Aug 202013

Not surprisingly, many of our favorite memories of Italy involve food – fresh, scrumptious, creatively prepared and beautifully presented dishes. I’ve posted about some of those experiences in Emilia-Romagna and Puglia already, but there’s much more to share.

In Ostuni (“The White City”), one of the picturesque hill towns of Italy’s Puglia region, we stayed at Masseria Il Frantoio where exceptional gourmet multi-course dinners were served in its lovely courtyard. Masserias are countryside lodgings in former farm house communities, unique to the Puglia region. We’ll talk about more about them in future posts.

"Masseria Il Frantoio in Ostuni, Italy"

Masseria Il Frantoio at dusk

Surrounded by colorful bougainvillea, lush plants and trees blowing in the balmy breeze, we enjoyed each course, paired with fine wines from local vineyards and described to us by owner Armando Balestrazzi and staff.

"In the courtyard of Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni, Puglia"

In the courtyard of Masseria Il Frantoio

Armando’s wife, Rosalba, runs the kitchen, constantly creating new recipes. The ingredients for the dishes are all sourced locally, most from the masseria’s herb and vegetable gardens, and expansive ancient olive groves with centuries-old trees.

"Masseria Il Frantoio olive grove in Ostuni, Italy"

Masseria Il Frantoio olive grove

The short version of the meals (basically five courses, instead of seven) were served over a two-hour period, the full dinner extending the meal about another hour. It was a luxurious dining experience under the skies.

Would you like a taste?

Panzerottini con ricotta e bietoline selvatiche
Fried pasta with ricotta and wild swiss chard

"Panzerottini con ricotta e bietoline selvatiche"

Panzerottini con ricotta e bietoline selvatiche

Verdure de’estate assise in cesto di pecorino
Wilted summer vegetables in a basket of sheeps cheese

"Verdure de'estate assise in cesto di pecorino"

Verdure de’estate assise in cesto di pecorino

Polpette di melanzane alla menta
Little balls of eggplant (aubergines) with mint

"Polpette di melanzane alla menta"

Polpette di melanzane alla menta

Alici indorate e fritte e alici marinate in rosso con aneto
Fried anchovies and marinated anchovies with wild fennel sauce

"Alici indorate e fritte e alici marinate in rosso con aneto"

Alici indorate e fritte e alici marinate in rosso con aneto

Nashtri integrali con zucchine, fiorilli e salsa allo zafferano
Handmade noodles with zucchini, zucchini flowers and saffron sauce

"Nashtri integrali con zucchine, fiorilli e salsa allo zafferano"

Nashtri integrali con zucchine, fiorilli e salsa allo zafferano

Dolce amaro al caffè
Sweet and bitter cake

"Dolce amato al caffè"

Dolce amato al caffè

Sorry, I took a bite before taking the photo. Who could resist? The cake was accompanied by one of 35 special liquers made at the masseria with diverse, exotic flavorings.

Buona Sera!

"Masseria Il Frantoio courtyard at night"

Courtyard at night

After such a delightful meal, a good night’s sleep would seem in order. Or perhaps a festival. More to come.

For more information about the inn and restaurant: Masseria Il Frantoio

Our thanks to Puglia Promozione for hosting our Puglia experience.

We’re linking this post to Marcia Mayne’s “Foodie Tuesday” series this week. Check out more gastronomic articles at Inside Journeys. We’re also contributing this post to Nancie McKinnon’s Budget Traveler’s Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday. Enjoy other links to photos and stories on her site, too.

  42 Responses to “A Taste of Ostuni at Masseria Il Frantoio”

  1. Wow, what a really nice experience, and those samplers, yes I definitely would love to try them, now how do I get my cyber sample?

  2. Cathy, the noodles, vegetables on bed of sheep cheese and fried pasta look amazing. I’m not usually much a desert eater (every now and then) but that sweet and bitter cake looks amazing! I would have absolutely tried that! 🙂

    • When I’m home, I don’t usually have dessert after dinner (after lunch is another story). But on this trip, I couldn’t resist.

  3. In Italy, it’s all about food, isn’t it?
    Everything looks fresh and light and appetizing and so beautifully presented.
    Thanks for linking up this week, Cathy!

    • The presentation was wonderful. It was also a nice change to have the dinner so leisurely paced so that we could really savor the dinner.

  4. What a lovely place and the food looks delicious

  5. Zucchini and pasta – lovely combination!

  6. Fried pasta with ricotta and wild Swiss chard please! But it all looks delightful, she says contemplating two ryvita with cottage cheese for lunch.

  7. Not fair. I put myself on Weight Watchers today — just to get into fighting (er, eating) form for our trip to New Mexico at the end of September. Everything looks amazing (and in reasonably sized portions) — except I might have skipped the anchovy course. Or maybe I would have given them another try just because of their presentation. Did they say how old the olive grove was? Those trees look like they’ve been around for awhile.

    • The average age of the trees in their grove is about 700!! The oldest is about 1000 years old. I was totally surprised.

  8. OMG! I think I just gained two pounds reading this post. Yummy it must have been. That town looks like our kind of place!

  9. I am in awe of ancient trees, especially olive trees because they produce for such a long time. Even when times are poor they sustain the people. The courtyard at night is my favourite photo – I want to teleport myself there.

    • That courtyard was a lovely setting for lovely meals. I was really surprised about how old the trees are (avg 700 yrs old) and that they actually produce so long. Very cool. 🙂

  10. What can I say? I am practically licking the screen to get a taste of all that fabulous looking food ! :):)

  11. I have read about Masseria Il Frantoio but never stayed there. Now I wish we had!! Dinner looks superb

    • Would love to read about where you stayed.There are quite a few masserias in the area I’d like to try, too.

  12. Delicioso! I’d especially like to try the eggplant fritters and the cake. And so glad you got to attend so many festivals when you were in Italy! They really are the best way to connect with the local culture.

  13. Oh my. I was already hungry when I started reading this. Now I am starving! Can’t wait to have a similar experience when I visit Italy next year.

  14. My mouth is watering. Those dishes look delicious, and it must have been so fresh with the ingredients grown so near by. I’m also impressed that they make so many flavors of liquers at the masseria. Now, I have a hankering for some authentic Italian food.

    • Before heading to Italy, I expected to have some fabulous food, but I was pleasantly surprised by how absolutely fresh everything was — pasta, vegetables, fruits, seafood, etc. ……

  15. Eggplant balls! I need to make these a part of my life.

  16. What a time you had in Italy. Thank God I at least had the odd lobster roll on my travels – but no meals that looked like anything you had. I’d be gaining weight on a trip like this as I wouldn’t be able to say no to anything. I’ve never heard of fried pasta before but it sure looks yummy.

    • Believe me, I did gain weight on this trip even though we were very active every day. — I’m not complaining. 🙂

  17. Hi Cathy, I’d love to stay at one of the masserias! Looks beautiful, earthy and atmospheric — and such a gastronomic heaven! I just finished dinner but your tasting makes me drool. I should tag along with you next time. You seem to find all these places with great eats!

    • We had some excellent help in preparing our itinerary. The concept of the masserias was new to me — they’re unique to the Puglia area. I’d love to experience more of them.

  18. All the food looks beautifully made. I love Italian food and I’m sure I will enjoy these. I’m jealous now 🙂

  19. […] on a few highlights of our trip already with walks around Locorotondo and Cisternino, scrumptious meals in Ostuni and at Balnearea Beach, and the fresh seafood of Bari among other topics. In this post, I wanted to […]

  20. That food looks divine… YUM!

  21. […] multiple purposes of economy, best practices, and control of organic purity. We were reminded of a masseria in the Puglia region of Italy where we stayed last summer which applied these principles at their on-site gourmet […]

  22. […] and stay in rural luxury: Just outside of Ostuni, we stayed in another masseria, Masseria Il Frantoio, in the middle of ancient olive trees, many gnarled with age (hundreds of years old) yet still […]

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