Off The Beaten Track in Puglia Italy
A 4-day adventure continues, with part 3 of the series.
Its our final day of wine and food touring in the region of Puglia, in Southern Italy. We head to Andria, another town producing an amazing array of products, Olive Oil, and cheeses.
We are in time to watch the daily production of the wonderful Burrata, all done by hand, and take note of the temperature of the water these guys are working in, one chap has been doing this daily for the past 43 years. Most of their product is used locally, but in recent times the export trade has grown remarkably.
Figure 1 Cheeses of Andria & Burrata production
We are heading out of Andria to try some of the best Organic wine in the region. Giancarlo Ceci. In the foothills of the comune Andria, near Bari in Apulia, at an altitude of 250 metres The vineyards are situated just above the famous Italy boot on the Adriatic Sea, an area that is perfectly suited for the production of fine wines. For eight generations and 200 years, the Ceci family has cultivated the land with the greatest respect for nature and traditions.
The Mediterranean climate, the location amidst a landscape of low hills, the presence of oak woods, the non-intensive cultures contribute to preserve the biodiversity and the precious balance of this ecosystem. The farm experienced a significant upturn in 1988 when Giancarlo Ceci upon his return from agricultural school, converted the acreage to organic. He developed the AGRINATURA brand, focusing his efforts on innovation, quality and operation of a full-scale fresh produce growing, packing and shipping facility, along with organic olive oil, which is grown, pressed and packed on site.
Figure 2 Giancarlo Ceci’s wines and cellars
The winery is equipped with vast cellars for the aging of the wine underneath the 400+ year-old family mansion. The mansion is stunning and the tasting cellars with their history oozing from the walls.
“Possibly the best meal I have eaten in Italy” This is how I described lunch at Antici
Time for a special lunch, a very special dining experience just down the road from the Ceci family wines at Montegrosso is Antichi Sapori. A 30 seat osteria practising the best in slow cooking. A blackboard shows what was picked from his massive garden that morning and a team of 8 & directed by Chef Peitro prepare the best of regional/ local dishes with pride and passion. This is no standard menu, and for a set price of between 36e to 45e, settle in for an afternoon of superb flavours.
The dishes just kept coming, the flavours incredible, the presentation outstanding, just “wow”, in the middle of nowhere, you have to be in the know, otherwise you would never find it, nor would you think to find a place like this where it is. The sign outside says 14 k to Andria, so it’s literally in the middle of an olive grove. By 230pm every seat was taken. Be sure to wander the immense vegetable garden where everything comes from, you will need to get some exercise after all.
Definitely seek this out but book in advance its full every day. The Michelin team have rated it.
So ended an amazing three days in Puglia. I recommend you visit this region before the world discovers it, but go with someone in the know, you will see so much more.
Figure 3 Chef Pietro and some dishes at Antici Sapori
About the author:
Since 1999, Bruce White has been travelling Italy, returning every year to a different region with pre-planned wine and food experiences. Some have been with food and wine tour operators in small groups, some planned directly with local specialists to ensure something very local and very special. With this network of contacts and a desire to return as often as possible, Bruce launched Wine and Food Traveler to share experiences with those who share the same passion for the Italian Lifestyle.