Food, wine of Lucera Puglia and the traditions of fishing in the Gargano peninsula.
Wine and Food in Puglia is world class. A mini tour organised by our friend Luisa who is from Lucera, Puglia
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucera) with Marika and Sergio of La Marchesa Winery, Lucera, Puglia offered us an amazing 3 days. It was so personal and filled with the most passionate and warm hosts that it really had us captivated from the first visit to the La Marchesa vineyard and winery with Sergio and Marika, to a nearby cellar (more about that below!) and ample opportunities to sample all of their wines paired with 5 star quality restaurant food prepared by chefs who themselves are exceptionally talented. So we sampled La Marchesa delicious whites such as il Quadrello and Il Capriccio, the Rosé Melagrano and of course the reds such as Cacc’e’ Mmitte” and Nerone which paired so well with the wonderful vegetable dishes, pasta, meat and fish dishes that Puglia is famous for. (www.vinilamarchesa.it).
La Marchesa encompasses the passion, knowledge and total commitment to growing the best quality grapes in ways that are in commune with the environment to produce, without doubt, outstanding white and red wines. They also produce prunillo, san marzano and a swage of tomato varieties that all have best ways of being used… all used differently in the traditional cooking and dishes. (https://www.pugliamonamour.it/2014/08/08/il-pomodoro-prunill-di-lucera-a-eat-parade-su-raidue/). With respect to the importance of conserving the soil over the generations they rotate crops and use natural fertilization that do not deplete the soil.
Just when we thought it could not get any better than this it did! A visit to the San Severo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Severo) and Cantina d’Arapri (http://www.darapri.it/?lang=en) revealed a world of Methodo Classico Spumante underground tunnels that extended for what seemed like kilometres. Anna the daughter of one of the original three owners whose knowledge and passion founded this cellar guided us through the processes that take place in this magical underground world. This Methodo Classico process has evolved over many years and the cantina d’Arapri prides itself on sustainability and is underpinned with a depth of knowledge of and respect for the grapes, the soil and the environment.
The visit to Lesina (Gargano Peninsula) with the charming and so talented Gina Palmieri and her husband Antonio was magical: starting with a lunch of Pugliese breads, local fresh vegetables prepared by Gina created with authentic Pugliese recipes and accompanied by fresh Mozzarella, freshly grown tomatoes and oregano. Gina is also a musician and soprano! (http://www.jazzitalia.net/Artisti/GinaPalmieri.asp#.XPzmby3weu4) (https://www.bedandbreakfast.eu/bed-and-breakfast/lesina/incanto-b-b/5184738/) After lunch a “Lagobus” boat ride on the Lesina lake, which still uses of ways of fishing for eels that are centuries old, was a wonderful, informative and evocative experience. (http://www.darapri.it/itingargano/lesinaanguilla/lesinaanguillein.htm).
Heading further into the Gargano Peninsula we managed to visit and eat at the Trabucco “da Mimi”, Peschici. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabucco). Now that is truly memorable! These traditional methods of fishing and structures of long timber poles, fishing nets and weights are still used to fish as they have been since the 18thcentury. The fresh seafood served in pasta and in separate dishes was delicious and superbly integrated with flavours of Salicornia (sampfire), fave beans, local rocket etc… A must see and must eat at!
You will also be thrilled by the presentation of the delectable five course simply spectacular meals in Lucera at Dentro al Vicolo, San Severo at La Fosse del Grano(Slow Food Osteria d’Italia) and in Lesina (Gargano Peninsula) at Le Antiche Sera (Slow Food Osteria d’Italia). All are superb and already recognized as first class restaurants with chefs of renown where every dish showcases local produce prepared in exceptionally delicious ways.
Thank you so much Marika and Sergio. 6 star experience! Noelene McBride (Slow Food Brisbane).