The knowledge of a place such as Apulia inevitably goes through its flavours, so that the ancient Greeks before and the Romans later used to spend their amusements in the land of Apulia because of the quality of the wines and the delightfulness of the region.
Dry, sweet, red, white, rosé, the wines have always been produced in significant quantities, but only recently many of them have gained the label of high-selection products (to name a few: San Severo white, moscato from Trani, the “Cacc’è Mitt” from Lucera, Primitivo of Manduria, Negroamaro). This is due to a selective process over the past years that has led to the transformation of viticulture, as a result of the reduction of available vineyards in the Apulian countryside.
A consideration of all respect should be paid to the olive tree, a plant which is a symbol of the region and among the most ancient, widespread and valuable forms of farming.
The olive oil from Apulia, among the most supreme in Italy, is a perfect seasoning and flavour enhancer in almost every dish prepared in Apulia.
In every recipe, be it simple like that of “bruschetta”, the Apulian oil (preferably extra virgin) stands out for its strong flavour that enriches the simplest recipes.
In detail the recipe for bruschetta consists of bread slices not too thin and lightly toasted in the oven or on hot coals, seasoned with tomatoes, garlic, oregano and finally drizzled with a little olive oil; because of its simplicity, it is also possible to make use of any other ingredient such as onions, anchovies, mozzarella, in short anything that satisfies the palate. The “bruschetta” allows us to introduce a main product of the Mediterranean diet, such as the tomato; there are countless recipes where this fruit of the earth serves as a seasoning for meat based or fish based sauces, or to add an extra flavour to vegetable soups (from cabbage to tender stem broccoli to endive or fennel).
Another great pillar of the Apulian cuisine is the pasta, which is present in every meal on the tables of this region. The pasta in Apulia is preferably topped with meat sauce, ranging from pork to veal, lamb or “galluccio” (a sauce made from rooster consumed mainly on the 15th of August in the areas of Foggia).
In the wide range of products and typical dishes of Gargano is noteworthy a dish that consists of an unusual ingredient, called “ciammaruchelle”: small snails that once picked in moist soil, especially after a rain, are left to drain for a few days (by placing them in hanging netted sacks) and finally boiled and seasoned with fresh tomato sauce or with garlic and fresh chopped mint.
And finally, like at the end of each holiday lunch in Apulian homes, you cannot miss the sweets; for example in Easter time you can taste special donuts decorated and covered with icing sugar called “squarcielle”.
In Christmas time you can taste the “cartellate” based on very thin pastry baked with flour and white wine and then fried and finally seasoned with “vincotto” (a glazed sweet wine).
There would be many other sweets to mention as well as main courses typical from Apulia; but there is only one way to know them in depth which is to come and taste them directly in order to be able to experience the culinary culture of this fantastic region.