The cuisine in Puglia is called peasant cooking (cucina povera). The staples are olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, peppers, salami, mushrooms, olives and fresh seafood. We have had some amazing food and wine, not having eaten out, but from meals cooked using the ingredients from the markets. Some may find it inconvenient that if a vegetable, herb, or fruit isn’t in season or cannot grow in the region, that you just won’t be able to get it. I think it should be that way everywhere, you’re guaranteed the freshest, local ingredients. This limited variety means that canning and jarring a lot more popular than in the states. Even still, I’d rather have my own jarred tomatoes from last season than the out of season tomatoes or the jar of Prego in the grocery stores. It’s easy for me to say though, because I don’t actually live here.
On our trip to the local market, we learned the market is less about grocery shopping and more about socializing. We’ve been twice now, once in rainy weather and again on a sunny day, and it was a completely different experience. The colors were so vibrant and there was a scent of fresh strawberries in the air. I figured I was likely being stared at (in a bad way) snapping all of my photos, until one of the stand owners told me to start taking photos of his flowers, ha! Our hosts picked up some strawberries, potatoes, a big hunk of parmesan cheese, and some plants. Afterwards we walked to a nearby café to soak up some sunshine and sip on cappuccino’s. A perfect Sunday morning!