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.
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.
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.
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
Verdure de’estate assise in cesto di pecorino
Wilted summer vegetables in a basket of sheeps cheese
Polpette di melanzane alla menta
Little balls of eggplant (aubergines) with mint
Alici indorate e fritte e alici marinate in rosso con aneto
Fried anchovies and marinated anchovies with wild fennel sauce
Nashtri integrali con zucchine, fiorilli e salsa allo zafferano
Handmade noodles with zucchini, zucchini flowers and saffron sauce
Dolce amaro al caffè
Sweet and bitter cake
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.
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.