After four or five years in Tuscany, we’re heading out to greener pastures—or I should say fresher olive groves—to continue exploring great extra-virgins, great cheeses, great wines, and the fabulous cuisines of the rest of Italy.
Our first stop? Puglia!
The heel of the boot and incidentally home to 60 million olive trees and more than half the oil produced in all of Italy. We’re planning two trips, in October and again in November of 2014, to introduce you to the olive harvest and the culinary delights of a region I first wrote about back in the 1990s and have been visiting regularly ever since.
And Puglia has so much to offer! Landscape, history, food, wine, and above all else the wonderfully welcoming people of this region that’s often called, with good reason, the California of Italy.
We’ll gaze on groves of monumental centuries-old olive trees and taste magnificent oils from coratina, ogliarola and other local cultivars; we’ll learn how oil used to be produced (under ground!) and how the best modern practices create fine oils characteristic of the region today. But that’s not all: Because Puglia is also a granary for high-quality hard durum wheat, we’ll visit one of Italy’s premium pasta producers and we’ll learn from a master chef how to make traditional pastas by hand, using grainy durum semolina.
We’ll taste wines from deep dark primitivo, close cousin to California zinfandel, to fresh flowery whites from Locorotondo, we’ll dine in trulli, the white-stone domed architecture so typical of the region, and in al fresco seafood restaurants along the Adriatic coast, and we’ll top it all off with a splendid meal in a traditional fornello pronto (and you’ll learn what that means when you get to Vituccio’s).
We’ll be staying in a stunningly restored masseria, a farmhouse complex just outside Martina Franca where we’ll enjoy everything from cooking classes to opportunities to relax around the pool to hiking the surrounding woodlands.
Stay tuned for more information about Puglia—and don’t forget, Sicily is right around the corner and a new exciting venue in Tuscany is on the horizon.
There’s always more to do, taste, experience, and learn with AmorOlio!