A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Bruco

10 Reasons to travel Italy

Discover amazing Italian Food, wines of Italy, with wine and food tours through the regions of Italy

Ten reasons to Travel to Italy apart from wonderful Wines, Limoncello, cheese, Olive Oil, bread, gorgeous villages, and locavore second to none.

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1 Sicily; the largest island in the Mediterranean. It is one of the autonomous regions of Italy. No doubt the Godfather put Sicily on the map and apart from the wonderful food and wine of Sicily, to unravel the Mafia stories with the locals is alone worth a visit to Sicily.

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2 Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily). It is an autonomous region of Italy with a population of 1.6 million. The capital city of Sardinia is Cagliari. The food, local produce, and wines of Sardinia are exceptional, and this island of Italy is a must. The seaside landscapes, especially on the Costa Smeralda, are among the most beautiful in the world.

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3 Calabria is located at the 'toe' of the boot on the Italian peninsula. It is bounded to the north by Basilicata, to the south-west by Sicily, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the Ionian Sea. New territory for most travellers to Italy, so be a pioneer

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4 Basilicata, situated in the 'Mezzogiorno', an area in the south of Italy renowned for its stress-free lifestyle, guaranteed sunshine, deliciously fresh food and excellent wine. Still relatively "undiscovered" get in and travel Basilicata before the world discovers this Italian region

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5 Puglia. Discover unique artisan produce in Bari and surroundings: Bitonto with its traditional pastry-making in the cathedral cloisters, its cellar-vaulted olive-wood ovens turning out focaccia and taralli daily; dine on cool and crisp raw fish, savour heavenly gelato. Visit the amazing Itria Valley. Immerse yourself in the Slow food (and wine) movement in Italy. Guaranteed, some of the best dining experiences you will find in Italy in little known Osteria.

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6 Tuscany We have all read the books, seen the movies but there are still some hidden gems in the Provinces of Tuscany. It is the fifth largest region of Italy and is divided into ten provinces: Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena.

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If you mention Italy to anyone the first image that comes into their mind will be that of the Tuscan countryside with the house on a hill. Tuscany is one of Italy's best wine-producing areas, with Chianti and Montepulciano among its famous products.

7Cinque Terre not as well-known but spectacular, secluded and a must for the adventurous traveller. Lots of hidden gens in the region of Liguria.

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8 Truffles. You must experience a day with a truffle family. This is very much part of the Italian Lifestyle. Decadent, delicious, and different.

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9 The Italian Lifestyle.The Italian Lifestyle It's all about the Italian Lifestyle. You have to live the life of an Italian to understand why it’s different, why it’s wonderful, why they have an inner peace with the way they live.

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10 Pasta Pasta Pasta Every region lays claim to its own style or type of Pasta. Every local will have a story on why their Pasta is different to that of the next door region.
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Part 1 in the series, Reasons to travel to Italy. Find more at www.wineandfoodtraveller.com

Posted by Bruco 15:43 Tagged food travel of italy tours italian cooking tuscany wines truffles Comments (0)

Truffle Farming in La Marche

Must do experiences in Italy.

Truffle Heaven in Ascoli Piceno

It’s the day I have been looking forward to on a trip of many special days, but there is something about the farming of truffles that really excites the senses. The Staffolani family have one of the most successful Truffle businesses in the region and we are guided by Pierpaolo Staffolani from our hotel to their "laboratory" to meet the family and see the production plant. All members of the extended family play a part in this paddock to plate business. Bosco D’Oro
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The introduction goes something like this " Set among the Sybilline Mountains not too far from Ascoli Piceno there is a surface mine, where a wise man patriarch of Truffles, Gilberto, works with his son Pierpaulo, who learns the art, and exports it to the world............ his wife Paula & his daughter in law Daniela who develop their kitchen secrets ........ "
Entering the building in Ascoli the amazing aroma of truffles is quite incredible. We meet some more of the family, before being taken on a thorough inspection, and see how their range of truffle products are prepared. This is just a teaser, and forerunner for what we are going to be tasting later in the day. BUT ....... we have to see where it all starts under the oaks in a fortified and secure hillside grove.
We are taken in convoy out into the foothills to spend the day being educated, in every form, about the noble truffle. We go from Paddock to plate literally.
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We are greeted by Gilberto, the main man, who will be showing us through the grove, and giving a thorough run down on how these tubers grow. how they diverted a roman stream to get the right water into the dam that serves the irrigation to the trees. how the ground shows when the tubers are there, and how dogs are used to ferret the tubers out. There is the Precious Black Truffle, the Summer Black, then the White truffle that we will taste from the ground today- bring it on --
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After an hour in the fields we work our way around to the trees that will be fossicked by the cutest little dog, and the build-up has everyone salivating. Dogs are used by the Trifolau (truffle hunters) and are trained from a young age to locate the magical tuber, which when ripe gives off an amazing pheromone.
This little critter homed in on a couple of trees and bingo, we had our truffles for lunch !!!
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Figure 1 the truffle hunter, freshly dug truffles, the end product cleaned and ready
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Figure 2 shaved truffle,
Figure 1 cleaning the recently excavated truffle

Congratulations all round, then cleaning these little golden nuggets, before focussing on a lunch that is to last 4 hours with truffle to be consumed in every dish. This is the Italian lifestyle that comes naturally, everyone gets involved, for them it’s not a special event, it’s a way of life, and it’s so easy to feel like part of the family.

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All the family get involved, a wonderful day savouring the Italian Lifestyle at its best.

A long table is prepared with all the family pitching in to prepare this feast for us, I hope these pics show just how much truffle was used, in some cases you couldn't see the meat for the truffle. This feast was shared with the whole family, which was just amazing, with the kitchen working overtime preparing platters of local meats, pasta dishes laden with truffle
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Wines were a part of the meal, many of them, but I must say the star, the focus, the entertainer was the truffle. This was a celebration and the proof of just how amazing this little tuber is. It’s no wonder that there is armed security around these farms during the season, people go to extraordinary lengths to steal the ugly little tubers under the cover of darkness.
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Steak covered in Truffle
The day spent at Tartufaia Bosco D’Oro with Gilberto & Pierpaulo Staffolani (and their extended family) was one of the most memorable days on a wonderful tour through Marche & Tuscany that included many special visits to local producers across the regions.
About the author: Since 1999, Bruce White has been traveling Italy, returning every year to a different region with pre-planned wine and food experiences. Some have been with food and wine tour operators in small groups, some planned directly with local specialists to ensure something very local and very special. With this network of contacts and a desire to return as often as possible, Bruce launched Wine and Food Traveller to share experiences with those who share the same passion for the Italian Lifestyle. All 2017 tours are now available for travel to Italy at www.wineandfoodtraveller.com

Posted by Bruco 20:09 Archived in Italy Tagged food travel of italy wine truffles italy. Comments (0)

SIX HILLTOP TOWNS WORTH DISCOVERING IN PUGLIA ITALY

Martina Franca , Locorotondo, Ostuni, Putignano, Alberobello, Noci.


Martina Franca. Locorotondo, Ostuni, Putignano, Alberobello & Noci.

Lanes to get lost in, like stepping back in time, timeless in lifestyle and other than Alberobello & Ostuni, relatively undiscovered.
All these towns are located in the central region of Puglia, all very easy driving time between each, so ideal for 3 days of exploring especially when you spend some time for lunch at any one of the traditional trattoria’s. All bar Martina Franca sit inside the Bari Commune. Although Puglia is the least mountainous region of Italy, these towns stand out for their elevated locations and almost white buildings, most build from Ivory stone and dominant on the skyline.
The best way to discover what is special to the town is to visit the farmer’s markets, and every town has a market day, some twice a week. This is the place for the locals to keep in touch and somewhere the elders will be sitting, probably around a bocce game discussing life in the village. Freshly baked breads from the Prodotti da forno , cheeses made for consumption with 24 hours from the local Casaro are on display, mushrooms gathered and piled high. Tomatoes so red and delicious, it’s a feast for the eyes.
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Martina Franca with its walled old city has a labyrinth of incredible lanes and walkways all linked to and around the Piazza Plebiscito. Don’t rely on GPS tracking, the walls are solid here, but every corner you turn offers a new experience, with trattoria in the most obscure places. Try to find out which La macellaria (butcher shop) is doing their BBQ night, it’s hard to find but it’s a tradition worth looking for. Wednesday is market day, and the farmers market is at the far end of the market space which dominated by clothing and appliances.
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Locorotondo If you need a specific reason to visit Loco it’s the town itself, so dominant from a distance, with its white buildings. Located between Martina Franca & Alborabello it draws you in with its presence. The town has been classified as one of the most beautiful in Italy, (Borghi più belli d'Italia) whilst not having any “attractions” it is a serene hilltop town. There are many trattorias to sample local cuisine and the DOC Locorotondo wine (made from Verdeca & Bianco d’Alessano) can be enjoyed in many of the cellars throughout the town. My choice, a slow food ristorante called Perbacca. Completely non-descript from the street, once inside, its Slow Food Heaven , and recognised in the Slow Food bible, (The Osterie de Italia guide) as being one of the best Slow Food restaurants in Italy.The markets in Locorotondo take place on Friday, and are predominantly locavore produce.
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Alberobello Famous for the limestone Trulli houses and probably the most well-known of all the towns in the Valle d’Itria. To avoid the truly touristy area when visiting the Trulli head for the area known as Rione Aia Piccola, it portrays a far more peaceful Italian lifestyle. Finding the best places to eat, if you are looking for really good local cuisine, ask a local where they eat, it will be in the main part of the town, maybe Trullo Doro, or La Cantina, wonderful to mix and drink with the locals. Markets here are on Thursday.
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Noci heading west from Alberobello , yet another old town that typifies a time gone by, well worth exploring , as you will see the Italian Lifestyle in this quaint little town There are some remarkably good Masseria to stay at, like Masseria Abate, or Villa Cappelli both offering cooking schools and surrounded by Olive groves, and vineyards.
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Putignano Home to the oldest carnival in the world, apparently, the first one being staged in 1394, and running for 2 months each year!!. So if you are visiting between the end of December and February, you can be assured of watching or participating in some type of celebration. The best part of Putignano is inside the old city, around the Centro Storico. Many little places to eat and wonderful walking on cobbled streets.
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Ostuni The White City, 8 kilometres from the coast in the commune of Brindisi can be seen from miles away due to all the whitewashed buildings in its elevated location. A rich tapestry of history dating back to the 1st Century and now a charming representation of Mediterranean architecture this city must be on your bucket list of places to visit. Built on different levels over periods of time it now makes for wandering alleyways, winding steps leading to new levels and building style. Ostuni is very busy in the peak period of August, so to enjoy the best of this wonderful city travel in other months.
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About the author: Since 1999, Bruce White has been traveling Italy, returning every year to a different region with pre-planned wine and food experiences. Some have been with food and wine tour operators in small groups, some planned directly with local specialists to ensure something very local and very special. With this network of contacts and a desire to return as often as possible, Bruce launched http://www.wineandfoodtraveller.com/ to share experiences with those who share the same passion for the Italian Lifestyle.

Posted by Bruco 18:30 Archived in Italy Tagged food markets walking travel the in of towns italy tours off track farmers wines hilltop beaten italy. Comments (0)

Bucket list destinations of Italy

Five Reasons to visit Cinque Terre in Italy.

The rugged coastline, the buildings perched on cliffs, the little restaurants selling the best seafood, it all makes the Cinque Terre (Five Lands), a very special place to visit. Add to that, the produce that is being grown and produced along the hillsides of this Ligurian province makes it one of my favourite’s and definitely worth adding to the bucket list of Italian must see’s.
Riomaggiore

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To experience life here stay in an apartment that hangs over the winding main street that runs down to the waterfront. It is magical. Watch the fishermen bring their catch in and sell directly to the many little restaurants that line the main street. No cars allowed, so be prepared to walk. The walkway round the waterfront cut into the cliffs to Manarola is spectacular, and probably the easiest of all the walks.

Manarola
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Tiny, almost isolated, and absolutely delightful. We found some real gems here, met some amazing locals. Try travelling between the towns by boat if you are not up to walking. If you like a challenge (and the coastal pathway is closed) walk the 750 steps up and over to Corniglia.

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This ancient hilltop village Corniglia, a farming village, is the most remote of the Cinque Terre villages and the only one not directly on the sea. There are plans to build an elevator from the railway; until this happens to get there you must conquer 337 steps in 33 flights of stairs.
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Vernazza
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A beautiful harbour, with the old village wrapping back into the steep hillside, and like the others offering the Italian lifestyle as we know it. Vernazza is the only natural port of the five villages and became wealthier than its neighbours. Consequently, its architecture is more elaborate.

Monterosso
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The other mode of transport if you want to explore the five cliff hugging towns is the very regular train service that connects the coastal towns with Genoa in the north and La Spezia in the South. If you base in one town, these little trains are a great way to get to the others without the walking, of which there is plenty, with pathways in various degrees of ease or difficulty. Some not for the feint hearted as you walk around the steep hillsides amongst vineyards and hill hugging lemon & olive groves. There are some super nice places to stay around Monterosso including Agriturismo’s in the hinterland which we use in our tours now, just to add to the local experience.
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Monterosso is known all over the world for its uniqueness, it’s a colourful town clinging onto the cliff & facing the rugged beauty of the rocky shores, historically renown as a fisherman village and still serving some of the best seafood fresh from the fishermen daily.

The Cinque Terre is where one of our tours is based and we meet some amazing producers of local product, participate in cooking classes and travel the region discovering the Italian Lifestyle, more details at http://www.wineandfoodtraveller.com/grouptour/get/Cinque-Terre-Spectacular

Posted by Bruco 22:27 Archived in Italy Tagged travel of towns italy walks tour coastal terre seafood visit cinque agriturismo oil olive wines regions terre. Comments (0)

Five Days in Puglia Italy.

A special Italian wine and food experience

[/b]An opportunity to visit this magical region only took 30 seconds to say Yes, lets do it. As i am preparing to run tours , food & wine tours to be precise, i made contact with some specialists in the Puglia region to make sure our time was well spent.
We were in London and the only opportunity to fly at short notice was with Ryan Air . If ever there is was an airline that understands Customer service, it is definitely NOT Ryannair. This journey could have destroyed our 5 days in Paradise, it didn't, my only lesson learnt, spend a little more and avoid Ryanair , plan ahead and find another airline. Anyway enough of that.
We flew into Bari , collected a car with a dodgy GPS, and drove the 100 k's down the coast to Martina Franca a gorgeous hilltop town in the Itria Valley. As with all trips we have done in Italy, you cannot rely on GPS to tell you " you have reached your destination" most of these towns are made up of roads made at best for the little fiats and the 3 wheeled Ape Piaggio's. Luckily (at 11pm ) some staff from a little cucina just closing up let us through a labyrinth of lane-ways to our old town accommodation.
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Our car remained on the perimeter of the old part of Martina Franca.
Tuesday morning awakening to this beautiful town and the sounds of activity we are back to try to find the car , a delicious breakfast then on the road in daylight this time heading back to Bari to meet our host for the next couple of days. GPS totally confused and heading us South rather than North, ( maybe a preferred route?) is relegated to the bench and replaced by Google Maps, and a little help from the community police who escorted us into Bari and the waterfront, perfect .
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we start our day of food and wine with a visit to Decarlo Olive Oil in Bitritto, Puglia The De Carlo family is olive oil; their passion and hard work are inspiring. They own 120 Ha in one of Puglia’s greatest and most historic zones, Terre di Bari. They live in the ancient village of Bitritto that is home to thousands of ancient olive trees planted primarily to Coratina and Ogliarola Barese. The family has produced olive oil since the 1600s but in the 1970s Saverio De Carlo blazed a path to quality that no one else was willing to take. The result of his work is evident in the family’s success as the estate has grown into, hands down, one of the world’s greatest producers of olive oil.
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then we head into Bitonto a city and comune in the province of Bari, Italy. It is nicknamed the "City of Olives", due to the numerous olive groves surrounding the city. Interesting to note that a lot of locally produced olive oil was shipped to Tuscany and sold as Tuscan oil. A local story but maybe a true one
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We are here to taste Bocconotto A bocconotto is a pastry typical of the Italian regions of Apulia, Abruzzo, and Calabria. It is often eaten at Christmas. Its filling varies according to the region in which it is produced. The traditional one we tried was a combo of ricotta & lemon.
in another street we taste the local focaccia , very local and the oldest producer in the town.

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Its only lunchtime, but a very important time of day where ever you are in Italy. And finding hidden gems unless you are in the know and travelling with a local will be difficult. Today we are to be introduced to one of the finest Slow Food osteria's in Puglia. Perbacco is dedicated to the slow food movement and has the accolades and awards to show for it. Maybe 22 seats, incredibly well priced and oh so good. Its no wonder they all take extended time out for this ritual. Lunch was a tasting selection of Octopus, Flan of scrimp & riccotto , grano arso, a local burnt wheat pasta with bacon & tomato.
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After a wonderful lunch and discussions about the slow food movement in Italy we headed South to Polignano to discover this beautiful coastal town about 30 minutes from Bari. this gem of an Italian beach town is situated on the edge of a craggy ravine, high above the electric-blue ocean. Home to humans since prehistoric times, Polignano oozes charm to this day. Its collection of stone streets, pleasant piazzas and mysterious sea caves practically begs you to come and explore.
Polignano's dark, shadowy grottoes were home to people in the Neolithic era. The town later fell to Norman conquerors, and various families feuded over the village until the 19th century.
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We have time here to explore some of the tiny streets, missing of tourists at this time of day and just locals chatting in their little groups as they have done for hundreds of years.And as have many before us we visit the famous Gelateria for some scoops of a delicacy a coffee gelato from heaven, definitely worth the visit. I think the gelato was Hazelnut & Pistachio and a liqueur coffee , excellently refreshing!!

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Now, Red Bull uses Polignano's soaring cliffs for its Cliff Diving World Series, and visitors from around the world come for shops, a beach club and a gelateria so authentically local. The beach is part of the illustrious Costa dei Trulli, a collection of coastlines that meet high standards for water quality and environmental excellence.
Back in Martina Franca for passagienta , a walk round the old hill top town centre, looking for one of the local specialties, butcher shops that change at night time to BBQ intensely flavored local beef, unfortunately we were too late, a pity as this is a very local experience and you need to know who is doing it on what nights. Not a vegetarians choice, but next time we will do it.
After an amazing day we walked the winding cobbled streets back to our little white house , a little lemoncello along the way ,helping sleep come quickly.
Day 2, and its market day in Martina Franca but first we walk the perimeter of the old city. The markets are huge , but dominated by clothing and other assorted "fashion" items, so if you are looking for the Farmers markets head right through to the far side from the central Piazza.
there is the area the size of a football field with a really good selection of local produce, or certainly Puglia grown and produced.
We picked up some delicious local cheeses , Marzicota, Galbari Gorgonzola, and Burrata of course.

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Here is a list of when and where every market takes place in Puglia.
Every day
Altamura, piazza Matteotti. Mainly fruits and vegetables
Taviano, fruits, vegetables and flowers
Mondays
Andria, Vieste,Lecce ,Laterza
Tuesdays
Monopoli, piazza Vittorio Emanuele
Sant'Agata di Puglia, corso Vittorio Emanuele II
Morciano di Leuca, piazza San Giovanni,Massafra
Wednesdays
Palo de Colle, corso Garibaldi,Manfredonia, via Scaloria,Gallipoli, viale Bari,Martina Franca, campo Boario and piazza d'Angio
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Thursdays
Alberobello,Brindisi,Mattinata,Porto Cesareo,Grotteglie, via Marconi
Fridays
Locorotondo, via Roma and corso Garibaldi,Torchiarolo,San Giovanni Rotondo, corso Nazionale,Taurisano,Faggiano, via Scandebeg
Saturdays
Castellana Grotte,Ceglie Messapico ,Apricena,Matino,Monteparano
Sundays
Casalvecchio di Puglia
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Other than food there are streets of clothing stalls, and how the local shops compete is beyond me, although the market stalls are very local in the fashion stakes.
We checked the markets on Thursday at Alberobello, and they were smaller overall , but still worth a visit.

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After a lunch time spread of the goodies from the market , washed down with a glass of Bambina Bianca, we head out on a truly excellent adventure.

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We drive through the beautiful countryside past bleached hilltop towns like Locorotondo perched high on a dominant hill, enroute for Alberobello possibly the best town to view the Trulli culture
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A trullo is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Apulia. Trulli were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small proprietors or agricultural labourers. In the town of Alberobello, in the province of Bari, whole districts are packed with trulli. The golden age of trulli was the 19th century, especially its final decades marked by the development of wine growing.

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Then we move on to Noci , yet another town with a beautiful walled town centre, more exploring, then on to meet another local food expert in Gioia del Colli, for another lesson in local history, dairy products and where to find the best local cuisine. Angelo Colluccia has supplied all the following information.
If Puglia is one of Italy’s best kept secrets, then Gioia del Colle qualifies as one of it’s hidden jewels – literally!

Gioia del Colle is a little town in the heart of Puglia, strategically located half way between the Ionian and Adriatic seas to the east and west, and between the cities of Bari and Taranto to the north and south. Its name comes from the legend of a Queen who, having found a cache of buried jewels, had them made into a necklace, thus giving Gioia it’s name of ‘Jewels of the Neck’.
Typical foods from the area include mozzarella cheese, for which Gioia is justly famous in producing some of the best tasting varieties you will find, red and white wines, extra virgin olive oil, orechiette (small pasta shapes resembling little ears) and, believe it or not, pan-fried olives which have a taste not unlike aubergines!

Gioia is also the birthplace of the increasingly popular Primitivo wine. Local history records a 17th century Benedictine monk finding the first vines in the gardens of his monastery (now Gioia’s Police headquarters) and later planting them in the surrounding fields. Primitivo is increasingly popular in the UK, and is already a favourite in the United States, via its genetic twin Zinfandel, which is grown in California.

Today, a host of small family owned businesses harvest, bottle and sell their own excellent private Primitivo labels, many producing no more than 15,000 bottles a year.

Gioia also shares in the Puglian tradition of producing what is acknowledged to be some of the best olive oil in Italy, its quality attributed to the unique iron-rich soil of the land, the particular climate which sees dry summers and wet winters, and the long tradition of producing a product that unites advanced technology and equipment to centuries-old traditional methods of workmanship.
Its late in the day, but we find time to accompany our host to one of the local cheese specialty shops and come away with the most amazing selection of Burrata's , mozarellas, cheese rolled with prosciutto, and an incredible ricotta. Masseria Cevello is
Mr. Michele Spinelli and his wife Carmela Picerna after years of working as farmers in a company with a short chain, have given rise to this dairy that takes name Masseria Corvello, from the district where it is located its own farm, where there are herds of cattle from which the milk is obtained for the production of fresh dairy products. The dairy is very modern and produces high quality, provolone sweet, spicy provolone, mozzarella, mozzarella stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella rolls, hard cheese scamorza, and other delights. Definitely coming back . Some of the best cheeses I have tasted.

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Another wonderful day exploring Puglia. We will be back in this region of Puglia tomorrow.

Wi Fi is not easy in the heavily walled houses so we started Wednesday trying to pick up on wi fi connections outside one of the trattoria's we had visited earlier in the trip. A breakfast in the Piazza and we are off again.
We head to Andria, another town producing an amazing array of products, Olive Oil, and cheeses .

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this taken from the history website for Olanda;
'in the hills of the Apulian Murgia adjoining the manor Federiciano of Castel del Monte, in the municipality of Andria where Michael Holland and his wife Carmela breeders and milk producers, give birth in 1988 to the Netherlands dairy artisan family, devoting their entire family experience farmers and cheese makers in the processing of milk and dairy products, carefully selecting the raw materials, ensuring product quality.
Since then the family Netherlands devotes with passion and commitment to the craft of milk, respecting the traditions and carefully selecting the right ingredients.

We are in time to watch the daily production of the wonderful Buratta, all done by hand, and take note of the temperature of the water these guys are working in, one chap has been doing this daily for the past 43 years. ( check his hands out in the pic)

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Most of their product is used locally, but in recent times the export trade has grown remarkably.

We are heading out of Andria to try some of the best Organic wine in the region. Giancarlo Ceci
In the surroundings of Andria, near Bari in Apulia, at an altitude of 250 metres a.s.l.,
lies the farm GIANCARLO CECI, run for the last eight generations with the greatest respect for nature and traditions... The vineyards are situated just above the famous Italy boot on the Adriatic Sea, an area that is perfectly suited for the production of fine wines. For eight generations and 200 years, the Ceci family has cultivated the land with the greatest respect for nature and traditions.

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The Mediterranean climate, the location amidst a landscape of low hills, the presence of oak woods, the non-intensive cultures contribute to preserve the biodiversity and the precious balance of this ecosystem. The farm experienced a significant upturn in 1988 when Giancarlo Ceci upon his return from agricultural school, converted the acreage to organic. He developed the AGRINATURA brand, focusing his efforts on innovation, quality and operation of a full-scale fresh produce growing, packing and shipping facility, along with organic olive oil, which is grown, pressed and packed on site.

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Giancarlo Ceci with AGRINATURA was a pioneer in growing and marketing organic products and was one of the first certified organic producers in Italy. In 2000, new grape vines were planted over an area of 70 hectares and the first organic wine production took place in 2004. The vineyard received USDA organic certification in 2006.

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The winery is equipped with vast cellars for the aging of the wine underneath the 400+ year-old family mansion. With an eye toward innovation,
Ceci is working on a proprietary method of producing top quality wines without any sulfites added which will allow future sales of 100% organic wines . The resulting award-winning wines are sold throughout Europe, and selected local varieties are available in the United States, under the Castel del Monte DOC/DOCG label. All Ceci’s wines are organic, moreover the Bombino Bianco Panascio, the Parchitello Bombino Nero Rosato and Almagia Rosso are organic and biovegan, that means that no animal finings are used.
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time for a special lunch, just down the road from the Ceci family wines at Montegrosso is Antichi Sapori. Here is what I wrote on Trip Advisor after our visit , the dishes just kept coming, the flavours incredible, in the middle of nowhere, you have to be in the know, otherwise you would never find it, nor would you think to find a place like this where it is.
[i]“Possibly the best meal I have eaten in Italy”
5 of 5 starsReviewed October 16, 2015
Absolutely outstanding
A 30 seat osteria practising the best in slow cooking
A blackboard shows what was picked from his massive garden that morning and a team of 8 & directed by Chef Peitro they prepare the best of regional/ local dishes with pride and passion
Andria is a tiny community 30 kl inland from Bari and not far from Trani
Definitely seek this out but book in advance its full every day

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Posted by Bruco 19:14 Archived in Italy Tagged food markets travel of restaurants italy tours wine group farmers oil olive cheeses martina puglia frança italy. Comments (0)

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