Peer into the Pleasures of Puglia
|Basilica Santa Croce, Lecce|
|Rosa T. From Puglia|
ROSA: Joy. Pure joy.
TWH: What part of Puglia are you from? Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
ROSA: I am from Bari. I was born in Mola di Bari, where olive oil is a specialty. (Terra di Bari PDO)
TWH: I'm going to get right into the good stuff. Tell me about your favorite things to eat and drink in Puglia.
ROSA: Where do I begin? There's the mozzarella, fresh la trecia di mozzarella...and ricotta. The bread-il pane di Altamura, or the bread from Altamura (Pane di Altamura PDO), is the most famous. The delicious focaccia...and I cannot forget the taralli (a crispy pretzel). Mmmm, the cavatelli and orecchieti al ragu con sugo di agnello, ole braciole di cavallo o cime di rapa (oreccheieti pasta with lamb ragu, beef rolls with, cheese, tomato and spices or broccoli rabe). The fruits and vegetables-everything is so fresh. We have delicious seafood. Le triglie (red fish) is so tasty. Mmm, everything tastes so good! Il polpo vivono di scoglio, the octopus that lives in between and under the rocks, is scrumptious. (Rosa explained how this type of octopus is different from the ones out at sea. They are more flavorful and tender due to the algae on which they feed.) The black mussels, the fish and everything is rich. And now...we have to talk about the wines. I am not a fan of wine, but Apulia has great wines from the north to the south of the region. Primitivo and Locorotondo (white wine varietal) is known by everyone. I can go on and on,..
TWH: Wow! I see. Well thanks for that. I see that you really love all of the food and produce. I'm coming over to eat soon. Now, what, would you say, is something unique to the culture of Puglia?
|House in Salento|
TWH: What must I see when I am in Puglia?
ROSA: That all depends on what you like. If you like nature, Apulia has it all. The region is a peninsula by itself and has the most beautiful beaches and parks. If you like art, it is necessary that you visit Salento. Once again, Puglia is a region full of beautiful art and unique scenery!
|Santa Cesarea Terme, Salento|
As we conversed about her beloved home, Rosa beamed with fondness and pride for her Puglia, as she reflected on its abundant goodness and beauty. It could not be denied. We continued to peer and discover more about this region.
Puglia's Gastronomy and Wine
Puglian cuisine is, like many other regions, characterized by pork, lamb, beef and poultry. Rosa spoke of the olive oil and fresh fruits and vegetables, and it was interesting to learn that Pulia is one of Italy's biggest producers of fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, olives, artichokes and more. Common dishes include stuffed or grilled eggplant, artichokes and/or other green vegetables, such as arugula. Clearly, agriculture plays a huge role in Puglia's gastronomy.
Naturally, since Puglia has a coastline on each side, Rosa did not hesitate to mention the abundance of seafood and alluded to the variety of seafood dishes that include fish, octopus, oysters, mussels and other frutti di mare. A typical dish could be baked mussels, roasted fish, stewed octopus or zuppa alla tarantina, a spicy fish soup.
Recipe: Shrimp & Eggplant Arrabiatta with Cavatelli.
1 lb Cavatelli
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb Shrimp
1 large Eggplant
3 Med-large Tomatoes
1 cup Breadcrumbs
3 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Garnish with fresh Parsley
Slice eggplant into thin, even slices. Beat up the egg in a dish and pour the breadcrumbs into another dish. Heat olive oil in a frying pan or grill. Coat the eggplant with the egg and then breadcrumbs. Fry or grill the breaded eggplant slices until brown, turn over and repeat. Add olive oil as necessary so that they do not burn. Remove and dice the eggplant. Put aside. If using the same pan, be sure to remove segments from pan, or in a another saucepan, add 2 tsp of olive oil. Saute garlic, but do not burn. Add diced eggplant, chopped tomatoes, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. The tomatoes will water and create their own sauce. Add a 1/2 cup of water if necessary. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, the eggplant continues to soften and the tomatoes get saucy. Reduce heat to low, add shrimp and simmer for 20 minutes. Put on the water to make the cavatelli. Cook the cavatelli until al dente. When the pasta is ready, drain. On the serving dish, put the pasta and top with the arrabiatta, shrimp and eggplant sauce.
Cooking/Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
The Wining Hour's Puglian Selection:
Regarding the wine, Primitivo, Bombino Nero and Negroamaro are the main grapes used to produce red wine. Primitivo is a relative of the Zinfandel that everyone loves, so this tends to be the most notable. There are four DOCG wines: Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, Castel del Monte Bombino Nero, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva and Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva. Then, there are 29 DOC's produced in Puglia. Further, the region produces six excellent IGT wines (Daunia, Murgia, Puglia, Salento, Tarantino, Valle d'Itria).
|Photo Credit: Wines of Puglia|
Feudi Di San Gregorio Primitivo di Manduria 2012 was a great choice. It was a ruby red, with purple hues in appearance. Initially this wine was very tannic. Yet, after decanting for an hour it began to open up. Surprisingly, another half hour made even more of a difference. On the nose were hints of clove and spicy dark fruit. On the palate was black pepper, black cherries and ripe plum. This Primitivo was medium bodied, (eventually with fine tannins) smooth and well balanced. It accented the spices in our Shrimp & Eggplant Arrabiatta. Other pairings suggestions are lamb, rich red pasta sauces, stews, casseroles, and cheeses like Puglia's caciocavallo or canestrato. This wine was aged for 14 months in new French oak after maceration.Feudi Di San Gregorio Primitivo di Manduria 2012 is 100% Primitivo and has 13.5% ABV.
Per leggere in Italiano: Piacere Dell'Apulia
Enjoying Puglia? Good, because...
The fun doesn't stop here! Lots more from my fellow bloggers. Don't forget to join our live Twitter chat Saturday April 2nd @ 11am EST at #ItalianFWT. Next month on Saturday May 7th we celebrate Lombardy.
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Rockin Red Blog - Puglia: Take Me Away!
Cooking Chat - Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Kale
The Palladian Traveler - Savoring the Salento
Vigneto Communications - Indigenous Grapes of Puglia
Postcardz from Victoria - A Tuscan Wine Legend Finds Inspiration in Puglia
The Wining Hour - Pleasures of Puglia: Primitivo, Cavatelli and Shrimp & Eggplant Arrabbiata
L'Occasion - A Night In: Celebrate Puglia at Home
About The Wining Hour
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