Top local foods you must try when in Puglia

Top local foods that you must try when visiting in Puglia (we tried them all for you)

1. Orecchiette 
This amazingly delicious Apulian pasta is very popular in this region of Italy. It is ear-shaped white in color delicious pasta. Orecchiette (from Italian 'orecchia' meaning 'ear' and '-etta' meaning 'small') is traditionally handmade wheat pasta. It is traditionally prepared "con le cime di rapa" - with a local cabbage-like vegetable typical for Puglia. But there are also a lot of other ways of preparation that are even better in taste - like Orecchiette di Fagiolini, pomodori e cacioricotta or orecchiette alla crudaiola con stracciatella. Mmmm... 

If in Puglia, do not miss Bari, where there is a whole quarter of women preparing this type of pasta right in front of their houses. It is not only amazingly delicious, but also a great experience to see them preparing it. Check our post for more ideas on what to do and see in Puglia. 

2. Burrata and other typical Apulian Cheeses
This typical Italian cheese is made everywhere in Salento and is amazing in taste! Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is normally served fresh and uncooked. 

Stracciatella (the cheese, not the ice cream)
Stracciatella (or Stracciatella di bufala) is a cheese produced from Italian buffalo milk in the province of Foggia, located in the southern Italian region of Apulia, using a stretching and a shredding technique. It is composed by small shreds - hence its name, which in Italian is a diminutive of straccia ("rag" or "shred") meaning "a little shred". It is a stretched curd fresh cheese, white in colour, and made the whole year round, but is thought to be at its best during the spring and summer months.
When mixed with thick cream, stracciatella is also used to make burrata.

This cheese is one of the many hidden treasures of the Apulian region. It is a seasonal cheese (spring and summer) prepared by mixing various cheese types and ricotta cheese. It is normally fresh (fermented only for 2-3 days) or it may be medium-ripe (2-3 months). For the good taste of that cheese it is essential how the cows and buffaloes are fed. The fresh grass in spring and summer months gives the characteristic smooth taste of that cheese.
In most restaurants this cheese will be used as topping for pasta. Instead of grated parmigiano the local restaurants will offer you grated cacioricotta. And trust me, it is way more delicious!

3. Frisella  
These small doughnut-looking breads from hard wheat and barley are baked twice and resemble rusk. Still, they are far more delicious. In the past people used to soak friselle into the sea water directly before eating them. This way one could fully enjoy the full taste of the region. 
To prepare the Frisella in Apulian way nowadays, soak it in water for couple of seconds. Put grated sea salt and olive oil on the bread and add fresh cherry tomatoes cut in small pieces. Put some more salt and olive oil and fresh basil. Enjoy the taste of Puglia! 

4. Pucce (Puccia)
This is the Puglian version of the hamburger. It is kind of sandwich prepared with a special Apulian bread. The round bread is with diameter about 20cm and is made from a pizza-dough. Inside there could be a wide variety of products - from seafood (like the below Pucce with octopus and spicy tomato sauce) to wide range of ham and cheeses. The bread is amazingly delicious and so are the fillings. The hard task is which one to choose! 

5. Bombette 
These meat rolls are typical for Salento (the southern part of Puglia). They made from slices of pork wrapped around cheese, usually provolone, then roasted on a skewer over wood or charcoal. On top - some prosciutto crudo to add the nice smoky taste. 
It is thought that bombette pugliesi were born more than 40 years ago in a butcher’s shop in the town of Martina Franca in the Valle d’Itria, north-west of Brindisi. Since then, it has been served throughout the south of Puglia as a popular street food at carnivals and festivals, and straight from butcher’s shops that invested in their own charcoal oven. My personal favourite ones were in Maglie, Osteria La Trombettiera. 

6. Taralli 
Once you get to Puglia, you will literally be surrounded by these small salty or sweet snacks. Italians eat these all day long everywhere. 
This cracker similar in texture to a breadstick or a pretzel can be sweet or savory. Sweet taralli are sometimes glazed with sugar. Savory taralli may be flavored with onion, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel, pepper, chili or just salt. Sweet and plain taralli are often dunked in wine. 
They are great snacks during the whole day. Especially popular on the beaches and a must have in every italian house.

7. Cactus Fruits
These great Apulian cacti taste like an exotic sweet fruit. The taste resembles very much the one of maracuja. You can get cactus fruits not only in the local markets, but you can also pick up some from the wild growing cactus plants along the road. Be aware of their sharp tiny pines which have to be carefully peeled before eating the fruit. The very ripen fruits are bloody red in color, while the not so ripped ones are green. Both equally tasty.
To clean the fruits from the pines, use colander and put the fruits in it. Steer under running water for several minutes until the black dots on the fruits (where the pines start from) almost disappear. Then peel off the skin and enjoy the taste of the fruit. It has quite some seeds, but the taste is great!

8. Pizza (al metro)
Everyone knows how great the typical italian pizza it!
Pizza on meter is a wide spread specialty for Martina Franca, but can be tasted almost everywhere in Puglia. Especially good option if you are a larger group, as you can choose different flavors and taste more of the pizzeria's specialties.

Still, our favourite pizza turned out to be circle and we found it in Martina Franca. Pizzeria Trattoria L'Archetto The secret? Only local Apulian products and attention to every detail...

9. Calamari
Seafood is great in Puglia! No doubt about it. Calamari are great choice for lunch and always fresh in Puglia.

10. Gelato (as everywhere in Italy)
Words are obsolete here... gelato in the morning, gelato in the afternoon, gelato in the evening... you just cannot get enough. Which is your favourite taste?

And the sweetest for dessert: Pasticciotto
It is a type of filled Italian pastry. Depending on the region, the pasticciotti are traditionally filled with either ricotta cheese or egg custard. Their dough is crispy - like a tart. No need to say how tasty they are! 
The most delicious ones we had in Apulia were from Maglie. If you end up there, make sure to check up the L'Arte del Gusto coffee and bakery. Theirs are sooooo good!

Hope you will also like our suggestions for the delicious traditional Apulian foods!
Share your experience from the Puglian food in the comments below!


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