Puglia is a region in southern Italy famous for breathtaking scenery and mouthwatering cuisine. Here are a few culinary specialties not to miss when visiting the region.
There is something special about Italy’s Southern Adriatic region of Puglia. This rustic region is home to the Foresta Umbra National Park, winding limestone cliffs, and coves of sandy beaches. It remains largely undiscovered by foreign tourists but is a top destination for Italians. Here are four things to try in this spectacular region.
Robust red wines have the edge in Puglia. Stop by any local wine bar and order a glass of Negroamaro, made from a native wine grape to the region, or Primitivo, a full-bodied red similar to American Zinfandel.
For something truly special, look for a bottle of Aglianico. The wine is made from a black grape dating back to the world’s earliest civilizations. It was originally brought to Italy by the Phoenicians from Greece, many centuries before Christ. Aglianico wine was consumed by ancient Romans, favored by Italy’s Popes, and is now a staple in homes and restaurants throughout the region.
Orecchiette is a popular kind of pasta served in the south. Its round, concave shape led to the pasta’s name, which means “little ears” in Italian. In Puglia, orecchiette pasta is traditionally prepared with little more than broccoli rabe and simple condiments: olive oil, a hint of anchovy, garlic, and hot peppers (an optional finishing touch).
As Italy’s largest producer of olive oil, Puglia offers a taste of some of the world’s finest oils. Shops offer tastings of a variety of extra virgin oils, as well as specialty conserves such as artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and onions.
Don’t miss out on tasting the local cheese known as Cacciocavallo. It’s a regional tradition to age them in round balls — look for them hanging from rope in almost any shop. Enjoy it on it’s own or wish some freshly baked focaccia.
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