Puglia — the whole trip…

We just returned from eight glorious days touring Puglia.  Using their deep knowledge of the region, its history, culture and geography – plus their passion and expertise about food and wine — Southern Visions Travel planned an exceptional custom-crafted itinerary with me, and they delivered it masterfully.

The principals, Laura and Antonello, and team members Ali and Leigh, made every experience a delight.  We:

  • had cooking lessons at Masseria Gelso Bianco,
  • marveled at the rapid orecchiette-making by the ladies in Bari Vecchia
  • visited bread making in Altamura, stayed in an original trullo in Alberobello,
  • watched and participated in artisanal mozzarella production,
  • shopped at local markets with an abundance of amazing fruits, vegetables, fish, and produce of all kinds,
  • were hosted at two marvelous wineries
  • ate at fine local restaurants, cafes and trattorias
  • explored Pogliano a Mare, Matera, Monopoli, Ostuni, Lecce and beaches along the Adriatic Sea

In over 55 years of travel, including eight trips to Italy, I’ve never had a more enjoyable experience.  I can wholeheartedly recommend Southern Visions Travel and its people.  You can see a short slideshow with some of the food and wine highlights with this YouTube video.

As you know, I am a vegan now.  It turns out that Puglia is one of the best regions in Italy for a vegan, with its high quality, plentiful vegetables and grains, as well as pastas made without egg.  Still, even though I celebrated the first anniversary of my culinary transformation during this trip, I also found it tempting to enjoy some non-vegano taste thrills along the way.  Some of the cheeses and seafood were the most attractive reasons for my excursions.  With lots of clean, fresh air and plenty of walking, the small quantities of animal protein did not feel deleterious to my health.

For those of you who want to see more photos of the Puglia trip, here is a list of new photo albums for each part of our trip:

Finally, I want to acknowledge with special thanks: to Jan D’Amore, who arranged with Filippo Cassano and Rita Trotti for a tour and tasting of the delicious wines at Cantina Polvanera in Gioia dell Colle; to Juliette Pope of Gramercy Tavern, who told me about Polvanera’s wines (they were featuring the Primitivo) and who introduced me to Jan; and to my wife, Barbara, who fed my bread starters for 15 days while also taking such good care of our grandchildren on her assigned days.

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