The Apulian Region (La Puglia)
Il Gargano Barletta Adria & Trani Bari Taranto Brindisi Lecce
Puglia is the region located at the south-east end of the Italian
It comprises of six provinces: Foggia in the
Gargano Peninsula, which is the region’s only mountainous area, Barletta, Bari and
Brindisi in front of the Adriatic Sea,Taranto facing the
Ionian Sea, and Lecce located in the Salento
Peninsula at the heel of the Italian boot, between the Ionian and Adriatic Sea.
The fertile land, the gorgeous weather, the hospitality of the natives has attracted friendly and hostile
This region was part of the Magna Grecia: the Greeks who lived there made it their homeland and left as their
inheritance archeological treasures and the Griko, a dialect
from archaic Greece, still spoken in many parts of Apulia.
There is an interesting itinerary in Puglia, starting with the coast of the Gargano Promontory to the plain that
goes down to the heel of Italy, the Salentine Peninsula.
Livestock and farming are the main economical assets: pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, olives, including olive oil,
grapes and wine production, fruits, and cereal, mostly wheat. Caciocavallo,
Cannestrato, Scamorza, Ricotta, Fior di Latte are some of
the regional cheeses, however the wheat produced in the area generate a large production of pasta, well known the
bread which are the basis of the region’s inhabitants diet.
Luscious, dark, crusty, and coarse-grain homemade bread made with the unique Apulian durum wheat and natural
leavening agent, il lievito madre,
it is baked all over Le
The leaven or “lievito madre”
requires a lengthy and skilled procedure: it is prepared with flour and water and kept in a warm place until it
ferments. The fermentation is caused by the yeast, a microscopic organism that feeds on the flour, converting it
into carbon dioxide and alcohol. To bake the bread this living yeast is added in the right proportion to flour,
water, olive oil and a small amount of sugar, setting aside the same amount of the uncooked dough to be used for
the next batch of dough. The leaven has to be kept at a constant and mild temperature and it has to be fed with
additional flour and water every two weeks to keep the yeast alive.
The strain of the leaven varies from house to house and gives the baked bread different characteristics and
The starter is handed down from generation to generation and in fact it is considered so valuable that it is part
of the dowry to the newly wed.
Friselli and taralli are produced in the region and widely distributed.
Recently cement, steel, petrochemical and processed food industries have become important resources together with
tourism which attracts German and Italian visitors to this region nicknamed “Italian
The mountains, trees, the smell of the sea and the shrubbery are combined with the perfect, enchanted and colorful
landscape that forms the Gargano Peninsula.
Islandsare part of the Gargano province; theTremiti is an
archipelago distant from the main land 22 miles. This series of islands are famous for underwater hunting and for
the abundance of game fish, shellfish and the superior quality of lobsters.
Peninsulais surrounded by the clean blue waters of the Adriatic Sea where many varieties of fish are found,
its seaside resorts and tourist facilities are numerous, particularly around the two salt water
Lesina that offer a large quantity of tasty fish, beaches, water sports, calm water and gentle
a suggestive and varied landscape, good hunting and points of architectural and cultural interest.
Tourism is booming: the beauty of the costal area, the green of the varied vegetation of the National Park, the
Umbra Forest in the Gargano, the many Abbeys, Sanctuaries, the shrine dedicated to Archangel Michel
Sant’Angelowhere also the Norman Castle, built in the XIII Century by the order ofFederico IIis
located, attract numerous visitors.
The shrine of SaintPadre Piois
located in the town ofSan Giovanni
Rotondo: it is the second most visited shrine in the world and the destination of numerous pilgrims. Saint
Padre Pio was declared a Saint in 2002.
Umbra“ is the richest game region of Italy. It shelters deer, wild boars, roe, which are small deer native of
Europe and north Asia, weasels, woodpeckers and other small game, utilized in the local cooking.
On the west of the Gargano Mountain and going down to the Adriatic Sea, there is theTavoliere delle Puglie,
aplain limited on the south by the Ofanto River. It’s a fertile area where wheat, tomatoes, grapes, beets and
olives are grown. In the center of theTavoliere delle
Puglieresides Foggia, the largest city and the capital of the province.
Vegetable gardens and herds of sheep can be seen scattered all over the countryside and in the many farms where
fresh produce is harvested. Dairy and milk products of excellent quality are produced.
The game from the mountain, the seafood from the Adriatic and the farm produce give birth to a variety of cooking
based on vegetables, grain (pasta), fish and meat to create typical dishes using old and simple
shaped pasta) with broccoli rape,spaghetti
easily made with boiled pasta seasoned with a lot of garlic, red hot pepper and olive oil, fish dishes and soups,
eels from the lakes, anchoviesarracanate, baked
with breadcrumbs, garlic, capers, mint and fresh oregano, agnello alla Gargano (lamb chop baked in parchment paper
with tomatoes, capers, anchovy fillets and mushrooms) are part of the local menu’. Clams, oysters and mussels are
consumed fresh with lemon juice or cooked in a light tomato sauce.
Whole fish are grilled and served with lemon wedges and olive oil, squid are fried, stewed or baked, octopus is
stewed in a tight covered pot; some prefer the squid, cuttlefish and octopus marinated and eaten raw.
andcanestrato, a hard
cheese made from sheep’s milk are produced in large quantities.
The local extra virgin olive oil has a strong fruit flavor and mild taste; sausages and cured pork are produced by
small and large manufacturers. The soft and extremely spicedsoppressata made
in the region, the local cheeses and the homemade bread combine with a full-bodied red, dry wineRosso di
Cerignolaor aSan Severo, create
an insuperableantipasto and
the beginning of an unforgettable meal.
Conclude your meal with a dessert: a sweet marzipan pasty, a fruit cake, a ricotta tart, or fritters dipped in
grape must. At the end enjoy a glass oflemoncello liquor
made with the lemons”Limone Femminello”
that grows only in theGargano
Andria and Trani
The towns ofBarletta,
belonging to the province of Bari and some territories and towns belonging to the province of Foggia, changed into
a province called Barletta, Andria and Trani, as of the year 2009.
The land south by theOfanto River
Tavoliere and is a continuation of theTavoliere delle
Puglie.This fertile terrain produces wheat, grapes, beets, olives, all sorts of vegetables and fruits
especially figs and tomatoes which are harvested in large quantities.
The salt mashes ofSanta Margherita di
Savoiaare open salt mines and the town is a destination for spa aficionados to enjoy the healthy, salty and
rich with iodinebagni di fango(mud
bath) with the mud fetched from the salt flats. This quaint town offers hotels with spas, beautiful beaches and
The towns ofBarletta and
Trani are located in the Adriatic coast.
a small commercial port and the local economy is based on the trade of agricultural products like grain, oil,
wines, fruits, cheeses and of the modest production of textile and shoes. The tourist villageFiumara, five
miles fromBarletta is a
good economic advantage for the new province. It is an oasis where residents can enjoy a nice climate, beautiful
landscapes, pools, the sea and a lifestyle of health and good living.
south ofBarletta has
a fishing port which contributes to the economy of the city along with tourism and production of theMoscato di
Trani, wines, almonds, wheat, figs, olives and olive oil.
Barletta have long and sandy beaches with small and large resorts from budget to luxury
Andria is one
of the most populated cities inApulia and it
is a trading center for wine, olive oil, olives, wheat, almonds and the site of many pasta factories, winery
Del Monte, a castle built in the XIII century by the will of Fredric the Second, who died in 1250. Beside
Del Monteother important buildings, churches and infrastructures are scattered in the city and in the
The cooking of the provinceBarletta
, AndriaandTrani,is typical
of the Apulia region.
The food served in restaurants or made by housewives is astonishingly,full of flavor and very
broccoli rapeand/or tomato sauce are topped with gratedricotta forte, a
young cheese similar to a primosale made with goat’s and cow’s milk. Theburrata is a
fresh mozzarella on the outside and a creamy, mozzarella inside, with a fine texture and a buttery flavor. It can
be served as an appetizer with their famous bread or with tomato and fresh local olive oil; also it is a good
accompaniment to a mixed salad or a dish of pasta. Baked lamb withscamorza, eggs and
cardoons or charcoal broiled pork and horse meat (a local specialty) are prepared for special occasions; in fact
vegetables, legumes, cheeses, pasta and bread are staple food.
Vegetables are fried, broiled and boiled. Legumes are boiled or made in a puree and dressed with olive oil. The
pasta is combined with vegetables, legumes and sauce in countless ways.
From the coastal area, the seafood and fish are sold and cooked the same day are caught and shipped right away to
the inland towns or they can be bought from the fishermen on the waterfront of Trani.
Seafood and fish are prepared in many ways: broiled, boiled or baked, simply infused with olive oil and herbs and
served with a plain salad so that the fine taste, the distinct texture and the delicate sea smell can be fully
Among the noteworthy wines theRosso di Barletta,
di Troiaand theSangiovese,
dessert wine, the Muscat of Trani goes well with matured Pecorinocheese or
are almond cookies covered with chocolate.
Bari the region’s capital is the biggest city in Apulia and is located in the Adriatic
The many remains of temples, relics, churches, castles, buildings and infrastructures testify to the diverse
cultures and the many populations that occupied this city since pre-historic times.
Among the churches, theDuomo of St.
Sabinus begun to be built in 1034 in Byzantine style, the Palatinate Church of St. Nicholas built in 1087, with the
remains of the Saint Patron of Bari, it is the destination of Orthodox Catholic pilgrims from Eastern
Svevo”, a Norman castle rebuilt by Frederick II, is used as a museum; Bari University (Universita’ degli
Studi) and the Polytechnic University are very important institutions attended by Southern Italian
Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law, restored part of the city named the Murattian Quarter: it is divided into
rectangular blocks conveying to a long promenade by the sea, calledLungomare Nazario
Sauroand it contains a shopping district and fancy boutiques.
Center of commerce, Bari is the sponsor of “La Fiera di
Levante”, the Exposition of the East, it is a point of exchange with the Eastern European countries and the
world. It specializes in agriculture and agricultural machinery, also it is an avenue for exchange and commerce for
Among the city of Bari famous sons areNiccolo’
contemporary historian, Gaetano Salvemini, an antifascist who left Italy and organized a pressure group against
Mussolini and later took refuge in the U.S.A. where he lectured History at Harvard University. Joseph Orlando,
who came to the U.S.A. as an infant, became a director of Mad magazine and executive of DC Comics.
Also from Bari,Anna Oxaa
Banfian actor andDomenico
Modugno a singer and song writer, author of the famous song “Volare”.
The fields of Bari produce a large quantity of wheat, vegetables and fruits, in particular grapes which explain the
big production of wine and of the fruit of the olive trees which account for the huge production of quality olive
Wheat, vegetables, along with lamb, pork, horse meat and seafood, jointly with excellent wine, good olive oil,
cheeses, and cured meats are the staple food of the abundant and colorful cuisine of Bari.
Start your dinner with “Pulpe Rizze”,
curled baby octopus, tenderized by beating it, served row, or “Allieve”
row on ice, or fresh sea urchins, or the garlicky mussels made with wine, tomato, red and black pepper or some
assorted salami and cheeses with the local crusty bread.
Bari and the whole region are famous not only for the bread but also for the baked specialties that are made with
the addition of different ingredients to the basic dough and shaped in the widest various forms.
The famous sourdough bread ofAltamurra a
small town near Bari, is made in small and large loafs up to 40 lb.
bareseis sour dough kneaded with olive oil, baked in the shape of the Greek letter alpha; they are first
boiled then baked. In Bari the taralli are without seeds, in Taranto with fennels, in Brindisi and Lecce with black
made in the shape of a loaf with durum wheat and barley flour, baked, sliced and toasted at low
TheFrisa is made
with sliced hard bread soaked in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, covered with sliced onions and
Follow with a dish of cavatelli with a vegetable sauce or orecchiette(ear
shaped pasta) with broccoli rape or withBari’s Ragu’made
with tomato, chopped pork, chopped veal, bracioli of horse meat, sausages and lamb; this assortment of meat is
served after the pasta as a main dish.
Originally cooked in the town ofGravina, the
prepared in the whole region. It is lamb or kid stewed with wild fennels, parsley, goat milk, olive oil and one or
two cloves of garlic, slowly simmered in a special pan called “caldaro”.
A typical local specialty is the baked “Tagiedda” a pot
stuffed with a layer of rice and a layer of potatoes followed by chopped onions and parsley drizzled with abundant
olive oil and topped with mussels, breadcrumbs, cheese and locked with an airtight lid so that the steam that built
inside cooks the “Tagiedda”, without
loosing the taste or nutrition values.
Typical desserts are theCarteddate, fried
thin layers of pastry dough, covered with honey or must (cooked wine), theSusamelli rhomboid
shaped cookies made with grounded almonds, walnuts, dry figs, orange peels and olive oil, also theCacciuni, a
mixture of chickpeas flour, chocolate, must (cooked wine), sugar and cinnamon.
The town ofAlberobello, south
of Bari is renowned for the famous “trulli”, small
circular houses, built by laying limestone blocks without mortar or cement, with conic roofs embellished with a
symbol against the “malocchio”, the
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Facing the Ionic Sea is the ancient city of Taranto, founded by the Spartans around 700 B.C. on land settled by the
Cretans. The old section of the city was built in a peninsula that divides the commercial port situated in an inlet
in the gulf of Taranto, called Mar Grande and on the other side of the isthmus the Mar Piccolo where
a military naval base of strategic importance has been located since Taranto was established. Mar Piccolo also
is where oysters are bred in large quantities with the same methods used by the Greeks 28 centuries ago. The
Piccolo is fed salt water by the canal to Mar Grande and fresh water from the numerous submarine springs,
making the salinity of this lagoon ideal for the production of all kind of shell fish including mussels, sea
urchins and clams. There are many varieties of fish here and they are harvested and shipped everywhere in
In the Mar Piccolo, atourist attraction is the pesca con
lampara: it is a characteristic and traditional way for night fishing, using a large lamp, installed
on the stern of a small boat, to attract the fish into the net or to catch them with a hand harpoon.
Agriculture, industry and commercial fishing are the most important local resources. Olive oil, wine, wheat, fruits
and vegetables are produced in the hinterland, fish and food processing is thriving; oil refineries, steel
foundries, chemical plants and shipyards are operating in the area around the seaport.
Two Doric columns are part of remains of the Greeks that lived in Taranto, and the ruins of amphitheaters, villas
and thermal baths are evidence of the Roman dominion; castles, towers, fortifications, infrastructures tell the
history of the many powers that competed for the administration of this city.
The food in Taranto is exceptional as is all over Apulia. Fish are abundant and prepared in “brodetto” (soup),
broiled, baked or fried; oysters, mussels, clams, sea urchins are served fresh or baked or in sauce with
“The “zuppa di pesce Tarantina” is prepared with a large variety of fish and mollusks that are simmered slowly with
wine, garlic, hot pepper and olive oil. “Bianchetto” baby
fish is fried or cooked “au gratin”, “fravagghie” are
assorted fried fish.
The fertile soil of Taranto‘s hinterland produces wheat, grapes, almonds and olives and many vegetables that are
served as a side dish or as a first course. The most well-liked are the “lampascione”, a pleasantly bittersweet
bulb that looks like a small onion, fava, broccoli rape, fennels, eggplants, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes,
spinach and green leafy vegetables are also grown here. Most of the vegetables and fruits are grown in the fertile
d’Itria”, a luxuriant green valley that surrounds the town of Martina Franca and scattered with farms and
houses, the “trulli”.
“Chiancareddi” are home made “orecchiette”, ear
shaped pasta cooked with broccoli rabe,linguine with
seafood, homemade fusilli with spinach and ricotta, “pasta and fagioli”
foghie”(fava and chicory leaves), homemade “taglioline” shaped
like fettuccine served in a ragout of mussels or with peas and onions sautéed in lard and olive oil.
Because of the availability fish is the main source of proteins however pasta, bread and vegetables are very
important elements in the local diet.
Game is mostly cooked with vegetables often served with polenta; lamb and pork are prepared in various styles: the
lamb’s “torcinelli” are
the innards flavored with parsley and garlic and slowly roasted and baked lamb with peas is a local specialty. Pork
is mostly marinated and grilled or made into sausages and preserved.
Another delicacy is roasted “brasciole” made
with horse meat rolled with red pepper, garlic and parsley: veal is served stewed, broiled or made into small
aromatized sausages with herbs and cheese and roasted on a slow fire.
Fresh fruits are the preferred dessert although homemade sweets are prepared especially during holidays.
are honey covered fritters, reflecting the Greek legacy, “pettole” are
fried pastries covered with sugar, or sprinkled with salt and stuffed with anchovies. Almond cookies and cakes,
pasties and fruit tarts and Manduria, a sparkling dessert strong wine, can well conclude a special dinner.
During dinner other local wine can be pleasantly sampled.
Brindisi is an important and rich city, since ancient times, for the position of its harbor and as a center for
trade with the eastern Mediterranean regions, also for the copious agricultural products exported in the Italian
peninsula and across the Adriatic Sea.
Brindisi was colonized by the Greeks and it became the choice city by the Romans, who used it as a military base
with an army ready to promptly set sails to defend their interests or attack their enemy. Furthermore, being that
this province was blessed with fertile soil, the abundant agricultural products were a good resource of military
To transport provisions, equipment and troops, a road, the Appian Way was built to connect Rome to Brindisi, which
in time became a vital avenue for trade and commerce with the far away regions in the Black Sea and
Today Brindisi is a port of call for travelers to Greece and Turkey and an important center for commerce and
industry, in particular in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry, in the energy sector, and in the canning, freezing
and preservation of alimentary products.
In this province, agriculture is well expanded with farming of a variety of quality fruits in large quantities,
including grapes – both for wine and for table-, figs, almonds and the popone, small and oblong watermelons much
sought-after for its legendary therapeutic qualities as a diuretic and as an anti-inflammatory of the digestive
track. But as in most parts of Apulia and in Brindisi, the dinners are concluded with roe vegetables in season like
celery, cucumbers, radishes, fennels or with plain boiled artichokes, rather than delicious fruits freshly
Vegetables and cereals are cultivated in the countryside with the traditional intensive growing of olives,
artichokes, almonds and tobacco, shipped to markets all over Italy.
Cattle and sheep raising is linked with the production of cheeses like thecaciocavallo, burrata,
mozzarella, ricotta, ricotta forteandscamorza.
The cooking is based on the local produce and sea food, rather than meat dishes.
pettuli” are fritters made withpastella, a batter
used to coat before frying salted cod,baccala’, or
anchovies, artichoke’s hearts, cauliflower or other vegetables, at times served as an antipasto, or stuffed with
ricotta and honey or marmalade and offered as dessert.
Fish and sea food are baked or broiled and served with artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms or other fresh vegetables
grown locally or cooked in the tasty ”Ciambotto” thezuppa di
pescepresented with the local crusty hearty bread.
di riso” rice, mussels and potato is baked in the same method as in Bari; mussels are pickled, fried or
with a lot of oregano.
ravioli, and orecchiettewith broccoli rabe are very popular pastas; the “Caghiubbi”is hand
made pasta rolled around a pit and served with a tuna fish sauce or with mussels and cabbage sauce. The
forno”,oven baked macaroni is made with ricotta, meatballs, sausages, mozzarella, cheese, and artichokes
hearts. Stuffed eggplants, chicory withfava beans,
artichokes, green leafy salads, stuffed tomatoes are prepared in simple ways turning out tasty and savory
Horse meat is stewed with pecorino cheese and celery, tripe’srollatini are
stuffed with cheese, salami, liver than baked in a spice gravy, barbequed sausages, tender chunks of kid roasted in
spits and called “gnummaredd” are
other favorite dishes.
Bread is an important component of the local diet and is made with durum wheat, semolina, barley and other types of
grains. The “puddica” also
baked in Lecce, is a flat bread covered with olive oil, cherry tomatoes cut in half, garlic, oregano and
Dry figs and oranges, quince and fig marmalade are specialties of this province andzucchine,
tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, eggplants and “lampascioni”,
small wild onions are preserved either in oil, vinegar, or dried; olivescazzate, meaning
cracked are preserved in oil, green olives conserved in brine.
“Tarallo” is sour
dough kneaded with olive oil, baked in the shape of the Greek letter alpha; they are first boiled covered with
black pepper and then are baked. The “tarallini” are
small “taralli” made with
the addiction of wine and fennel seeds.
The abundance of almond trees has favored the production of many desserts made with almond paste as biscuits,
pastries and cakes.
with cooked wine and covered with chocolate,ncartiddate, are
fritters covered with honey orvino cotto, other
special sweets are prepared for the holidays.
Wines are strong and produced in huge quantities:Brindisi Rosso,
Aleatico diPuglia are
among the most preferred wines, included the “Malvasia Nera di
Brindisi”,a dessert wine.
At the heel of the boot of the Italian Peninsula, stretching to the East, washed by the Ionic Sea on the west side
and the Adriatic Sea on the east, the Salento Peninsula comprehends the provinces of Brindisi, part of Taranto and
in the end part the district of Lecce. The town of Lecce is called “the Florence of the south” because it is rich
in architecture, art, and culture.
Lecce is located almost at the center of theSalento,
twenty-five miles south of Brindisi, on the east about ten miles from the Adriatic and twenty miles from the Ionian
Sea on the west. The city is rich of Baroque style churches, splendid fountains, a Castle built by Charles V in the
16th century, the “Torre
del Parco” a tower built in the 14th century, originally a court house now privately owned, an opera house the
other monuments; bringing to mind the Roman administration is an Amphitheater that stands in the center of the city
and one of the Roman columns that marked the end of the Appian
it was given as a present by the city of Brindisi.
Other artifacts and traditions are reminiscent of the Greeks that lived in this area before Rome expanded in this
Spread in the entire province and going back to prehistory, there are manymenhirs, which are
long stones, used as markers, also “specchie”, piles
of different shaped rocks used for tombs or for lookouts and adolmen, a
megalithic structure located atMelendugno, used
as a tomb.
Ruins of pagan temples, majestic cathedrals, thousand years old infrastructures, modern highways, monuments and
folklore evoke centuries of history and records from pre-historical times to our days. The Greek heritage of this
land is alive in theGrika, a Greek
dialect still spoken in the Salento Peninsula, as was when the area was part of the Magna Grecia.
However, the greatest gift to this area was given by nature, which shaped a suggestive landscape of rolling hills,
overhanging cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches encircled by an uncontaminated sea with gentle winds from the sea
that bring clean, not polluted air to its shores.
The beautiful and fertile countryside and the warmth and hospitality of the people have made the province of Lecce
into a highly developed agricultural area and a preferred destination for vacationers; in fact aside of the
stone” a soft type of limestone used for sculptures, the principal resources are agriculture and
Orchards of cherry, pear and other fruits are spread amidst the countryside along with tobacco plantations, olive,
almond and fig trees; vineyards, potato farms and the cultivation of cauliflower are among the most preferred crop
Wine and olive oil are produced in enormous quantities and fresh fruits are sent to all European
Bread, pasta, vegetables
and fish are the main elements in this province’s diet: however hand made tasty cheeses using traditional
techniques are consumed locally, pork and lamb meat are occasionally eaten mostly barbequed, kids and baby lambs
also are baked with potatoes or stewed with vegetables, horse chops are cooked in sauce, tripe’s rollatini stuffed
with cheese and meat as are similarly made in Brindisi, the “sanguinaccio”, a spice blood sausage is an exclusive
“Leccese” specialty as is the “salsiccia Leccese”, sausages made with pork, veal, lemon zest and
The tolerance and patience, inherited from the character of their Greek ancestry is reflected in the easy and
peaceful way of life and in their natural and simple cooking techniques.
Homemade pasta kneaded with durum wheat and/or barley and water is shaped as “orecchiette”, tiny
ear pasta served with broccoli rape, the
in the shape of small ribbons is prepared with tomato sauce, ricotta and basil or cooked with chick peas and called
tria”. Pasta is cooked “a minestra” in a
thick vegetables soup. The “tijedda di riso”
rice, mussels and potato is baked using the same method as in Bari and Brindisi with the addition of artichokes,
tomato, zucchini and any other vegetable in season.
An appetizing delicacy is eggplant stuffed with a small amount of breadcrumbs and anchovies, capers, olives and
onions baked or braised in an air-tight clay cooking ware.
Cauliflowers from Otranto, artichokes, zucchini, broccoli rabe, string beans, eggplants and leafy vegetables are
prepared in simple ways and served as “contorno”, side
dish to locally caught fish very abundant in the sea that encloses the province of Lecce. Large shrimps, lobsters,
mussels, clams, sea bass, groupers, squids, cuttlefish and other catches of the day are prepared in simple and
pleasing ways to allow savoring the taste of the fish, unspoiled by strong herbs or spices.
Gallipoli (in Greek meaning beautiful city), a town facing the Ionic Sea, distant from Lecce about twenty-five
miles is famous for the “Zuppa di
a fish chowder prepared as it was one thousand years BC.
It contains grouper, rock fish, prawns, squids, small cuttlefish, mussels, clams, few pieces of tomato, onions,
parsley, white wine and olive oil. Absolutely no garlic is used in this chowder in fact in the peninsula of Salento
the onions take the place of the garlic which is widely used in the northern part of Apulia.
For dessert: many specialties made with “pasta reale”,
almond paste, also pasticciotti,
baked small individual portion pie, stuffed with cream or marmalade, the “sfogliatella
leccese” is semolina, ricotta, eggs, sugar, candied fruits and cinnamon wrapped in a fragile, crumbling crust
and slowly baked. The “cotognata”, is
quince jam, the “tarallo” made with
short pastry,“pasta frolla”,in
the shape of a donut is baked and covered with lemon flavored white icing, thesanguinaccio is
made in a sweet version, with sugar, honey and chocolate. Other desserts made with honey, almond and puff pastry
suggest the Greek influence to the local baking.
Among the wines: Alezio, Leverano,
Copertino, Primitivo and the Nardo and
Salentino which are made from Negro Amaro and
Nera di Lecce.
The province of Lecce is one of the biggest Apulia winemakers: the whole region produces about 195 million gallons
of wine or close to 14 per cent of the wine made in Italy!