The beautiful southern Italian region of Puglia forms the ‘heel’ portion of Italy’s boot, has a population of 4 million and is home to an astounding 60 million olive trees! Puglia has both Greek and Italian influences as seen in ancient towns, castles and churches, as well as baroque architecture.
Puglia is slowly growing in popularity with tourists, but this region is still something of an undiscovered gem. While many visit for a glimpse into Italy’s history, the region draws people in with its unique cuisine. This is understandable as the climate and fertile landscape allow Puglia to produce more wine and olive oil than anywhere else in Italy.
Choose a Base
Puglia is a huge region that warrants taking time to explore fully, so select a town or city that will be your midpoint. Opt for southern Puglia and stay in Lecce or Brindisi, or venture northwards to Barletta or Manfredonia. Browse Chic Retreats for a selection of luxurious accommodation options, suitable whether you have a limited budget or can afford to splash out.
Each place has its own recipes, food specialities and staple ingredients, so no matter where you choose, you will be in for a culinary treat.
Incredibly, Puglia is home to more than 200 varieties of pasta! You will not find dried processed penne here; instead you will be greeted with a huge variety of handmade options. Pasta in this region is largely made using semolina and the most common form is orecchiette – view this being made by locals as you wander Puglia’s streets.
Unsurprisingly, Puglia has an excellent selection of cheeses. Forget mozzarella and parmesan; you will commonly find creamy Burrata, herb filled Caciocavallo and a hard cheese called Canestrato Pugliese. Cheese here is made from sheep’s, cow’s and goat’s milk and comes in a variety of tastes and textures.
If you are a vegetarian, then you will be well catered for in Puglia. People here eat what they can grow locally and a large percentage of this is vegetables. Aubergine, courgette, artichokes, peppers and tomatoes are used widely across the region, but there are local variations. Try a poponetti, a variety of cucumber, or a barattieri, an avocado shaped vegetable with a melon taste.
The key to food in Puglia is that everything is handmade, locally sourced and fresh. There are a whole host of specialities to tantalise your taste buds – whether you are a dessert lover or want to sample the local seafood, this is the perfect place for a foodie holiday.