The Salento is sun, sea, folklore. But it is also good cuisine and ancient traditions that have their roots in peasant culture, which has left us a legacy of unique delicacies to be savored. Between summer festivals, restaurants, trattorias but above all houses of Salento grandmothers and mothers, there is always the possibility of tasting something good. Let’s see together the 5 typical dishes not to be missed.
Ciceri and tria
When it comes to Salento cuisine, one cannot but think of the oldest and perhaps most popular dish of all: ciceri e tria. It’s a dish of pasta with chickpeas, certainly of Arab influence, at the time of the settlements in Puglia. Tria is a particular type of fried dough, which is boiled together with cooked chickpeas, previously left to soak. To flavor this special dish, salt, onion, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, extra virgin olive oil and, for those who like a more decisive taste, some chilli peppers are used.
Broad beans and chicory
Another dish not to be missed, broad beans and chicory, fully represents the tradition of poor Salento cuisine. It is served hot but is still a fairly light dish, completely based on vegetables, particularly suitable for summer evenings. The mashed broad beans is seasoned with garlic, onion, sliced potatoes , tomato and celery and is served in the same dish together with the chicory.
Pieces of horse
Horsemeat is one of the flagships of Salento cuisine and is served in different variations, among which the tastiest pieces undoubtedly stand out. The meat is cooked in a terracotta container , the famous pignata, together with the sauce, which is prepared with tomato puree, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, black pepper, olive oil and, to taste, chili pepper. Alternatively, you can opt for stuffed sandwiches, typical of festivals, white nights and patronal feasts, or the spiced grilled horse.
Scapece from Gallipoli
Those who visit Gallipoli, the pearl of the Ionian, cannot fail to have noticed the stalls of scapece, in its characteristic wooden containers, the undisputed protagonists of festivals and patronal celebrations throughout Salento. Its history is very ancient and dates back to times when, during famines, it was necessary to stock up on food that did not cost much and could be kept for a long time. It is a typical dish of the city of Gallipoli and represents a real treat based on small fish fried in olive oil and left to marinate in vinegar with breadcrumbs and saffron, which gives them an intense flavor and the typical yellowish color.
At the end. Literally. The Pasticciotto is the typical dessert of the Salento tradition, the king of breakfasts in the heel of Italy. However, it can be enjoyed at any time of the day, preferably accompanied by a nice glass of iced coffee. Traditional pasticciotti consist of a warm and crumbly shell of shortcrust pastry, filled with custard. There are other variants, which include a sour cherry to accompany the cream or, alternatively, fruit jams or nutella instead of the latter. But let us tell you: the real pasticciotto must be savored in its traditional recipe!
Between restaurants, trattorias, bars, patisseries and chip shops, Salento will know how to delight your palate from breakfast to dinner, passing through lunch and an aperitif. Seeing is believing!