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Salento cuisine is a poor cuisine because of the ingredients used, starting with the unrefined flour or barley flour, which is cheaper than wheat flour; the use of the products of the Salento land such as wild and cultivated vegetables or snails; the use of oily fish, now revalued, but once the only type of fish the population could afford; the scarcity of meat dishes, once too expensive for the farmers.
Typical Salento dessert, made of crumbly pastry filled with custard, baked in the oven......to be eaten while still warm...
Coffee on ice from Salento uses almond milk as a sweetener and sugar substitute. Make espresso coffee and pour it into a glass filled with ice cubes, add 2/3 tablespoons of almond milk and stir with a teaspoon.
Rustico is one of the protagonists of Salento's gastronomic tradition and can be found in every bakery, bar or rotisserie in the area. It consists of two discs of puff pastry (the diameter of the lower disc is about 10 cm, while that of the upper disc is about 12 cm) and is filled with mozzarella, béchamel, tomato and often pepper; it is brushed with egg and baked in the oven.
The frisella (or friseḍḍa, freseḍḍa, frisa according to the different Apulian variants) is a tarallo made from durum wheat (or barley) baked in the oven, cut in half horizontally and baked again in the oven so that one side is porous and the other compact. It is important to distinguish between frisa and bread: frisa is not bread, but is baked twice (bis-cotto).
Pèttole (pèttëlë in Apulian dialect, zeppole in Irpinia, scorpelle in San Severo, pèttuli in the Brindisi area, pìttule in the Lecce area, pàtt'l in the Materano area, pèttule in the Potentino area) are balls of very soft leavened dough and are fried in hot oil.
This is a dish you absolutely must try. Pass a forkful of chicory in the broad bean puree and roll it up as if it were spaghetti: the bitter taste of the chicory goes perfectly with the sweet mellowness of the broad beans.
(Pasta and chickpeas) This is a typical dish of Salento cuisine, but has Arab-Sicilian origins.
The touch that gives flavour is a small amount of fried dough (tria) added as the last ingredient to the dish.
These are the snails that abound in the countryside and are generally collected in the summer season, from July to September, when the snail has built a kind of white cap around the opening, which in dialect is called 'cream'.
The unusual name given to snails comes from their colour. They are tasty prepared in different ways, roasted, boiled or cooked in sauce.
The olive tree is the most widespread tree in the Salento area, as it is a plant particularly suited to the characteristics of the soil and the scarcity of water. Olive oil is therefore the main production of the Salento, together with wine. Currently, Salento extra virgin olive oil has the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
The grape varieties of Salento are Negramaro and Primitivo. 'Negramaro' is the repetition of the word black in two languages: niger, in Latin, and maru, in ancient Greek.