Travel Notes blog
Local cuisine to sample on your next holiday to Puglia
by Laura Bardell-Smith
7 min read

Local cuisine to sample on your next holiday to Puglia

Local cuisine to sample on your next holiday to Puglia
Apulian cuisine, cucina pugliese, Puglian food... there are many terms for the delicious delicacies that hail from the Apulia region in Italy. This post will explore Puglian cuisine and some traditional dishes and recipes.
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Cucina pugliese, Puglian food, the local cuisine... there are countless ways to regard the delicacies that hail from the gorgeous Puglia region in Italy. However, no matter what you call this type of Italian cuisine, you can always count on an unparalleled symphony of local flavour that invigorates the taste buds and spirits of even the most discerning foodie.

We are honoured to offer the finest luxury villas in Puglia, perfectly appointed for a culinary adventure that focuses on Puglian cuisine. Its elegant selection of Italian wines and unforgettable culinary experiences will uplift you for years to come.


A brief introduction to Puglian cuisine

Puglia is most known for its crystal clear waters and fertile agricultural land. Emblematic of an agrarian region, self-sufficiency is a hallmark of Puglia's gastronomic scene, which is impeccably demonstrated by their custom of cucina povera or making use of whatever ingredients are readily available.

The freshness of ingredients is also crucial in Puglian cuisine. Locals craft a multitude of exquisite dishes with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients like wheat, tomatoes, courgettes, beans, artichokes, fava beans, onions, fennel, peppers and, of course, lamb, fish and other seafood.

Be sure to take pleasure in these traditional Puglian dishes during your next holiday to Puglia:

  • Orecchiette con le cime di rapa

    - This simple regional signature dish features tender pieces of handmade pasta that resemble ‘little ears’ lovingly tossed with spicy, peppery turnip tops.

  • Rustico

    - Two layers of tender puff pastry encase exciting combinations of savoury fillings like béchamel sauce, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, or spinach or ricotta.

  • Focaccia barese

    - Carb lovers will rejoice in this fluffy yeasted bread that combines durum wheat flour, semolina and mashed potatoes. The topping options are diverse, seasonal and always fresh. Think ripe roasted cherry tomatoes, salty olives, crunchy coarse salt and aromatic rosemary.

  • Panzerotti

    - Popular during the


    season, these delightfully fried turnovers resemble small calzones. This is the perfect snack to round out an evening of wine tasting in



  • Taiedda

    - In this comforting and hearty dish, layers of thinly sliced aubergine, potatoes and courgettes are baked in the oven until bubbling with fresh mussels, onions, capers, rice, fresh tomatoes, breadcrumbs and salty pecorino cheese until a golden-brown crust forms on top.


How best to sample the local food in Puglia

It's conceivable that you could spend a lifetime discovering the various delicacies Puglia has to offer and still be left hungry for more. To help you make the most of your Epicurean adventure, we've compiled a selection of six unmissable gastronomic highlights and Experiences that flawlessly exemplify the region's rich food traditions.

1. Cheesemaking in Alberobello


If the prospect of spending the day at a traditional trullo and family farm trying your hand as a mozzarella cheese maker has your heart aflutter, don't miss this one of a kind Experience. After a hands-on lesson in cheesemaking, you will be invited to sample your handmade mozzarella, fresh ricotta, aged cheeses, fresh bread, wine and some of the farm's delightful produce. The day ends perfectly with a decadent dessert that will have you drifting off into culinary nirvana.  Villa Eterea is just a short 20-minute drive away, and makes a lovely base for anyone interested in this experience.


2. Olive oil tasting

Producing roughly 40% of Italy's olive oil, Puglia is characterised by the millions of olive trees scattered across the region. Enjoy a tranquil stroll amongst the ancient olive groves, then sample some of the wonderfully aromatic and fruity oils alongside other local accoutrements on one of our guided tours.


3. Cooking class with Anna Maria Chirone Arnò

We are honoured to extend the offer of a private cooking class with expert Puglian chef Anna Maria Chirone Arnò, author of one of the most comprehensive Puglian recipe books, Il Gusto del Tacco d'Italia. A few hours spent with Anna Maria is guaranteed to be one of the finest introductions to the local food culture available.


4. Wine tasting in Salento

Puglia's world-class wine scene is sure to delight and excite any vino enthusiasts you may have in your group. We are happy to organise an exclusive wine tasting tour of some of the finest and most renowned wineries in the region: Azienda Cantele and Azienda Agraria Guarini. Prepare to say salute as you cast your gaze over romantic vineyards that have delighted the locals for aeons. We suggest the luxuriously appointed and nearby Villa Specchia as an excellent starting base for your Puglian wine journey.


5. Indulge in the local restaurant scene

Exemplary eateries are plentiful in Puglia, including Masseria Le Stanzie, a favourite of local residents and travellers alike. This quaint and dreamy restaurant seemingly takes you back 100 years with a menu that features traditional Puglian food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients from recipes with unparalleled authenticity. Prepare for an intimate meal and unbelievable service as Masseria Le Stanzie only accepts a few lucky guests at a time. Your Local Specialist can help make a reservation for you.

If enjoying the Puglian restaurant scene is on the menu for your next holiday, consider booking one of our magnificent villas ideally situated within walking distance of local eateries. Our team of local experts will be happy to suggest a villa that is perfectly situated.


6. Hire an in-villa cook

For an even more intimate dining experience, why not hire an in-villa chef to come directly to your villa and prepare a memorable Puglian recipe catered precisely to your palate? We will happily arrange for a cook to prepare as many meals as you'd like during your holiday so shopping, washing up and cooking is not a concern.


If you’d like to hire one of our experienced and talented local chefs, we would love to recommend the following villas due to their well-equipped kitchens and luxurious al fresco dining areas:


Our favourite luxury villa in Puglia

Selecting a Puglian villa for your gastronomic adventure is a vital step in making sure your stay leaves your culinary curiosity satiated. We've revealed some fabulous options thus far, but we'd like to highlight just one more villa as we believe it truly hits the mark for Epicureans and gourmands seeking an incredible food-centric holiday.

Castello di Caprarica

This luxurious and spacious sixteenth-century castle comfortably shelters up to 18 guests hungry to experience the best Puglia has to offer. An ideal option if an in-villa chef is your desire, Castello di Caprarica feature a large, superbly equipped kitchen, stately indoor dining accommodations and a rejuvenating al fresco dining space that looks out onto an enchanting courtyard garden.


Say ‘buon appetito!’ to Puglia

Tuck into some of the most delicious and unique flavours Italy has to offer by choosing a luxury villa and sampling an unforgettable Epicurean experience in Puglia with us. Our expert team of Villa Specialists is standing by, ready to help you curate a holiday that nourishes you and your loved ones — body and soul.