Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday with Yle in Lecce, Puglia: the Chocolate Festival!

This Sunday we find Yle at the chocolate festival in Lecce!   Almost everyone loves chocolate and now you can experience the trill through Yle's description.
You can almost smell and taste the wonderful treasures she finds at the festival....
Our guide, Yle
What would life look like without chocolate?
By Ylenia Sambati
 
This will be a very special Sunday! Since my awaking I knew that tons of chocolate were right calling me in the main “Piazza” (Square) of Lecce, my beautiful baroque city. An event totally devoted to chocolate in any possible shape and made by artisans from all around Italy. I was excited like a little girl..chocolate is a very important part of my daily food program..every night after dinner – Love it! – I have a little “quadratino” of dark chocolate so as you can imagine this event in my town meant a lot of joy and caloric photos to me
              
                                                                                                           Before heading  to the
Piazza, I went to the Sunday farmer market to shop for some fresh vegetables (and balance a good salad with a big chocolate dessert). There are several Sunday farmer markets actually, it’s always up to you were to shop: a couple are in town and some others by the ocean. This time I decided to visit the one in town because I did not want to waste time and go to the choco market as soon as possible.
On my way to the Piazza, I enjoyed another delicious break with a cappuccino and a “cornetto”, just like the typical Italian breakfast usually is. It is always difficult to choose a bar for breakfast in Italy because most of the time they display irresistible things!
Because spring is not that far – despite the snow in Italy – my attention was captured by some lovely bikes on sale. We have wonderful itineraries in the countryside or by the ocean – although a bike ride amidst the Leccese baroque stone is a must - and a bike ride is always a good idea to stay fit, breath some uncontaminated air and take the chance to stop in little coloured villages. I will probably contact the number on the sign and ask the price of this old bike.
I walked to the Piazza and what my eyes saw was unbelievable: any shape and kind of chocolate with plenty of artisans asking all the same question:
          “would you like to taste?"  
My first (of many) stops was in front of a giant Rocher, something the kind boy cut like parmesan although it was chocolate.
Probably my enthusiasm was contagious on that shape because several people stopped and even without tasting it they just bought!
Next to me there were some Chinese tourists that I supposed were going to take hundreds of pictures, but I can honestly promise, they were more interested in tasting than anything else (so did I).
Romantic chocolate is another good excuse to eat it and choco hearts were actually all around me.  Legend has that Valentine’s Day is for lovers and I always suggest to my friends to offer chocolate rather than flowers.

There was also the Romeo and Juliet’s balcony in chocolate version. Very cute..and many more chocolate hearths that I personally bought to offer to friends.     
Much to my pleasure I found an artisan from Sicily selling cannoli, cassatine and arancini and it was here that I spent quite a lot of time. I love Sicilian accent which is actually very similar to our Salento accent (we stress a lot on vowels and are very passionate when we talk) and I really wanted to know more about cannoli. I was told that the only true unique cannoli are from Sicily – and I agreed of course – and that the ricotta cream inside should be only sheep ricotta and not any other kind. I did not know that and found it very interesting.





Of course while talking I was distracted by all these incredible cannoli, cassatine and arancini all tempting me and could only think of buying them. I was also told that arancini (round ball of rice filled with peas and meat) can also be vegetarian – which made me very happy – filled with spinach and mozzarella. I phoned my mom in a break and told her I was in front of cannoli and more delicious things and she immediately asked me to shop and bring them home! I bought a good number of them for my mum and auntie (because I know she adores them), then a couple of cassatine, and three arancini in all (one of them vegetarian of course).
Candy Pops!

Just time to turn my back and another choco artisan was looking in my direction with a big smile on his face that could only be an invitation..how many stops already? Three lovely ladies were selecting their chocolates with some shoppers with their hands full of bread and mandarins. The artisan told me: "you want to taste dark or milk chocolate signorina…and please have a look at our cremini, delicious”.  

It was just a little slice of heaven. The choco scenery around me was unbelievable. It was simply beautiful.  While continuing shopping for chocolate I met two lovely friends who had had the same idea and we shared suggestions on what to taste and buy – awesome Sunday choco talk – they were more focused on milk chocolate with nuts and praline


 It was a fun experience. I actually got in a long walk through the beautiful narrow streets of the historical centre and head to a book shop (felt keen on buying a nice book) and drink a cup of coffee with my friends. I love book shops especially when they are cozy places where you can look for your book in tranquility and selects among hundreds of titles. I found many books in English on Puglia cooking, most of them written by American foodies, but also some very interesting ones written by local chefs. It was very sweet. Puglia cooking, most of them written by American foodies, but also some very interesting ones written by local chefs. It was very sweet.
My lovely Sunday ended up in a wine bar next to the book shop, a really nice place to meet friends and relax.
Gotta love waking up in Puglia.                                                     Ciao Ciao see you next Sunday!
scan with a smart phone to learn about yltourcongressi!
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Yltour Slow Life and Culinary Paradise in Puglia


 



 

                                        




                                              
  

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