Last summer my dear friends, Stefania and Francesco, invited me to a lunch in the cult OsteriaAntichi Sapori, located in Montegrosso, a bucolic village in Murgia countryside of Apulia region. At the time I was spending my summer holiday in Ostuni, 200 km away from that place, but despite the distance I didn’t hesitate to reach my friends for the lunch, and it was totally worth it.
When we were approaching the restaurant, we were surrounded by the silence that characterises this peculiar countryside, where olive trees stretch for hundreds of meters, interrupted just by vineyards and bounded by long dry-stone walls. In this area the most widespread cultivations are the Coratina olive trees, of which the unique “gold of Apulia” extra-virgin olive oil is made. In addition to that, it is worth mentioning the ancient grapevine Uva di Troia that produces the distinctive Nero di Troia red wine, one of the most known and typical wine of Apulia.
As soon as we arrived at the restaurant we were immediately hooked with this cozy place. We were welcomed by our friends and the cook-owner of the restaurant, Pietro Zito, who told us the story of his Osteria. He proudly wished to mention that he is not a chef but a cook and that he grew up in that village where the restaurant is located, feeling himself part of the landscape.
His philosophy is that “Antichi Sapori kitchen is managed by few simple rules: the love for the traditions, the respect for raw materials, seasonality and the excellence of the ingredients. You can watch the cooks work through a large window overlooking the hall or decide to personally visit the kitchen. Simplicity and genuineness are skills not to be hidden” (cit. Antichi Sapori).
Pietro let us enter his garden which is a biodynamic vegetable garden with Mediterranean scents of thyme and oregano, sage and marjoram and much, much more. This corner of northern Murgia is like a mosaic of biodiversity which he intends to preserve.
The lunch we got to eat was simply delicious, every dish was genuine and tasty. We ended the lunch eating one of the most delicious dessert we ever had: Ricotta and Almond paste Cassatina.
At the end of the day, Pietro gave the children a small bag of homemade caramelised almonds, and we received two of his valuable recipes.
Thanks Pietro and our dear friends, Stefania and Francesco, for inviting us to a such unforgettable day!
If you wish to continue this imaginary journey to Apulia with us, give “Antichi Sapori” recipes a try, without forgetting to pair them with two local wines: Rosè Wine CALAFURIA Tormaresca and Organic Red Wine ALMAGIA di Giancarlo Ceci.
For an intriguing and crispy fall aperitif, WalkingWine street – wineshop has visited Momo’- pescato – e – cucinato, a cosy restaurant, located in a small village named Savelleri and with a view on the Apulian sea.
The young owner of this place, Antonio Legrottaglie, has welcomed the Walkingwine crew with a frittura di pesce e verdure di stagione– a fried fish matched with seasonal vegetables. Walkingwine has paired this light and crispy meal with a glass of Minutolo – white wine – Azienda Pietregiovani, which was appointed by some expert sommeliers as a very intriguing wine.
Chef Antonio goes daily shopping and, based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and his inspiration, he meticulously chooses some ingredients, so that, regularly, some different dishes are added to the menu.
This small place (only 8 m2) is finely furnished with the colours of the sea. Antonio, accompanied by his inseparable fryer, his two induction fires and a small oven, prepares complete menus based exclusively on fish and vegetables. He never forgets to respect the environment: here you get your meal served solely on a biodegradable palm leaf!
The espresso coffee with almond milk syrup is a refreshing iced coffee native to Salento, the most Southern area of the Apulia region. The main city of this peninsula is Lecce, a fascinating and elegant city full of historic palaces and churches in Barocco Leccese style.
Many of the city’s buildings are decorated with friezes, capitals, pinnacles and rosettes, and are made of pietraLeccese. It’s a light brown limestone rock typical in these areas, known for its hardness and its ease of processing.
If you happen to be there, after a walk around the streets of the historical center, take a stop in a Bar in one of the plazas (Piazza Sant’ Oronzo or Piazza Duomo) and taste an iced coffee. We suggest also trying out Il Pasticiotto, a small pasta frolla cake filled with custard cream, as it’s one of the culinarie excellences of Lecce.
The monthly pairing presented by Walkingwine is Spaghetti con le cozze, thekey recipe of Il Veliero restaurant, andEdda Lei, Bianco Salento IGPwhitewine.
IlVeliero is located in Villanova – Marina di Ostuni (Apulia region).
Domenico and MasiettaCaliandro opened the fish restaurant in 2005, after many years of experience both in Italy and abroad.
The restaurant features high quality products, which are chosen every morning in the local fish and vegetable markets by Domenico himself. Beside that, Domenico relies on a rich variety of vegetables grown by Noe’, chef of the restaurant.
In the kitchen, Masietta and her son Davide, together with Chef Noe’, prepare great dishes following the traditional procedures and maintaining ancient tastes.
The Caliandro family revealed their key recipe to Walkingwine, Spaghetti con le cozze (see the recipe below).
Walkingwine paired the dish with a white wine, Edda Lei, ChardonnayBianco Salento IGP which, with its floral notes, it’s the perfect pairing to enhance the taste of the mussels.
Home made Cavatelli are a type of pasta originating from Southern Italian prepared with semolina flour and water. This type of pasta is versatile: its shape and texture mix well with many types of sauces.
For today’s recipe we have seasoned the Cavatelli with shellfish (mussels) and legumes (cannellini), following a traditional Mediterranean – Apulian recipe. The strong flavour of these thin with a tender and floury heart beans goes well with the mussels.
So, roll up your sleeves and let’s prepare the Cavatelli.
The Apulia cuisine, inspired by the Mediterranean diet, features a lot of fresh and local herbs, vegetables, fruits, contains a moderate amount of pasta and bread, and includes a little fish and meat. These wholesome ingredients are all topped with extra virgin olive oil.
The Acquasala, a popular dish in Apulia, is an example of this cuisine. It is not only healthy, as it is prepared with fresh ingredients, it is also relatively easy to make. This dish can be enjoyed perfectly after a long day at the beach.
Remember: this recipe has no exact measurements, so you can add as little or as much of each ingredient as you wish.
This week we want to bring you in the Puglia region, and more precisely in Cisternino town, the heart of Itria Valley. We recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours together with Giorgio and Giuseppe, the owners of Il Cucco Cucina Enoteca, eating delectable food and sipping a glass (or more :-)) of “Nero di Troia” red wine gently suggested by Walkingwine.
This week the Walkingwine 3-wheeler stopped in “The white city” Ostuni – Puglia at Ristorante Porta Nova and paired a Zin – Fiano Salento white wine with a “Black Trofie Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Cuttlefish” dish.
Porta Nova is set on a breathtaking view terrace inside a XV Century Aragonese donjon and it offers a lovely view on the olive trees valley and on the Ostuni shore.
“Passionate, territorial and feminine” is the definition Erika Ciaccia, the chef of this renowned and fine restaurant, gives her cuisine. She offers a cuisine with excellent and local ingredients with an international style.
The restaurant opening by Tonino Ciaccia is dated 1989, and since then Erika loves to spend time with her dad in the kitchen. Her passion grew over time and has been strengthened thanks to a master with Massimiliano Alajmo. the youngest chef to gain 3 Michelin stars. Beside that, Erika went to the finals of “Hell’s Kitchen”, in the Italian television. Since she was 18 years old, Erika is the chef of Porta Nova.
Today she has prepared for us a fish dish that perfectly blends different ingredients and flavours typical of Southern Italy. This dish is enhanced by the distinct personality and structure of Zin – Fiano, as recommended by Walkingwine.