Thursday, March 15, 2012

Old has a new meaning in Italy!


When Americans visit an historic city or site in the USA, we think old is 300 years, but when you walk the streets of any village or town in Italy you are walking in History!     Imagine there are no cars or motor bikes and you can see the streets as they were hundred and hundreds of years ago....


This week Yle takes us on a stroll in the streets of Puglia........dream of your next visit home to Italy
Stroll the streets of Puglia
I’ve just come back from a tour with some English friends around Puglia.      Although I live here it is always such a fun experience to explore with new friends and meet lovely folks on the way.
When my English friends  first contacted me via email some months ago,   they asked for a relaxing holiday in this paradise they had heard about (in the press) but never visited before , so I sent them some pictures and descriptions on what their accommodations and days could look like. 
It was immediate love from both sides.   Part of my job consists of matching the customer's needs to the holiday of their dreams......and this was the case.           A very nice country house was the right accommodation for them from there they could easily explore the region.  
 During one of their special tours I decided to join them and share the Puglia surprise for that day.    They had rented a couple of cars at Brindisi airport and there was place for me to drive with them in one of the cars.    There was a wine expert in my car asking me many questions about our Negroamaro wine.        I very often suggest guests rent a car because with a good map they can navigate the twisting roads and see the gorgeous countryside and little villages of Puglia.       
Can you imagin yourself on the cliff viewing the sea?
We left from the country house soon after breakfast and focused specifically on the Itria valley Tour until joining some friends for lunch  not far from Bari, in a village called Mola di Bari where there’s their gorgeous Country House called “Tenuta Pinto“.  
The Itria Valley area is very nice:   it encompasses the provinces of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto and has distinctive architectural features better known as Trulli. A Trullo (singular)  is a conical shaped stone roof designed to cool in summer and insulate in winter.      Our friends took hundreds of pictures on the way and  stopped often to exploring.

We had an invitation for lunch in Mola di Bari, nevertheless I thought that my friends would  enjoy  the experience of shopping for food from the local market in this area and visiting one of the best fish markets.  
One of the group was a professional photographer and was just amazed at being inspired by so many colors and items at the same time: multicolored doors, ancient furniture details, restaurant and shop signs, daily life scenes,  hundreds of olive groves and unique scenes at the food market.

As soon as we arrived in  Mola di Bari, we met Isa and Domenico, two Puglia natives who cultivate amazing frui – mainly a kind of grape called “Victoria Grape” – and who have recently opened their own Country House Tenuta Pinto.  
With them we are planning grape harvesting (vendemmia) starting August 2012, so should you be interested in experiencing a grape harvest first hand,  just let us know.
see this link for the wonderful lunch prepared:

Isa, the “mamma” of the property is a beautiful young Puglia woman with a strong passion for cooking:    as soon as our guests entered  the property they were speechless! Not only it was the weather nice and warm, but Isa had been prepared some amazing local specialties.
First bruschetta, properly made: ruby tomatoes mashed into garlic scrubbed toast.    Favorites in the  antipasti were anchovies drenched in the olive oil, octopus and sweet mussels, peppers and aubergines, sun dried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, Martina Franca’s capocollo (salami), pettole and panzarotti (potato croquettes).

While my friends were filling their dishes with all those glorious antipasti I tried to explain to them that it was but the beginning of the meal, what we call “antipasti” and that they better leave some room for pasta to come soon after!

Isa had made fresh pasta herself and seasoned it with fresh pendula tomatoes, fresh cacioricotta cheese and basil.      Domenico, her husband who is a tall and generous man, agriculture expert and fruit producer, wasconstantly caring for the wine.....so that my friends could taste three kinds of local wines throughout  the meal.      Chillies were added on the table for those who wanted to make it more spicy!

The second dish was a delicious “frittura mista”: I saw my friends very busy  stuffing down as many tender squids as possible (the lemons she used, came from their garden and were amazing).     Jennifer asked Isa for the recipe for making homemade limoncello with those lemons and before leaving Isa and Domenico gave her many super yellow lemons.
To finish our beautiful meal, Domenico surprised the guests with a refreshing lemon sorbet and gelato.   

The owners at Tenuta Pinto are very friendly and make your stay over time very nice and relaxing. After lunch and having set “al fresco” watching the beautiful colors of their garden and heard stories about this part of Puglia, we headed to Polignano a Mare altogether for a walk. 

It was already late afternoon  when we got back to Salento.  Our friends were so happy and could only talk about the many things they had visited during that day.

Another beautiful day in Puglia my friends. To spend together.

If you want to book your accommodation or cooking class/lunch at Tenuta Pinto, Domenico and Isa can be contacted as follows:


Tenuta Pinto          Country House in Puglia

See you next Sunday for a new lovely Puglia story.

Buona Domenica!

yle












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