My mind is full of memories of long-lasting friendships, excellent food and stunning places. I just returned into my realities after leading a group traveling with me to Puglia, Italy and now I want to trace back my footsteps into that ancient world.
Eating in Italy is an experience. Nobody will ever find bad food anywhere in the country even when the place is not fancy and looks more like a hole in the wall. One day we went to Putignano to eat at San Domenico’s fisherman shop. We met Tommy the owner, he asked us to choose the fish we wanted and prepared it the way we wanted. The place as I said was a fisherman shop, in the back Tommy arranged a simple restaurant under arches made of ancient tufa stones, stone floor, no tablecloth on the tables only black paper mats, plastic dishes, simple cutlery and simple glasses. Diners looked happy, cheerful atmosphere, all signs that told us “food here is more than good” and I felt encouraged to eat in the fisherman shop.
We chose mixed fried fish, shrimps salad with arugula, grilled calamari and octopus accompanied by a chilled Verdeca wine. Boy, it was a century since I last drank Verdeca! My grandfather produced it in his vineyard, it was abundant in our homes, but after he sold the land, my enjoying of Verdeca at my dinner table ended abruptly. That was a refreshing memory both ways. The wine at our table brought me back to my young age and it was chilled to the right temperature, needless to say it went down so pleasantly.
I showed my American guests how to eat fried fish with hands and they copied my action. A fish with a spine it is supposed to be eaten like playing an harmonica, biting into the end from the tale, eating through the flesh up to the head and back until is all gone and the spine is clean. That was an enterprise for them, but they had good time learning.
We all finished this delightful lunch with a limoncello, as it is customary to drink some type of spirit at the end of fried and grilled fish or other food containing oil, but our American guests turned to cappuccino. Yikes! Milk and oil don’t agree in the stomach, oil will curdle the milk and produce acidity. It wasn’t enough how many times they heard it from different people: cappuccino in Italy is not drank past 10:00 am anymore, it is considered a breakfast drink only and not an after dinner drink, but my guests continued to drink cappuccino after any meal.
“When in Rome do as the Romans”, just to be obnoxious one more time, when in Italy please don’t drink cappuccino after lunch or dinner, it will disgust Italian people. Ciao,
Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
I am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Find Valentina’s books on