Puglia, the region based in the ‘heel of Italy’, is a lovely rural part of Italia, with proper rural charm and excellent produce. Two of the star foodie delights produced here are wine and olive oil.
I got to spend a few days in Puglia last October, enjoying its gorgeous food and learning a lot about the wine making in the region. One of the most famous Puglian wines is Negroamaro (used to make robust reds and lovely rosés) and Primitivo (a close genetic twin Zinfadel of California).
The tradition in Puglia has always been to focus on red wines, however white wines are now also being produced here.
Our first stop on our trip was at the impressive Cantine Due Palme, a really big cooperative winery which is leading the way in Puglian wine production. Founded in 1989, the winery now works with grapes from over 400 regional growers combining over 2400 Ha of vineyard holdings. The winery produces 25 labels, one of which, the Selvarossa Riserva has recently been awarded “3 Bicchieri” – 3 Glasses – by the renound bible of Italian Cusine and Wine “Il Gambero Rosso”. If you’re interested in trying some of their wines, you can order some here via Puglia Shop Online.
Our second stop was at the Cantina San Donaci, one of the most ancient wineries of the Salento country, which was founded in 1933. Here, we visited the ancient wine cellars underneath the main building – really impressive and beautifully haunting. At the subsequent wine tasting, we got to try their wines, including the lovely soft and dry Anticaia and the really full-bodied and sweet Contrada del Falco (both of which I’ve had shipped to the UK because I liked them so much). Puglia Shop Online has a good selection of San Donaci wines here.
Now, the region’s olive oil is just as impressive as its wines. In fact, the region produces more Extra Virgin Olive Oil than any other region in Italy. It makes sense: when driving through Puglia you seem to be crossing an endless landscape of knobbly olive trees. The most ancient ones can be found in Latiano, where some of the trees are hundreds of years old.
In San Pietro Vernotico, we visited the ‘Oil Bar Ciomba‘, which is selling local olive oil and products made with olives and olive oil. I particularly enjoyed the green olive tapenade, which has a slightly spicy kick.
So, flick through the photo slideshow below to see my impressions of these beautiful products.
If you want to sample some of these amazing wines or olive oils, you can order some at Puglia Shop Online. Nick and Mike, who run the shop are lovely UK expats who have made Puglia their home and are promoting regional products.
MY OTHER ARTICLES ON PUGLIA: