Written by Paola Fiocchi, Director, Passepartout Homes (www.passepartout-homes.com)
Having visited the region of Salento in Puglia for the past 8 years, I can pretty easily assure you, you won’t have a bad gastronomic experience in the heel of Italy.
Wherever you will end up eating, you will be greeted by welcoming hosts and mouth-watering dishes, made with simple ingredients. From starred restaurants to shacks on the beach, Salento knows a thing or two about good, honest food and wine.
Puglia provides most of what Italy consumes. Most of the grains for pasta, fish, olive oil and wine come from here. The region is covered by vast areas of ancient olive trees so it will come as no surprise that Puglia also produces over 70% of Italy’s olive oil (and 15 percent of the world’s olive oil). The region is also producer of 25 DOC wines most of which come from the Salento area.
Some of the region “signature” dishes include “orecchiette” (or “small ears”) because of their resemblance to small ears. Enjoy orecchiette with fresh tomato sauce, basil and strong ricotta cheese. Orecchiette with “cime di rapa” (sort of broccoli) are also a region’s favourite.
For breakfast head to the your local bar where locals enjoy a cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee and warm “pasticciotto” standing at the counter. The best pasticciotti can be eaten in Galatina where Pasticceria Abalone has been creating these pastries since 1745.
You will not get hungry during the day as there are plenty of snacks and appetisers available, including “frittini” , a mix of fried appetisers, “friselle”, a snack made of crunchy dry bread best served dipped in water and topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil and “pucce, a sandwich made of pizza dough and stuffed with cured meat, cheese or vegetables; not to mention the round shaped “tarallini” crackers available in different flavours, excellent with a glass of cold rosé wine on the beach.
Here are my top 5 recommended places to eat in Salento. Spoil alert, expect the lovely aroma of freshly prepared meals and the warm welcome of their owners.
L’Altro Baffo in Otranto, where Chef Cristina Conte will serve you traditional Apulia dishes interpreted in a contemporary key, where tradition meets innovation. Expect freshly made pasta, fresh fish and seasonal ingredients. Our favourite dish is “chitarrine ai “ricci di mare” “, fresh pasta with sea-urchins, for those of you with really fine palates! A family run business located in one of the most scenic spots of Otranto under the shadow of the Aragonese Castle. Reservation highly advisable.
Lo Scalo in Alessano, a historic seafront restaurant built along the rocky coastal route between Tricase and Leuca. Seafood dishes will be prepared according to the catch of the day and served in an enchanting setting by the water. As dessert, excellent is “pasticciotto” with lemon custard. Reservation highly advisable.
Agriturismo Le Site in Corigliano d’Otranto, where most of the ingredients used in the kitchen are cultivated in the Agriturismo’s own fields. Excellent meat and an abundance of vegetables are served by this family run enterprise. Le Site also produces its very own olive oil as well as home-made jam and liquors, available for purchase at the restaurant. Le Site also offers a number of guests rooms for those looking for a lodging.
Cantine Menhir Salento located outside Otranto is a producer of some of the best wines of Salento, including Negroamaro or Primitivo. Here you can also reserve a table at their “Osteria Origano” where excellent traditional Apulia dishes are served. In summer you can dine al-fresco in their Mediterranean garden and may be entertained by live music.
La Porta Antica in Sternatia is a traditional trattoria where excellent pizza, meat and fish dishes can be savoured. Their speciality are the “antipasti” which I highly recommend to try in abundance. Portions are very generous! It is very popular with locals and during the weekend and summer months it can be very crowded. reservations recommended.
Thank you for being part of our family and try one of tour, we really appreciate your custom. We hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed to be with you. Now we would like to offer you the possibility to WIN an EXCLUSIVE bottle of CARLOTTA SPECIAL RESERVE traditional balsamic vinegar worth more than $250.
We suggest to write on TripAdvisor but it does not have to be. You can write it on your blog (please give us a link), on Facebook, Twitter. Just let us know where you have posted it to and we will enter you in the competition.
All you have do to is to write a honest review about the experience you had with Emilia Delizia and you will automatically enter a draw and you will have a chance to win the balsamic vinegar that will be shipped to you directly at home.
Why Carlotta traditional Balsamic vinegar is so Special?
Not all balsamic vinegars are created equal. Carlotta special reserve is a 25 years old traditional balsamic vinegar made at Acetaia Di Giorgio in Modena. It is tradition to start a new batch of vinegar when a baby girl is born, so it did Giorgio when Carlotta was born. In the past the batch would become the girl dowry and she bring it to the new family. Carlotta Special reserve is aged in barrels of different woods such as cherry, mulberry, ash, juniper and the produce won several prizes with the Carlotta balsamic vinegar. It is a truly unique product that will not fail to impress your guest at your next dinner party.
As you have already gathered from Emiliadelizia.com, cooking and cuisine are one of the pillars of Italian culture. So what better way to live and experience the country and the city of Florence than to dive into its culinary secrets? This is what we’re offering to you: a complete tour for your taste buds and a training ground for your hidden cooking abilities with a professional and intriguing cooking lesson that can be booked through our website.
The experience you can book includes:
- A hands-on cooking lesson of 3 hours for 2 people
- A complete menu (wine and coffee included) or a monograph on pasta, pizza, desserts or seafood in the Italian cuisine
- Pamphlets in Italian and English
- A certificate of attendance
If you decide to further make your way into the realms of Italian tradition, there’s the possibility to add an optional market tour with the chef to purchase the ingredients needed before the lesson takes place. This would be a great way to understand and explore tastes, products and options for the optimal cooking situation you’re about to experience with “Condon Bleu”’s cooking school’s professionals. Not only that, because exploring the markets of Florence will prove to be more than a culinary tour, but also a cultural visit among locals, to live the city from a different point of view.
Located in the hearth or Florence, the cooking school is inside a prestigious XVI cetury palace and offers a range of cooking lessons and courses geared towards all kinds of visitors, from locals to tourists looking for an extra way to experience what the city has to offer. And what a way do these cooking lessons offer! Creativity, professionalism and expertise are the motto of the school and the chefs and highly trained staff will ensure you’ll learn the secrets of Italian and Florentine cuisine.
Food Market tour in Florence.
We’ve also mentioned an optional market tour, and our suggestion is to take up on this chance and participate in this adventure among the streets and squares of Florence. Markets in Florence still have even today the same atmosphere of old times, which is definitely worth experiencing, to live up close the vitality and glee of Italian markets, with colors, smells and tastes and a wide range of different people meeting and shopping together.
There are many different markets taking place in Florence, throughout the week, like the Mercato di San Lorenzo, in the square and streets surrounding the Basilica of San Lorenzo in the city’s historical center. In Via dell’Ariento, the market hosts a wide selection of groceries and is the city’s most important market. Other notable examples of interesting markets of Florence are that of Sant’Ambrogio and the one taking place in the Parco delle Cascine.
So, go the extra mile when in Florence and experience the city’s culinary traditions with this extraordinary offer, and learn more about typical Italian cuisine through this cooking lesson. Please enquiry for pricing.
Venice is a unique and picturesque city, with many things to see and experience. If you’re going to visit Venice, you might have looked around online for suggestions on how to truly live the city, and what better way to do as much if not by eating like a local? In Italy, food plays a relevant part in everybody’s everyday life, and this is true for Venice as well. In this article, we’re going to talk about a little something that is typical of Venice, and one of the best ways to experience food and drinks like a local: the bacaro.
The bacaro is a typical venetian pub, which offers aperitifs, drinks, snacks and wines for a very reasonable price. They’re scattered all around Venice and both locals and tourists hang out in the multitude of bacari that dot the city. The term “bacaro” comes from the Latin name of “Bacchus”, the god of wine and harvest. Originally little warehouses the wine makers used to store the barrels of wine, now the bacari are establishments halfway between a tavern and a pub, perfect for a break between sightseeing and to enjoy a quick lunch, snack or evening cocktail.
But the choice when it comes to bacaro is wide, and while you can go wherever you prefer, literally entering the first one you come across, here is a list of the best known ones.
An historical place, located between Campo Santo Stefano and Palazzo Grassi. Here you can also enjoy first courses typical of Venetian cuisine (for a slightly higher price than normal bacaro snacks and drinks), or you can simply drink a ombra (literally “shadow” – white wine on tap) along with some cicchetti. The cicchetti are a tradition in Venice and the term refers to the quick snacks and dishes that can be eaten along with alcoholic drinks. Cicchetti include bruschetta or crouton with toppings but also meatballs, fried fish and more.
Al Prosecco Bacaro
Located in Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, which is not your typical tourist destination inside the city, this bacaro managed to maintain a local atmosphere, perfect if you want to know what a bacaro frequented by locals feels like. With a wide selection of wines, tasty cicchetti and cheeses, the Bacaro Al Prosecco offers a great experience for anyone. If you’re around on Saturdays, oysters and fresh, raw fish is available as well.
Bacaro ‘do Mori’
Ever since the 1462, this bacaro has become a legend in Venice, counting Casanova among its clients through the years. Perfect to experience a light lunch surrounded by its historical atmosphere.
The bacari you can visit are many more than just these three, and each one is unique in its own way. Experiment different snacks and wines and live and eat your way into the city’s earth like a local. We offer a food tour in Venice where you can try all these specialites and cookery lessons to learn how to make them.
Are you an Italian food connoisseur? Do you love parmesan cheese specialties and mouth watering ham? If you do then Bologna is simply the perfect place for you. Known for its scrumptious entrees and tantalizing dishes, Bologna promises a culinary experience of a lifetime. If you consider yourself a foodie, this unique tour features a self catering apartment stay in the central part of town. As part of your package, you will receive 1 pasta cookery lesson and an elegant 3 food gourmet tour. The lavish apartment has spacious rooms, and is perfect for those interested in expanding their culinary horizons and delights. There are also concierge services and convenient airport pick-up and drop off.
The Bologna Holiday Food Package.
The tour features a modern and contemporary apartment surrounded by a myriad of amenities. Explore the wonders of Bologna by visiting local eateries, restaurants, and cafes. Bologna is synonymous with world class cuisine, including mortadella, tagliatelle, fresh pastas, and delicious ham and salami platters. There are several delicatessens adjacent to your luxurious apartment as well. The second day of the food tour takes you on a trip to the local culinary arts school. You will have a chance to meet our professional chef who continues to receive stellar reviews from customers and critics alike. The chef will accompany you to the local markets to purchase fresh ingredients and everything you need for the cooking lessons.
The Cooking Class plus the Market Tour
Once all the particulars are taken care of, you will head to the chef’s kitchen for the lesson and meal preparation. This includes traditional Bolognese classics, such as fresh egg pastas and tantalizing sauces. The third day of tour includes the famous gourmet tour, which includes the local parmesan far and cheese production venue. You will love sampling local favorites, including Parma ham and Balsamic vinegar. The guided tour features an English speaker for your convenience. The 3 night tour and stay costs is indicated below and it is per person. This is inclusive of guide services, transportation, and cookery lessons. If you love Italian cuisine, the Bolognese tour will truly achieve your desired results. Since these tours are based on availability, it is advised to book your reservations now.
A home away from home in Bologna.
Forget the hotels and discover a new way to travel with our apartment stay in Bologna, we offer a 3 night stay in this comfortable apartment in Bologna. The stay includes, pick up from the airport, super comfort self catering accommodation, one cooking lessons with market visit and finally our 3 gourmet food tour.
Price €550 per person. All inclusive of guides, transport, pick up, cookery lessons and tour.
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If you are are looking to visit Tuscany or any other area in Italy with an experienced local guide please keep reading below. This can truly enhance your vacations!
This tour is guided by: Massimo
I started working as a tour guide in Tuscany in 1987, when I was 23. I’m now almost 51. I started with German guests. As a tour guide I travelled almost everywhere through Europe (France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece) and also to Canada (Ontario and Québec) and to New York. In 2002 I specialized as a licensed tour guide for Lucca, a medieval town in Tuscany. I am also a graduated translator and interpreter and I’m about to get my second deegree in Mediator in Foreign Languages and Cultures’ at the University of Siena. I speak fluently following languages, beside Italian as a mother tongue: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. I speak also Swedish at a A2 level and I’m dealing also with Russian (A1 level) and Chinese at the moment!
Meeting the clients.
I will meet my guests either in Montecatini Terme, a very well-known spa resort in northern Tuscany, where I am at home, or in other towns like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, etc. but also outside my region, all over Italy, and show them the beauties of my country.
In which area in Tuscany are you specialised?
I’m of course specialized for Tuscany (my ‘highlights’ are Lucca, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Pistoia and Arezzo), but I can also guide my guests through other regions like Lombardy (Milan, etc.), Emilia Romagna (Bologna, etc.), Umbria (Assisi, etc.). We will do a guided tour in town, where we can organize a lunch break in a typical restaurant, then also hire a car or minivan to travel through the countryside and see something else of our marvellous landscape.
What the clients can see?
We can also visit some typical farms producing wine and olive oil, cheese, ham and other alimentary products, we can also taste and do shopping in town or in wholesale factories where they produce and sell typical handmade products such as leather shoes, bags, marble or alabaster souvenirs, etc. It will last up to about 8 hours with some breaks for a coffee or so.
The costs of my tours depend on how we will organize them, i.e. if I have to move to my guests hotel/house and live there with them for the whole period or just meet them each morning at their premises.
Interesting tour lead by native Roman Vincenzo who will combine Rome’s ancient history with a food crawl and gourmet osteria Lunch. Not not be missed.
Explore the wonders of Rome with an exciting 3 hour tour. The spectacular tour covers the Roman Coliseum, which features breathtaking exteriors, interiors, and ancient architecture. The Forum Romanum is also a must see and is home to the Senate, Arch Septimius Severus, basilica Julia, and Maxentius basilica. The world renowned city also showcases the Arch Titus, Arch Constantine, and Capitol Hill. The walking tour features picturesque backdrops and lavish scenery at every turn. You can also enjoy world class cuisine set in an elegant Roman restaurant for a slightly additional cost. We will arrange a meeting point for all clients that are ready to experience the allure, and essence of Rome.
As the epicenter for Roman Catholicism, Vatican City is a haven for countless tourists. Your 5 tour starts at St. Peter’s basilica, which includes interiors, exteriors, and Michelangelo’s famous masterpiece sculptures: Bernini Baldachin, Piet, and more. You will also get to see the square and the magic of the Vatican Museums – Borgia’s flat, Raphael’s rooms, Greek cross room, Round room, Muses room, and the world famous Sistine Chapel. The tour also includes the Tapestry, Candelabra, and Geographic Maps galleries that are a must for ancient art lovers, aficionados, and enthusiasts. After a day of exploring Roman architecture at its finest, wind down with a traditional Osteria lunch and fine wines served to perfection. Meeting point for all visitors will be at the entrance of the Museums.
The 4 hour Pope’s City tour includes the major sights of the downtown area: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colonna Square, Hadrian Temple, and the Pantheon. The latter features Raphael’s tomb, along with the Italian Royal Family of Savoy tombs. The tour also includes Campo dei Fiori, Navona Square, Marcellus’ Theater, and the ancient Jewish ghetto, which features Octavia Gate. Meeting point for the tour will be discussed with clients, and you will be able to sample traditional Italian dishes via food stands. I do have passes for all spots desired!
Tour Guide Profile – Vincenzo
I was born in Rome and a licensed tour guide since 2009. I am also an art historian, and my clients are mainly English speakers. As a native Roman, I want to help you explore this fascinating and beloved city!