2nd episode – 1 Day, 5 local producers and 1 chef to discover gastronomy essence of the Itria Valley!

If you read the first part of the article a few days ago, you should know that we have had already some nice discoveries in the Itria Valley (Area located in the Puglia region in Italy) with the visit of a cheesemonger producing mozzarella and an organic vegetable garden. (For the people who would have missed the first awesome episode, the post is here) If we think about those 2 first visits, we could have already prepared great dishes with the products but it was only the beginning of the day.

Wine discoveries…

2013-11-30 12.00.03Our third visit was a winery located in Gioia del colle selling organic wines. The most impressive thing about wines in Puglia is that winery use mainly local grape varieties to produce their wines. No known name here, we are talking about Primitivo for the red wine and Minutolo for the white because they are the grapes cultivated in the Gioia area but there are many more. Contrarily to us, Frenchy, they do not mature the wine in wood casks to keep the natural flavour of the grape and the wine is very strong in alcohol du to the sun that is usually shining a lot (WHERE was it??). The Primitivo offered in this winery was between 14 and 17%, which seems a lot when you are used to French wines or Spanish wines… The wine is as natural as possible with a very specific nose and body du to the grape and the soil of the region containing a lot of iron dioxide.

2013-11-30 12.24.06Of course we enjoyed a full wine tasting of the winery with a sparkling rosé “Champenoise method” from Primitivo grapes, a Minutolo white wine and three Primitivo: 14%, 16% and 17%. Fortunately, we had a large choice of antipasti to eat with the wine or we could have finished the day sleeping in the bus! I really have been surprised by some of the wines by a very distinctive nose. Particularly the white wine, Minutolo, which nose was very close to the muscatel but it is not a sweet wine and the Primitivo 16% which nose was very fruity and smelled a lot like dry figs with a powerful body. I really want to learn more about these unusual wines and discover more of the region!

Tracking the oil making process…

2013-11-30 14.19.00To continue our day, we went to visit the Intini olive oil fabric in Alberobello (trulli UNESCO site). This family produces extra Virgin olive oil (only the best of course) from different olive types using 3 mechanical processes that create different quality and taste of oil. Like for the wine, the region has various native olives.

Puglia counts 60 millions of olive trees. According to the legend (I don’t like it very much), when the men where fishing for several weeks far from home (fishing was the first activity in the region), women were unfaithful and to redeem themselves they ask what they could do to the priest. He advised them to plant a tree for each adventure they may had. So typical…

2013-11-30 14.30.40Anyway, the olive picking season takes place between October and February each year so it is actually the full season. The fabric owns 3 production lines: a semi-traditional line, a modern line and an ultra modern line. The biggest differences between the semi-traditional line and the ultra modern one is the speed of the process (2 hours and half against 30 mins) and the fact that the ultra modern line does not allow any contact with the air; the oil is therefore very pure and does not contain any oxidation. Intini received its most prestigious prizes thanks to the new production line.

2013-11-30 14.27.29For the curious or the non initiated, the difference between the olive oil and the extra virgin oil is defined by the pH: the extra virgin oil acidity is located between 0,1 and 0,8 when the regular olive oil is located between 1 and 1,8. That was the scientific paragraph of my post.

Like for the wine, we had a full tasting of 4 distinctive olive oils… Gloups, it is not the best tasting I had. 😛 It reminds me to much the yogurt with the olive oil that my mother gave me when I was seek (Grand mother remedy).

In my last episode, I will tell you all about our discoveries of the production of the Capocollo of Martina Franca, a delicious cured meat and the orecchiette tasting at the chef d’Onghia restaurant in Putignano.

PS: If you’d like to discover more about the Puglia region and if you want to taste the famous orecchiette, a giveaway on my travel blog is taking place right now! It’s here

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