When you think about Puglia you seldom think about Daunia Mountains, but you’re wrong, it’s worth to visit it at least once in your life.
We have been hanging around this area a lot of times, but last month we had a very authentic and unique experience in Orsara di Puglia.
We have been invited to be part of a press tour within the project ATLAS Interreg Italy-Croatia developed by Tecnopolis PST, the most important scientific and technological research center of Puglia.
Excited about this proposal, we immediately agreed and we started this daily journey in this little village famous for its traditions and culture.
A daily trip among cheese and pasta making, edible plants and good food
Our trip started in Bari, but when we finally arrived in Orsara di Puglia there was a worldwide famous chef waiting for us: Peppe Zullo, which actually made Orsara di Puglia very popular as well.
Peppe Zullo is a very kind and smart chef who runs one of the best restaurants in Puglia where every day builds the match between tradition and innovation, on the route of healthy food.
He takes care of its large vegetable garden, its animals and vineyards. Indeed before cooking, he has just to pick up some vegetables and spontaneous edible plants from its garden.
Moreover, he can provide meat, dairy products and fantastic wine.
Our journey with him gets started in a cheese factory where the dairymaid made for us mozzarelle, scamorza and caciocavallo, three important types of cheese in the Apulian food panorama.
Then, they also offered a ricotta cheese tasting on a slice of fresh and fragrant bread, something genuine and delicious.
Peppe Zullo is very famous for its Italian temperament and for its positive and business-oriented mindset.
We had a taste of this when he brought us in the vegetable garden where he took at least two hours in a passionate talk about the spontaneous edible plants: borage, chicory, mauve, thyme and many others.
After being surrounded by its incredible garden at Villa Jamele, in a few minutes we reached the restaurant. Here we also learnt how to make fresh pasta: orecchiette, cavatelli and cicatielli and our food experience began with starters and a glass of rosé wine.
The eldest bakery of Puglia
Next stop in our experience tour was at the Pane e Salute bakery, which is the eldest common bakery of Puglia.
It has been for a long time a straw-burning oven, but nowadays it’s a wood-burning oven.
But what’s a common bakery?
In Puglia there’s a fascinating tradition born during the postwar period: at that time having a private oven was a luxury good, something only rich people had the pleasure to get
So, towns and villages were full of common bakeries. Our grandmas were used to bake their bread, pizza, focaccia or baked pasta in the common bakeries that were available and gave this service in return of some cents.
In this amazing land, there’re still some of this common ovens even in the biggest towns like Foggia, Bari or Lecce.
They are still active, some as cultural associations, some as properly companies which still give the chance to citizens to cook their meals in a wooden oven, which means an added value talking about taste.
Pane e Salute was an incredible surprise for us, we were really amazed by listening to its story.
They still use a two hundred ancient starter for making bread and pizza and it was the best pizza ever eaten so far.
We live far away from Orsara di Puglia, but we promise ourselves to come back soon to eat again their pizza, it’s worth it!
So, if you’re traveling to Puglia consider the option to visit also the Daunia Mountains and Orsara di Puglia and not only the most famous and crowded places on the travel guide.
Instead, if you’re by public transportation is a bit more intricate, but still possible if it’s a weekday.
First: If your journey starts from the Karol Wojtyła International Airport of Bari, take the train to the Main Train Station of Bari.
Second: From the Main Train Station of Bari get the train to Foggia.
Third: When in Foggia take the train or the bus to Orsara di Puglia, find here the perfect train following your needs.
Puglia can astonish you anytime, anywhere!