Puglia (pronounced “pool-ya,” “Apulia” in Italian)  is located in the southeastern portion of Italy, including the ‘heel’ of the ‘boot,’ along the Adriatic Sea, the Bay of Taranto, and with the Ionian Sea stretching to the south.    With its warm Mediterranean climate, ancient city centers, and whitewashed traditional “Trulli” stone buildings with conical roofs, Puglia exudes charm and authenticity.    

There’s no wonder why “Italy” magazine named Puglia Italy’s New Hotspot.  The word is out in the world of celebrities:  Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were married at a Puglian resort, and the Beckhams have been spotted making a summer escape to the region.  Oscar-winning legends Dame Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep have both embraced the region with an even bigger commitment, having each purchased Masseria-style farmhouses in Puglia. 

It could be the laid-back lifestyle that attracts everyone.  Or it may just be the food.

Puglia is one of the largest food-producing regions in Italy, and is the largest producer of Italian olive oil, with nearly 40% of the country’s output coming from Puglia.  There are over 50 million olive trees in Puglia, which could be enough for Puglia’s claim to fame, but that’s not all.  Nicknamed the “Breadbasket of Italy,” much of the country’s durum wheat flour for pasta comes from Puglia, too.  Cavatelli and Orecchiette are traditional shapes found in the region, and both break the Italian tradition of dried pasta being preferred– both of these shapes, while available professionally made in stores, are often made at home.       

The Pugliesi give a lot of attention to their food, which often features delicious homegrown produce that cThe Pugliesi give a lot of attention to their food, which often features delicious homegrown produce that can only be found in Puglia:    Fresh Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette; famously sweet and multi-colored San Vito Carrots (in season in March); Tomato Queen from Torre Canne; the Carosello cucumber, which is very nearly perfectly round—and perfectly delicious, and the polarizing bitter herbaceous bulb Lampascione for which you’ll have a strong opinion after a single taste.  There’s artisanal cheese like top-quality Burrata, and Cavatelli with pork (Pugliese cuisine rarely features beef) and dishes made with the famous fresh fish & seafood available in Bari– the largest city in Puglia, and ancestral home to Flora Fine Foods Founder John Flora!   

As if to mock perfection, don’t be surprised to find a pre-dinner antipasto with locally-made Taralli snack crackers as part of the spread… they’re loved throughout the south of Italy, but particularly in Puglia.  So come, wonder at the scenery, meet the friendly people, and embrace the taste of Southern Italy that is Puglia.

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