I recently returned from attending the 2015 edition of Buy Puglia where I had the pleasure of revisiting its beautiful capital city, Bari, as well as exploring totally new parts of this southwestern Italian region. Puglia holds a special place in my heart because, as it happens, my first ever trip to Italy several years ago was to Bari, so I’m a little biased! I’ve since seen much more of Italy, but nonetheless left Puglia even more impressed this time around, and more convinced than ever that Puglia is one of the best regions for a cooking vacation in Italy.
After a chilly and rainy week in the Veneto, Puglia welcomed me with sunshine and sea breezes. One of the region’s advantages is its weather, basically sunny and warm from March to December. Puglia’s favorable climate means that the growing season is year round. Fresh vegetables are always available; hence the important role veggies play in Puglian cuisine, fava beans and chicory being two of the most popular. Of course seafood is also a big part of the Puglian diet given its extensive coastline on the Adriatic Sea, and no trip there would be complete without a sampling of crudo di mare alla barese, or raw seafood Bari style. No sooner was I off the plane than I was sitting next to the sea with Augusto, host and guide of our Culinary Adventure in Puglia cooking vacation enjoying a lunch al fresco of Puglia-style raw fish: tuna, salmon, squid, shrimp, and sea bass. Yum!
By Adrian Hall
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