My Top 5 things to eat and drink in Polignano a Mare, Puglia
By Kathryn, from Travel with Kat
Puglia, the heel of Southern Italy, is a place I had long dreamed of visiting, with its pretty white-washed, cone-shaped trulli houses, ancient olive groves, medieval towns, white sand beaches and rocky coves but I’d only ever seen them in other people’s photos. So when I had the chance to photograph the beautiful 5 star Borgobianco Resort and Spa, just outside Polignano a Mare, I jumped at the chance. The hotel was superb and the staff so welcoming. Receptionist and marketing assistant, Laure, who had organised my visit, took the trouble to show me round Polignano and introduce me to some very special local eateries. What a treat! A delightful town perched on the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic coast and a travel foodies heaven on earth. Here are my top 5 tips for traditional cuisine in (and around) Polignano a Mare starting with the hotel itself.
Focaccia Bread and Caciovallo Cheese
Borgobianco’s restaurant is superb, serving traditional and international cuisine. Tasty pastas, succulent local meats, delicate fish dishes and exquisite sweets are all on offer, all beautifully presented. I would highly recommend it as the perfect place for a special occasion. However, one of the most moreish things I had while staying there was a simple plate of the tasty focaccia bread, with some lightly spiced caciovallo, a traditional Southern Italian cheese. So good.
Freshly caught Sea Urchins
Another great accompaniment to focaccia bread are the sea urchins which you can see being collected at the village of San Vito, a couple of miles north of Polignano. The café Giselda overlooking the little fishing harbour here is the perfect place to try this local dish, fresh from the sea and served raw with focaccia!
Italy is well known for its wines but Puglia also has some wonderful locally brewed beers. In the heart of Polignano’s old town you’ll find Ristorante Infermento, on Via Penna della Galera, where your host, Giuseppe, will be only too delighted to share his passion and recommend local beers, or indeed wines, from his superb collection. Although more of a wine bar than a restaurant, they serve great traditional food here too and in the evenings, especially when they have life music, the place is packed with locals.
Poliganano a Mare is well known for producing the best home-made gelato (ice-cream) in the area due to the delicious ice-creams created by Mario Campanella. Although he is now gone, his legacy remains and Mario Campanella’s “Il Super Mago del Gelo” on the Piazza Garibaldi, opposite the gateway to the old town, still serves delicious ice-cream. A few minutes up the road, Bar Turismo, on Via Pompeo Sarnelli is also well worth visiting.
A very ‘Special Coffee’
Puglia’s ‘caffè speciale’ can be found throughout the area but THE place to try it is also “Il Super Mago del Gelo”. Invented by Polignano’s ice-cream master Mario Campanella, the exact recipe is a secret but it is made with almond liqueur (made with chopped sweet almonds), ‘panna’ french chantilly cream (which is also used in his ice-creams), lemon peel and coffee in delicious bitter sweet harmony.
Every Sunday people from the city of Bari and indeed the whole of the surrounding area flock to Polignano a Mare for a delicious gelato and a caffè special. In the summer on Sundays, they close part of the town (the main three streets and the main squares) and Polignano becomes a big pedestrian area for ‘una passeggiata’ (a leisurely walk).
About the blogger:
Kathryn Burrington has worked in the travel industry for over 15 years as a graphic designer, photographer and, more recently, writer. Through her blog, Travel with Kat, she loves to share her joy of discovering new countries, cultures and cuisines.
See more of Kathryn’s photographs on Flickr.
Visit Kathryn’s blog Travel with Kat.