich cakes !! i decided to try some water melon-maybe this would help me. But then as soon as i saw the guy shoot by i had to halt the food and requested we have our second food course to go as it was caneronolli and while i was stuffed i was not mad- i knew that on a normal day in london i would crave the ones i had previously had on a trip to naples so there was no way i was going to let these slip by. They were very kind and packed them up in a little box, complete with a bed to strawberry coulis and mint leaves. We paid up (70 euros including a half caraffe of house wine, good value for so so much food!) and drove home where i just collapsed onto the day bed (i fear i will miss these beds!) But still i had not learned and wenty minutes later curiosity got the better of me and i had to try the caneronolli so had a tiny cut of one. Very filling with lemon flavoured delicate cream inside. In honesty not as amazing as the ones i had remembered from naples but still nice and am sure i would have appreciated far more if i wasn't still on the edge of being sick. Don't get me wrong the sick feeling was purely from over eating and nothing to do with the Masseria, which was on the whole excellent food and reminded me that Italian cuisine was far far more than just pasta and pizza.

Then it was bed time, to dream of those potatoes................

Today...Cistercnino and possibly Locorotondo (the only Italian word with 5 Os in it i have been told)
HG001London is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 12:14 AM
  #25  
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sorry the 2nd pudding was Canolli- (not sure where i got caneronolli from- i seem to be inventing words- apologies)
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May 22nd, 2012, 12:17 AM
  #26  
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oh and this was the location for our battle with food!!

http://www.masseriasalinola.it/it/home/
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May 22nd, 2012, 08:45 AM
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day 3.....

its raining in puglia.....this is not what i wanted- oh well gives me a chance to report on lunch while i remember.....

We ventured up the spiral roads to Cisternino. Parking proved a tad tricky but got there in the end! again we were amazed how quiet this place is- no tourists, only a handful of locals, we practically had it to ourselves apart from of course the little butcher van that pulled up in the main square and the man preceded to cary a whole and rather large pig over his shoulder across to a little butchers- this really is meat town. Our villa owner had told us that most people come to Puglia for its vast array of wonderful seafood not realising the great meats on offer too and that Cisternino was the place to sample some of the best. The centro strorico was small but very pretty- again perfectly white and clean with gorgeous stone houses with mazes of white stone steps getting to each door. Lots of narrow lanes and the only non white colour being the pink flowers bursting over the small balconies iron's bars. (oh an not forgetting the central church which was a darker stone and really stood out from the white)- I must have taken a dozen shots of basically the same thing- a pretty white lane with pretty little entrances...but who cares i can always delete some. i liked this little place, even the cats were white!

Other than the butcher the only real bit of life was a little restaurant "Le chicche di zia rosa" with tables sat outside in a tiny area with the owners family all eating their lunch....a huge plate of steaming tomato gnocci and some greens. We thought if its good enough for them, and they did seem to be enjoying it! it was most likely good enough for us. We sat down and they all immediately rushed to finish to serve us- we felt a little bad. Now i know we should probably have just had a plate of meat given where we were but we were seriously craving pasta!! So we compromised and I had sausage oreccetti (penne is going to seem so boring now!) in a light tomato sauce and chopped bright green fresh parsley which looked a pretty picture of colour which was yummy and fresh. But the real winner was my partner's spicy sausage rigatoni....it was fantastic. The spicy sausage was deliciously tangy and truly more-ish, this was the dish that i had tried so many times to perfect at home and never quite got the right taste. The secret must be the sausage- i would love to know how they make it spicy like this without being "hot" spicy. It was soft and sweet and i have to admit i turned green with jealousy!! I also am coming to belief that its impossible in Italy not to be served perfectly cooked al dente pasta (it must be like reading and writing-something you just have to learn). i washed this all down with some yummy house wine...hmm this is what Puglia is about!

We had skipped antipasti today and decided to venture into the "secondi plat" territory and go with the locals with a meat dish. We had rolled meat balls, which were held together with cocktail sticks and had a very deep intense stew like flavour/texture but very juicy and succulent and not at all dry (there was also a rich tomato passata sauce but they could hold their own without it). Again these were quite earthly- it seemed to be a mix of lots of different cuts inside that blended together to give this quite unique flavour. They were very filling and certainly quite unusual- not sure i would have again too soon but we were definitely very glad we sampled. Finally i ordered a dish of egg/cheese/meat balls not really knowing what to expect. These gorgeous hot treats came out looking like coated quails eggs but were in fact once i cut into them discovered a light and fluffy batter inside with specks of herbs infused within them. They were delicious melt int he mouth treats and were perfect for mopping up that last bit of passata (yes, we should be using a bread boat but these were a perfect substitute). There were so many we said we would ask to take some home but as time passed by they were just too yummy to not gobble up and by the end of the meal we were just popping them in our mouths whole like little sweets. We gave ourself a gold star when we saw that the table of local men next to us ordered a huge plate of them, maybe these are local to this area?

It was a lovely spot and we managed to get by with broken italian and smiles. Strangely they did not serve coffee...the staff ran elsewhere to bring back a set of caffe's for them to sample after their own lunch..odd. There seemed to be a steady few locals pass by and chat with the owners, including kids go by playing with a shout to them "cioa nino'. Life here seems laid back and a place where people know their neighbours and family life is key. Some came into eat, welcomed with a hug and a bottle of red which they sat and discussed with the owner for like twenty minutes, i only wish i knew the meaning of the words that went with the big hand gestures around the bottle, treating it like a trophy-they definitely are fond of their wines and so they should be as so far all the house wines have been great.

Then it was time finally for some Gelato from a little place we spotted on the way in, I picked a perfectly silky looking nutella flavour. As i walked away saying how perfect the consistency looked and had my first spoonful i realised it was nutella (no wonder the waiter asked me what other flavour i wanted, which i stupidly had indicated "none other" to- he must have been thinking i was a silly tourist). Arhhhh again i have not been able to have some proper italian gelato - yes i know it has been my fault both times but this is starting to get annoying
HG001London is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 07:52 AM
  #28  
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We ventured out to Trani today- what a charming a beautiful spot, and again apart from some people at the harbour front (perhaps direct from their yachtes that were parked up taking pride of place!) the town was very very quiet. It is really a lovely town with cream buildings and pretty balconies and flowers and again dazzlingly clean! The sea was beautifully turquoise and the marvellous cream Church tower looking such a lovely picture next to the blue of the sea. There were pretty piazzas an narrow lanes with big wooded arched doors to the houses as well as creamy building with pale blue and pink shutters that wouldn't look out of place in Paris. It was a very dreamy town and if this were in northern Italy it would be flocked with tourists no doubt- reminded me that while definitely growing in popularity Puglia certainly is not fully on the tourist map just yet! We felt very lucky to have it almost to oursleves!!

Now onto food......

We dined at

http://www.osteriaferroefuoco.it/ris...erro_fuoco.asp

and apart from one other man we were the only ones there the whole time. We didn't care as it meant we got the pretty window table looking out to a pretty piazza. We were presented with prosecco and appertisers before we even looked at a menu. Yummy squares of toasted pan i pomodoro once more but these tomatoes were exceptionally sweet and delicious. We were also given little balls of twisted mozarella served in a cute little cone with a yummy sweet onion relish which went perfectly together.

We decided to go for the house mixed hot and cold starters. Now there was very little English spoken and we enjoyed listening to an array of Italian describing what we were about to feast on.....if only we knew what it all meant! Wow these were fab, several different capaccios included salmon, octopus, swordfish (we think although could have been any meaty fish!!) and a beautifully creamy bresola that literally melted in your mouth. The cappacios were really something unique for us and each one had the perfect amount of olive oil, lemon and pepper and the meaty fish one being wonderfully tasy, almost like fresh anchovy. Hot starters were a bubbling hot tomato and cheese crepe which had been done al forno in 4 neat little parcels which we assumed were pasta at first. Very nice! and a mixed portions of vongole and muscles dripping in a yummy white wine and tomato sauce. They were nice and plump and juicy as they should be (not as good as those ones in santa maria al bagna, but still very good). And of course some bread to mop up the tasty liquor!

On to mains and it was pasta for us again. I had a wonderfully light fat macaroni (not like mac and cheese but more like a rounded penne tube) which was simply in olive oil and basil with the odd tomato and some fine riccotta gratings (how do you grate ricotta without it breaking!!).....so so simply but utterly delicious- how do they do this!!!, it would never taste like this at home. Maybe it was the olive oil or even the pasta itself being fresh but it just was velvety soft and so tasty, it got mopped up very quickly (they even cutely made a tiny plate for my partner to have). His main was a sage butter ravioli which arrived with a gigantic parmesan disk covering the whole plate! the ravioli was clearly home made and so thinly rolled and the flavour quite delicate. They were very filling and well presented but half way though a parmesan disk that had began to soak up the sage butter he had to give in-think we have manged to over order again!!! oh well maybe we will learn tomorrow!!

All this plus half a carraffe of wonderfully light and floral white wine for 56 euros! We felt wuite content from lunch and strolled around the empty cream lanes till we met the wonderful blue/green sea again and admired the view.

We then finally managed to sample some proper Italian gelato on the harbour front- choccalatey stratictella and nutty pistacio perfectly creamy! This soon mixed together to form something quite uniue. Hmmmmmmm
HG001London is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 10:55 AM
  #29  
 
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My kind of trip report!

I think those fried egg/cheese balls you had in Cisternino were pettole...do these look familiar?



http://www.buttalapasta.it/articolo/...pugliesi/5332/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4306515364/

Keep up the good work! It's difficult to do all that eating purely in the interest of reporting!
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 11:08 AM
  #30  
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Hi eks,

glad you are enjoying

Back at the villa now to relax and come to terms with how much food we have eaten!!

hmm pettole-yes possible they maybe the things, although they look like they have a thicker batter while ours looked more like a very fine breadcrumb shell rather like tiny scotch eggs until you actually eat one and see its very soft in the middle....but probably they were those but judt done a la casa!

Haha, yes eating for reporting is a difficult job....someone's gotta to it
HG001London is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 11:25 AM
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ah and should have said, we dined in last night- got a tray of huge langoustine for 3 euros so cooked them up in lemon, chilli and garlic and attempted to make stuffed zuccini flowers they i we found in the "Familia" supermarket- they worked!! i wasn't really sure what you coat the flower with after stuffing them so just dipped them in olive oil mixed with come samolina i found in the villa cupboard.

Puglian produce is sublime! Travel writer Simon Calder wrote

"Many regions in Italy lay claim to the best food, but Puglia could comfortably assume the title"

i agree!!
HG001London is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 12:25 PM
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still ttting
annhig is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 12:31 PM
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haha, i was confused what ttt meant before and thought was maybe a typo, so this time i googled it...get it now and guess i am ttting myself!
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May 24th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Just had an amazing lunch in pogliano a mare...will report full later but it's a lovely town so if nearby in Puglia don't miss it.
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May 24th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Ok today's food was too good- i have to share it while fresh in memory!!

A quick slice of the yummy puglia bread (apparently they often use somolina to make bread and it keeps far better than your typical bread) and salami each (resisting breakfast was proving trickier than we thought) and we drove of to Pogliano a Mare about 10 minutes on from Monopoli up the coast. We found a parking space in the square and could see straight away that this place was a popular tourist spot from the modern cafes and gelateria "cafe white", "cafe millenium" etc etc but don't get me wrong this was in a good way and very tastefully done- we realised why Pogliano is seen as a real gem of Puglia....

The old town streets again were pristinely clean with lots of blossom pink flowers brightening up the cream/white stones as when as the odd small but perfectly formed white church. A few little squares with a handful of restaurants/cafes/b&Bs-this would make a good base we decided as there seemed plenty of trattoria and even little puglian pubs to keep you entertained at line. Little lanes led to the cliff face and the huge drops down into the pretty blue sea. A gorgeous little balcony overlooking the waters had us green with envy of whoever was lucky enough to wake up to the sunrise and the beautiful sea views. There was the old little shop and we picked up some great pasta herb mix. The woman selling it took such pride in telling us how to use it (in Italian) that even though we always buy this stuff whenever we were in Italy we listened with enthusiasm nodding away knowing the lady really wanted us to enjoy!. The stony beach that forms the main picture you always see of Pogliano was deserted and the water went aqua-marine green as it gently crashed against the pebbles- it was very clean and clear and pretty as a picture! We stopped and had due cafe (we were becoming Italian) in a tiny cafe that looked down to the sea and stolled back through the lanes, stopping for the odd picture before wondering on to find our lunch spot....

http://www.ristoranteantichemura.it/

Simply put lunch was AMAZING!!!! the highlight so far and a meal we will remember for a long time.

We were led into a gorgeous room of deep red, black and white pretty lights that was carved into the stony archy characterful room with very soft music playing and somewhere that in the evenings we could imagine being extremely buzzy and even more atmospheric. We were again the only ones there for lunch but again who cares!. We were welcomed by Fabio the owner/manager (we think) who was very nice and made effort to make you feel welcome including lighting the little candle on the table even though it was only lunchtime. He chose some wonderful white wine, which is in our all time top 5- it was absolutely scrumptious and tasted and smelt of apples (i hate it when people always say the wine has hints of this or that but with this one no-one told us what it should be like but we could simply tell ourselves that it truly was like apples and both immediately said it to each other). At the end we asked for the name and told by the waiter (who didnt speak much english but was very helpful-if only we understood!) it was "Coppe/coppa" and from Puglia- (can't be sure but possible Coppa d'Ora from Foggia)

We were then given some deliciously light but incredibly tasty aubergine carpaccio (they like there carpaccios here!) with was smothered in garlic and a wonderful vinergarette which made it very tangy and tasty, almost like it had been pickled. For starters we then had muscles gratin and squid gratin-both were excellent. We heard them sizzling as they were cooked and when they arrived were large portions on silver platters with the most tasty crunchy, herby breadcrump topping we had ever sampled, it little things like this that makes Italian cuisine so special- they take simple ideas, muscles with breadcrumbs and olive oil and perfect them. The squid was cooked absolutely spot on and had been made into pasta like long tubes. The dish had the odd pomodoro in it and i literally scarped the edges of the tray to get those last few bits. The muscles were nice and meaty too. Wonderful!!

As great as the starters were they did not compete with the truly divine pasta dishes we had for mains. My truffle triangles (there was a fancy word for the pasta but i have already forgot!) were simply stunning- a dish i just know i will dream about for years- it was truly perfect and was smooth and richly flavoured with truffle and the stuffing was creamy/silky/yummy!!, the pasta itself was of perfect texture and consistency and i ate it with continuous "hmmmms" and "wow how amazing does this taste!!!" like sentences to my partner. I cant explain just how yummy it was!!!! i even text my sister mid dish as i ate saying i was eating my second best pasta dish ever (the first was in Capri!). Partner had a vongole gnocciettini, which also was exceptional- light and deliciously flavoured with wonderful olive oil. You simply do not get gnocci of this quality in London unless you go to Locanda Locatelli or somewhere (well i haven't anyway)- this is the type of meal you hope for in ITaly. Don't get me wrong all the others have on the whole been excellent but this is the winner so far. As the food had been so good we thought we would be mad not to try some deserts so i had the crema catalan and my partner a tirimisu. Both were very nice indeed (they even blow torched the crema at the table a la Paris!) but it is the mains that we will remember this place for. All this including 3 glasses of that wonderful wine for 63 euros-again great value in my opinion.

Back at the villa, had a swim to try and cancel out some of the naughtiness of the food and nearly half way through the trip and now feeling a little guilty about all the eating and not much sight-seeing but hey this is a foodie trip, the food are our sights

Dinner.....pizza at il tronco or something different..........
HG001London is offline  
May 24th, 2012, 08:57 AM
  #36  
 
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Thanks for that bit on antiche mura. We are staying in polignano a mare in the fall, arriving late in the day, and I was hoping to find a really good resto for that first evening. Sounds like that fits the bill.

I think I better start dieting now, by the sounds of it!
sundriedpachino is offline  
May 24th, 2012, 09:06 AM
  #37  
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oh yes definitely give this place a try- its really lovely. Pog looks great place to stay too, good pick!!
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May 24th, 2012, 09:15 AM
  #38  
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on and agree on the dieting bit (except mine comes after!!- "the diet cant possibly start till after puglia" has been my line of thinking )
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May 24th, 2012, 10:40 AM
  #39  
 
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oh, i'm so glad I'd had supper before I read that.

no way i could have put up with sausages when you were consuming such a feast.

now I want to go to Puglia instead of sicily.

it's not fair.
annhig is offline  
May 24th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Just great! It IS interesting about the bread, that it will keep for so long.

When I bought some in Matera to bring back to the US (pretty crazy, but I had an entire bag stuffed with bread, taralli, dried pasta, etc) the woman at the bakery told me it would keep at least 7 days.

I thought Polignano was one of the prettiest towns in the region, of those that we visited.

I'm very impressed ow you are managing to put away all that amazing food. I know it is a tremendous sacrifice, all in the name of research, so I know I speak for everyone here when I extend my deepest thanks!
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