The rustic, healthy cuisine of Puglia — cucina povera — was born as the cuisine of poverty. Pasta is made without eggs and bread is made from the hard-grain durum wheat that flourishes on the high plains of the north. The Pugliese diet is based on vegetables, including wild vegetables foraged from stony fields. This is a home-based culinary tradition, and therefore a cucina delle donne, created by women cooking at home rather than professional chefs in restaurant kitchens. 

Olive Oil

Olive Oil and Canned Food

It’s no surprise that Pugliese cuisine is based on olive oil, since the region produces as much as two-thirds of all the olive oil in Italy. Cooks even deep-fry in olive oil. Nothing is wasted. Vegetables are picked at the height of their season and dried, pickled or preserved in oil to last through the lean months of the year.

Seasonal & Signature Ingredients

Burrata Cheese

Food is seasonal, with key elements of olives, citrus fruits, and wine. Artichokes, fava beans, broccoli rabe, chicory and fennel are frequently used. Some of our villas have vegetable and herb gardens and guests are encouraged to help themselves. The region’s signature pasta is orecchiette, shaped like little ears. Figs and almonds are grown in the region. Fresh cow's milk burrata cheese and scamorza, smoked mozzarella, are to die for. The variety of seafood is extraordinary, prepared in countless simple and flavorful ways, including polpi arricati (curled octopus). And for dessert there's zeppola(fried dough with custard) and, of course, gelato.

Our favorite Pugliese dessert is sporcamuss, so-called because you can't eat one without getting your mouth (muss) dirty (sporca). Crisp, freshly baked pastries are filled with lemony pastry cream and smothered in powdered sugar, which gets all over your happy face when you eat one. 

But you don't have to go to Puglia to try sporcamuss — make our our favorite sporcamuss recipe right at home.

Puglia is gourmet heaven!