The biggest thing about Italian food is the freshness of the ingredients. The tomatoes seem redder, the carrots seem more orange.
I showed Adu what photos I wanted to include in this post and he laughingly said everyone will think we ate our way around Italy over the month. Well, we didn’t really, but we did eat out six times and each experience except for one was amazing.
Italian food was so much cheaper than food in the UK. The same can be said for wine.
The freshest of vegetables are available in local grocery stores. We did big shops at Lidl and Penny and the taste of the tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and celery was just wonderful.
I also found it interesting how items are handled in the bakery. You use a spatula to pick the item up and lift it to the side. You then pick it up with your hands and this ensures that you don’t touch anything else. A fresh baguette costs 45 cents.
There was a great variety of cheeses, salami, and fresh pasta.
I made this wonderful seafood marinara spaghetti with a fresh 400g seafood mix that cost 4 Euro, plus fresh spaghetti, some tinned tomatoes, and garlic. I think it was one of the tastiest but easiest dishes I have ever cooked.
We also tried lots of different fresh pasta at the house with salads.
On the second afternoon, we walked the streets of San Vito looking for an open restaurant. We had not had lunch but nothing was open yet for dinner. We didn’t yet realise the strange times Italian shops follow. We went to a small pizza place and had this wonderful buffalo mozzarella salad set in a bowl made of focaccia and two pizzas. It was our first taste of Italian pizza and it was just wonderful. Simple, fresh and tasty. The dough just tastes different!
Two of our meals whilst we were exploring were seafood based. With Puglia having such an abundance of coastline the fish and calamari is very fresh. We went to a recommended place in Polignano a Mare and we shared the swordfish and the mixed seafood.
Interestingly Italians eat multiple courses as the norm. Often starter one, starter two, and then the main and then dessert, and then coffee.
But they have an espresso or two and a croissant for breakfast, then a big lunch and a very small supper. We only ever ate a main course at lunch.
When we went to the Poetry cave, we stopped at a seafood restaurant. Again, I was amazed at the platefuls of food that people ate. The couple next to us was eating something strange and I discovered they were sea urchins. I asked the waiter if I could have one but sadly you had to order a minimum of 20. They are meant to be very salty. I rather settled for very fresh, delicious calamari.
On another day the small town we visited had very few places open (we are getting further into low season). The place we stopped at had tramezzini, focaccia, and cold meats. They bought us this plate to share for 9 Euro and proudly told us everything was fresh and local.
Lastly again let me mention yummy pizza. We ate pizza at a tiny restaurant Civico27 in Locorontondo. Mine was just wonderful and Adu said it was the best four cheeses he had tasted. We also got pizza takeaways from a shop in San Vito. I had porcini mushroom, mozarella, gorgonzola, and some nuts. Adu had a piquante salami one. I proudly managed to order both in a place where no English was spoken.
Interestingly there are three different taxes on each grocery bill:
4% tax on milk, vegetables, fruit, bread, butter, and cheese.
10% tax on toiletries, meat, cereal, yoghurt, cream, coffee, and tea.
22% tax on alcohol.
We also cooked several dishes at the house which were chicken based. They were chicken with spinach inside and chicken with mushroom, similar to chicken cordon bleu Italian style. They cost around 2.20 Euro for four (two meals). 1kg chicken fillet was 8.55 Euro. 400g Beef mince was 4.79. Milk was 89 cents for one litre.
I am a typical Taurean. I love my food and wine. Italy was a wonderful food experience!