I am very proud to say that I introduced Michele to pasticiotti.
They're delicious little cakes filled with custard and they are so incredibly moreish! They're a typical cake from Puglia and the Lecce region in particular so whenever we head down they are the first thing on my to-eat list.
We normally go to Murrieri in Racale to buy them - if you go, make sure you go for breakfast and eat a nice warm, fresh one! My favourites are the chocolate ones that have a layer of rich chocolate sauce underneath the custard.
Pasticiotti aside, our holidays in Puglia can unwittingly turn into a bit of a health kick. Working on the house all day means we're keeping active and then lunches are often salads eaten outdoors with freshly baked bread from the shop around the corner. I'm a real sucker for stracciatella - if you've ever had burrata, you'll know that it's pretty much the best thing ever. Except that stracciatella is better as it's essentially a tub of the burrata's creamy, sloppy heart - paradise!
Being right on the coast, there's also plenty of fresh fish - so much so that you might just get sick of it! If endless platters of Gallipoli prawns and anchovies and octopus aren't your cup of tea, heading inland for about ten minutes will show you a completely different menu. Normally restaurants on the seafront will serve up fish so those in the towns don't. There you're more likely to find vegetables and cheese and meat - the fruits of the earth. Orecchiette is the typical pasta shape of Puglia and is often eaten with cime di rapa, a bitter green vegetable cooked up with garlic and chilli - although every restaurant or town will have its own variation!
But when I am in the mood for fish, l'Angolo Blu in Gallipoli cannot be beaten. The menu doesn't really change that often but their almond encrusted prawns and their tagliata di tonno (strips of tuna steak seared at the edges on a bed of rocket, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes) are so delicious I'm glad it doesn't.
You eat well, you live well. It's a completely different world down there.