Nestled above the heel on Italy’s boot, Puglia is somewhat of an undiscovered hidden treasure.
Home to orecchiette, burrata and taralli biscuits, Puglia is vastly connected to the food scene. My trip to Puglia and Basilicata was in anticipation of an article I was commissioned to write on Basilicata, a region that come 2019 will be crowned the cultural capital of the year 2019. I travelled with my photographer and right-hand woman Susanna Blavarg who shot my Cookbook. We stayed in a trulli just outside of Ostuni; quite a gem that we found on Airbnb.
This is a brief guide to Puglia, more so for the benefit of the hundreds of you who requested details of the trulli. For obvious reasons, I can’t give too much away, nor show any official photos until the article has been released but below is some information on our stay.
Made from three converted trulli this Airbnb is something quite special. Puglia is home to an abundance of these characterful stone buildings, but a lot of them are still very rustic inside. This particular one we stayed in kept it’s beautiful charm but the inside was renovated impeccably well; keeping it’s rustic character but maintaining an air of ‘chic’.
With a beautiful kitchen and grounds, this was the perfect location to shoot my recipes with Susanna for the magazine.
Aside from the beautiful interiors, there’s also a beautiful outdoor seating area compromising of two areas; one best-suited for sitting down with a drink and the second with a dining table and chairs big enough to seat a party of ten people. If BBQ’s are your thing there’s also an outdoor kitchen; all overlooking the olive trees and stunning unspoilt views of Ostuni.
Ostuni, otherwise known as the ‘White City’ is a beautiful labyrinth of winding streets, home to vintage homeware shops, hole in the wall bars and cave restaurants.
Head to Osteria del tempo perso for dinner in a beautiful cave. Order the truffle ravioli and charred octopus.
Adorning the streets of Ostuni are local men and women making pasta; luring you into the restaurant. Ever one to get my hands dirty we meet Giovanni, the head chef of Enoteca Divino. He teaches me how to roll orecchiette before bringing a huge plate for us to try. Typical to Puglia is orecchiette with rabe (local broccoli), chilli, garlic and parmesan. Simple, delicious and intensely satisfying. Between my basic Italian and his broken English her teaches me how to make two classic pasta shapes and invites us back the next day to sample them. We do so, and he’s very kindly dried out my first ever orecchiette for me to take home. What a gem.
A short drive from Ostuni is Polignano a Mare. A beautiful seaside and cliffside town that resembles the end of the world in the most beautiful way.
At low tide, swimmers dive into the caves beneath the historic buildings, street vendors line the market squares and families scatter the sides of the pavements sipping espressos in the sunshine. This really is the most glorious place and extremely picture worthy.
* * *
Our trip to Puglia was paid for by ourselves. All views are my own. Details of our stay are below.
Ostuni cave restaurant: http://www.osteriadeltempoperso.com