All crazy about Salento: also for its cuisine. And if many Italians consider it generically Apulian, in reality it has the ability to exalt the concept of poor kitchen, the result of centuries-old traditions and products, coming mainly from the countryside. The dishes contribute the Adriatic fish is a bit of meat, preferably horse. It is the realm of cultivated or wild vegetables, also for this reason the domain of taverns-restaurants-farms with cuisine on top restaurants.
The advice of Antonio Guida
Four for the record the Michelin stars: Already under the arch in Carovigno, The Ricci stove to Ceglie Messapica (which is actually on the border with the Murge, with a cuisine based only on land and vegetables), Sky in Ostuni and the celebrated Bros in Lecce, the place of the young Pellegrino brothers, with their cuisine of contamination even with the Orient. Which is provocation in a land like this, as he explains Antonio Guida, son of Salento who grew up in France, grew up in the Argentario and consecrated in Milan, at the helm of Silk, two-piece jewel inside the Mandarin Oriental. «Ours is a cuisine of ingredients, more than others. We look for simple, intense combinations that are discovered as children thanks to mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen, "he says. "We have always cooked a lot at home and continue to do it."
The unmissable dishes
In the long list of specialties to taste for the beginners of Salento, the chef recommends the frisa (a durum wheat biscuit) with tomato, lo sciuttidu which is the tasty local peperonata, cicureddhe cu the broad beans (wild chicory with fava bean puree), paparina and paparotta ("It's a recipe of my small town, Tricase", underlines Guida): the first is poppy fried in leaves, the second is the recovery par excellence based on advanced bread, legumes and turnip greens, all fried in olive oil which is the historic pride of the area. A first? Ciceri and tria: the characteristic lies in the cooking of the durum wheat semolina pasta which is partly fried and partly boiled. Then it joins the chickpeas cooked with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onion and herbs: an ancient dish, Horace already mentioned it in his Satire (35 BC). As for the second, Guide imposes the tasting of pieces of horse meat, cooked in terracotta with garlic, celery, onion, tomato sauce and bay leaf. Ideal dish for a nice glass of red, perhaps Negroamaro: wine symbol of Salento and Puglia. Ready for the tour?
Trattoria Iolanda – Lucignano
We have been eating well here for almost 50 years, thanks to the efforts of the same family. There are all the Salento specialties, very good first courses and a proposal prepared on the grill. Always book.
Flavors of Arneo – Porto Cesareo
A place that always likes because in addition to being a well-stocked wine shop, with a simple and direct cuisine, it promotes a lot of initiatives to make the local flavors and wines known.
Masseria del Sale – Manduria
We are in the capital of Primitivo, a great wine of the area: a unique place, housed in a restored seventeenth-century farmhouse. You can taste good dishes of land and sea. In the evening it is spectacular, also for the lighting.
Heaven – Ostuni
Remarkable location, hosted by the La Sommità relay: small internal courtyard or a white barrel-ceilinged room. The cuisine starts from the excellence of the region, but Andrea Cannalire's hand turns towards a more creative line.
Balboa Pharmacy – Tricase
Already the sign puts you in a good mood: "Spirit drinks and fine wines". It is the best-known place in the town, also frequented by foreign VIPs and which offers top mixology. Ideal for an aperitif or after dinner.
Taverna del Porto – Tricase
Salento cuisine is largely linked to the land. But in this restaurant, on the seafront, you can taste excellent fish dishes: raw of the day, large fried fish, octopus, skewers ..
Already under the Arch – Carovigno
On the first floor of a Baroque palace, with a splendid view of the town, there is one of the certainties of Apulian cuisine. The cook Teresa Galeone is good at revisiting (with class and lightness) the tradition, sometimes starting from ancient dishes.
Le Macàre – Alezio
In the local dialect, the sign means bewitching witches. And in fact this small place has a certain magic, made of Salento dishes, cured and in a modern key. Do not miss the rich mixed appetizer.
I Fornelli di Teresa – Tricase
It is the restaurant inside the Adriatico hotel: it owes its name to the founder who still manages it, offering dishes made in Salento and a good pizza, made with selected flours.
Bros – Lecce
The gourmet destination of the area: Floriano Pellegrino and Isabella Potì are young but already very good: "first Salento, then citizens of the world" (their words) enhance the products of the area with a high school technique. Gourmet experience.
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