At the beginning of September I enjoyed a week’s holiday in Puglia. More precisely in the Gargano, the peninsula just above Italy’s heel in the north of Puglia. The spur of the boot, so to say. This is the province of Foggia where there also is the sanctuarium of Padre Pio.
For me it was the first time I went to the south of Italy and I stared my eyes out, it seems like another country. From Umbria we drove to Macerata in the Marche and from here took the A14 southwards along the Adriatic coast. Until Abruzzo it’s all familiar green hills, red roofs and hill top towns. Once you enter Molise the landscape starts to change. The land is more flat, lots of rocks, less green, dirt along the roads, white houses with flat roofs, large fields with tomatoes (where mainly non Italians are working for hours at a stretch in extreme heat) and many many barbary figs.
Once off the A14 and arriving at our destination we discovered sandy beaches, deep blu sea with very clear water, lots of bays where divers will have a ball. Don’t forget to take diving goggles and a snorkel with you when you go here. This is also the area with many “trabucco”, wooden constructions on top of a cliff above the sea with large nets attached to it. This is the traditional way of fishing which some continue to do. I was told the nets could fit in a complete bus, that’s how big they are.
One day we went to the Tremiti islands, a group of four small islands in the middle of the Adriatic sea: deep blu sea, extremely clear water with many fish, caves and an enormous amount of pleasure crafts. Better not go here in July and August! It was un unforgettable day: we swam in a beautiful sea and had a peep at the statue of Padre Pio which is put at 12 meters below the sea and surrounded by many fish.
We weren’t particularly impressed by the local kitchen, but then it was fairly touristic here. You may need to know some locals to find the right places to eat. On the other hand, returning home we stopped in Colfiorito in Umbria for lunch at a not very inviting looking ristoro: what a discovery!
Stefano welcomed us and showed us a table. There is no menu, we had to eat what was served. Children do not have to pay. It wasn’t clear to me until what age, but suspect this is rather flexible.
We got home made bread with lovely olive oil to start, freshly made ricotta (still warm), a tasty soup of spinach and herbs, salad with fresh mozzarella, spicy beans, fresh eggs with herbs and vegetables and other starters. We were asked whether we also wanted to taste some pasta which we did, the main meat course we skipped. It was just too much. For the children a simple but very tasty pasta al pomodoro was served. All was made with fresh local ingredients.
If you are in the area of Colfiorito, for instance to make a tour to the Pianogrande, do go and eat here. It is quite an experience, because of the quality of the food, and also because of the sympathy of the owners. One gets the food on one’s plate straight from the pan and if Stefano feels like it, he’ll sit with you for a quick bite. Also the wine was of excellent quality and the water served is from a well along the road just a bit further on. For Sunday lunch you will have to make a reservation, and if you are a larger group also on other days. We paid euro 25 per person, all in.
Bottega dei Vecchi Sapori
06034 Colfiorito (PG)
This is on a parking lot off the main the road where also other shops are.
The telephone number of Stefano is: +393493440350.
Until 12 o’clock he will answer the phone – he says -, after 12 he will only answer to women (!).
– Posted by Saskia van der Bolt –