Food is an integral part of Puglia’s identity.
Puglia is Italy’s biggest producer of olive oil - around 40% of Italian extra virgin olive oil comes from Puglia - and Italy’s 2nd largest wine producing area, well known for rich, full bodied reds.
Our tradition of la cucina povera (“peasant food”) serves up simple but inventive dishes using seasonal, locally produced, fresh and flavourful ingredients.
And we gave the world burrata.
Eat Puglia 2022 | Rebel FoodExp 2022
Recorded at FoodExp 2022 we speak to Italian food writer and travel consultant Paolo Vizzari, Virginia Newton from Copenhagen’s 3 Michelin-starred Geranium, currently the 2nd best restaurant in the world.
We find out about Quintessenza, Trani’s only Michelin-starred restaurant from Michele Di Ceglie one of the chefs who support Stefano Di Gennaro and we finish off with some blow your mind carbonara from the Carbogang guys who came all the way from Trento in the north of Italy to cook for us - and we are very happy they did.
Paolo is an inspiration to listen to. He is passionate about food - and it shows.
Paolo started writing about food aged 12 (his father is a famous Italian food critic) and “retired” as a food critic at 27! These days he works mainly as a food travel consultant, and is also co-host of Good Morning Italia.
We have a serious talk about tasting menu experience vs being fed. He explains why the infamous review of one of Puglia’s Michelin starred restaurants we recently referenced in our grumble about the Trouble With A Tasting Menu started with the wrong frame of reference, and missed the point.
Sometimes, he explained to us, you want to listen to the Beatles. At other times you want to listen to Mozart. And just as he wouldn’t listen to Chopin as background for his morning run - Paolo would want the energy of AC/DC to power him through - so we need to understand that the home cooking style of a Pugliese trattoria is not comparable with the experience of the Pellegrino Brothers Bros’ restaurant tasting menu. This is not what chefs Floriano Pellegrino and his fiancé Isabella Potì, he explains, are trying for at Bros’.
The infamous review about Bros’ that went viral
“There is something to be said about a truly disastrous meal, a meal forever indelible in your memory because it’s so uniquely bad, it can be deemed an achievement. The sort of meal where everyone involved was definitely trying to do something; it’s just not entirely clear what.“
“What’s already on fire can’t burn.”
We have reflected on what Paolo told us, and we feel that we should keep an open mind not only about Bros’, but also about tasting menus in general.
Though Floriano does come with his own posse.
Virginia Newton | Geranium Copenhagen
However we should not loose sight of what our second podcast guest Virginia Anne Newton of Copenhagen’s Geranium restaurant told the FoodExp audience. Authenticity and providing a comfortable and relaxing dining experience, casting aside the pretentions and performance elements, is an integral part of their experience.
And Geranium, with its 3 Michelin stars is currently, officially, the second best restaurant in the world.
Michele Di Ceglie | Quintessenza Trani
Michele one of the chefs at Trani’s only Michelin-starred restaurants introduced us to Quintessenza and talked about their seasonal seafood biased menu.
We haven’t eaten there, but it is now on our radar.
Meet the Carbogang | Serving Up Carbonara realness since 2017
Emanuele Riccardo Costella, Sebastiano Dalsasso, Alessio Tomarelli and Alex Valle are the Carbogang, four guys driven by a passion for the gastronomic world and carbonara.
Emanuele: “Carbogang is a big family, our daily commitment is to make each of our Carbofratello live a unique experience”
Sebastiano: “Carbogang is where tradition meets innovation. Our intent is to share the goodness, simplicity and tradition of each dish in our own way "
Alessio:" We are meticulous in the search for every single product, we always try to enhance and enhance a concept dear to us, QUALITY. We want to bring only the best for you to the table "
Alex: “Sharing a simple dish creates a unique atmosphere, in company we all feel more at home. Cooking is an act of love "
Well, we loved their carbonara. And you can too. Pick up one of their CarboKits with everything you need to replicate their beloved dish. You are in safe hands with their online cooking tutorial to guide you to the perfect carbonara.
And their search for carbonara domination doesn’t just stop with carbonara. Other recipes include carboburger. But whatever you do, pleaded Sebastiano, no cream, no cream cheese please.
More | our curated guide to Puglia’s best restaurants and eating experiences | Masseria Moroseta review - expensive but exceptional dining | Grottaglie’s La Luna nel Pozzo - could this be one of Puglia’s best restaurants? | Puglia - where to base yourself on vacation | the definitive gay guide to Puglia 2022.