No visit to Puglia is complete without a speciality tour designed by YLTour just for us. We encourage all our guests to take a tour to discover things about Puglia that they would not find alone. Several times a year we accompany friends and guests on a day out that has been designed to show us a little more of Puglia and the Salento. In particular, we take advantage of the less fierce temperatures in October, when our friends regularly visit, to learn more about Puglia. This is the second post about one week in October that we shared with our friends – you can read the first article here.
Friday, and the grand finale to our week. Our day started in Squinzano with a visit to an Artisan “Biscottificio” – a biscuit maker. Biscuits as you have never imagined them. We were introduced to the owner and invited into the “factory” where all the biscuits are made by hand using traditional local recipes. Many of the ingredients for the biscuits are sourced locally including olive oil from our favourite oil mill. Many of the products revolve around almonds, locally grown of course, sweet and savoury. We sampled Tornelli, a sweet pastry stuffed with almonds; Amaretti, a soft biscuit with a full almond flavour; and my personal favourites Campanelle Salate – a light crispy pastry wrapped around almonds that have been toasted in olive oil infused with orange peel, and biscuits made with parmesan. All delicious – and we all left with a selection to take home (and for our friends to take back to the UK).
Our next stop was a unique opportunity to view a private palazzo that is currently being restored. There are many many of these buildings throughout Puglia and the Salento, some restored and some just waiting to be a “Grand Design” project. My mind is ticking over with ideas. Ylenia had arranged with some of the restoration team for us to be shown around a beautiful palazzo with fantastic frescos in different stages of restoration. Words cannot describe ….
On previous visits and days out we have included visits to cheesemakers for one of our regular guests who makes cheese back in the UK. We set out in search of the little baskets we have seen in the making of Ricotta. We visited a shop in Lecce that supplies all manner of catering equipment to restaurants and other businesses, along with many other things. Sadly we didn’t find the cheese baskets, the search must go on, but none of us came away empty-handed.
There was just time for a quick aperitivi at an “enoteca”, a wine shop and tasting bar, where we sampled some excellent Puglia wines. Wine tours and wine tastings always rank high in the “things we want to do” list. They never disappoint and we always seem to taste new and different wines.
On our agenda was lunch at a “pastificio”. I must admit to being mystified as to what that would be. It is in fact a pasta “factory” or pasta “shop”. Factory is probably not the right word as once again everything is produced prepared with tender loving care and traditional recipes (Grandma’s). We were shown the pasta making area by the owner and introduced to a number of different kinds of pasta before sitting down to a (very late) lunch of, unsurprisingly, the pasta of the day.
A fitting finale to a wonderful day and the end of a thoroughly enjoyable week in Puglia in October.