A Very Puglia Christmas | A Christmas Gift Guide from Puglia
Bring good tidings with great Christmas gifts from Puglia. None of the links in this post are affiliate links. The reward we get if you click on them and make a purchase is the pleasure of bringing a little bit of Puglia to you!
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Puglia
Puglia is Italy’s undisputed top olive oil producer. In the 2020/2021 harvest year Puglia was responsible for more olive oil than the combined production of Calabria, Sicily and Tuscany; 117,000 tons, almost a third of Italy’s entire output.
There are many artisan producers who harvest according to traditional method.
Nothing beats cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. We know this especially well. This harvest year, 2021/2022, our own olive grove is set to produce between 350-400 litres of organic, extra virgin oil cold pressed at the local frantoio, ensuring the best quality.
The flavour of olive oil from Puglia will vary, depending on which part of our region it comes from, the weather conditions when fruiting and when the olives are harvested. Harvesting 40-60% ripe green olives will usually result in a fruity green oil. Ripe olives typically produce a golden, peppery oil.
Eataly has a selection of olive oil from Puglia. 500ml from £28.90. Or you can visit us in Puglia - we give our olive oil away to family and friends.
The first of our 2021/2022 organic extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed and unfiltered, is buttery with a peppery and mildly bitter undernote.
2. The Joy of Burrata
Burrata has become a global cheese, but its story originated in the 1920s in the southern Italian Murgia territory of Puglia. At first glance burrata may resemble mozzarella but it has a softer, creamier texture. The best part is when you slice through to reveal its creamy interior.
Usurping even mozzarella as the go to choice of chefs and food writers, you should be able to find Pugliese burrata in your Italian deli.
Eat it the day it is bought. If you keep it, the cheese will absorb the creamy interior and you will have missed out on the joy of burrata.
3. Ceramics from Grottaglie
Many restaurants around our region will serve food on ceramics made in Grottaglie by its artisan potters. Hand made and decorated, many are unique.
Bold and bright, or more muted, the choice is yours.
They are extremely decorative.
You can also find coffee cups, bowls, vases, light fittings, shot glasses (including those with the faces pictured above).
4. A Taste of Puglia
Cook, food writer and television presenter Sophie Grigson’s “A Curious Absence of Chickens” is a celebration of Sophie’s choice of life, food and recipes from Puglia, of reinvention and reinvigoration. Packed full of delicious recipes from Puglia that mark the simplicity and seasonality of our food.
Available from Amazon.co.uk and most likely from other international Amazon sites.
5. Red, Red Wine
After Veneto, Puglia is Italy’s main regional wine producer, well ahead of Sicily and Tuscany.
Famed for robust, spicy reds, try some Primitivo, Negroamaro, Nero di Troia or Salice Salento from Puglia. Having tried and tasted so very many, these are our favourites.
The prices quoted are from our local enoteca.
Sampietrana Salice Salentino. An easy drink. €6 bottle.
Iussum also by Sampietrana. A confident, smooth and very drinkable negroamaro also from Sampietrana. €6 bottle.
The lemons came from our olive grove, the Primitivo from our favourite producer and the robot is from Skaro. €10 bottle.
This is Nero di Troia. 2015, €10 bottle.
This stunning, startling, robust 2017 Negroamaro, Susmaniello is our absolute favourite. Rolled out on any occasion and when we want to impress. Also from Settebraccia, €10 bottle.
6. Gin from Puglia, Brewed Using Sea Water
Puglia has the longest coast of Italy’s mainland regions, so it is fitting that sea water is used to make one of our favourite local gins.
Luminarie are the traditional lights that are used to dress towns as they celebrate their patron saints’ days. Scorrano has the most famous display of all.
But they are also used in art installations and at Christmas.
Typically made using wood and coloured light bulbs, you can now buy modern 3D printed versions for home, using LED.
8. Orecchiette, Puglia’s “Promiscuous” Pasta
Orecchiette are Puglia’s iconic pasta shape, made from semolina flour and water shape. While orecchiette are traditionally served with cime di rapa, they are according to The Guardian’s Rachel Roddy a “promiscuous shape, and get on with almost every sauce”.
Here they are "married" with Casarecci, another typical pasta shape, ideal for catching thicker sauces. We love eating them in a simple tomato sauce or served up with slow cooked polpette and braciole.
We pay €1.60 for 500g of dried maritate from our local pastificio, though more often we buy it fresh for €1 for around 400g.
You can buy it in the UK or US from Eataly, from $9.50 for 500g