Caving In. Puglia Sea Adventure

More from Grotta Palazzese.  A memorable evening in the Puglia seaside town of Polignano a Mare.  If you plan on going, make sure to check their schedule as it varies with the time of year.

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Dinner in a Sea Cave. Live Your Italian Dream.

Dinner in a sea cave; no windows or ceiling; the ocean breeze wafting about as you listen to the waves crash on the rocks. This is the seaside town of Polignano a Mare in Puglia. The restaurant Grotta Palazzese is definitely a tourist attraction with over priced food – but it is well worth the price for the experience. We dined a bit early by Italian standards and were treated to the most prized table located on the edge of the cave, overlooking the ocean. For accommodations, we did not stay in the hotel associated with restaurant but rather in the neighboring town of Monopoli – a short 10 minute car ride from Polignano a Mare.  I had seen this restaurant in a Facebook post of all places and just decided to make it a priority on our trip last October.  I’m glad I did.

First Time. Pizza and Me.

MPizzaiandmey first pizza. I used the pizza dough recipe from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook made the sauce and carmelized onions from http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/healthy-mediterranean-pizza/ and cooked on an Emile Henry pizza stone in an oven that goes to 550 degrees. Not bad for a first try. I will make the crust thinner next time but even with this thickness, the crust was perfect.  

Do you have a pizza secret to share?

Charm and Grace. Buonanotte Lecce.

Have you ever been to Puglia? Lecce is a charming city nestled in the heel of the Italian boot.  She turns on her charm on warm summer evenings.

Stop by a local shop to taste a local favorite wine – Salice Salentino – and enjoy the moment. Salice Salentino is a red wine produced mainly from the Negroamaro grape. Do not miss this or your evening passeggiata.

Pentimento. A Roman Thing.

A photo of Rome I snapped late in the afternoon in the fading sunlight. The quintessential nature of this fascinates me. The old overlays the new  – or is it the other way around? The past intertwines with the present. The word Pentimento describes it beautifully.  I first read this word in a Lillian Hellman biography of the same name.  It is defined as an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent.  Something for us to think about.

Fresh Ricotta Anyone?

RicottaItalyandMeOk. Admit it. Your image of ricotta comes from a tub bought in the supermarket. Dry and tasteless. Think again. Imagine ricotta so light and smooth that it melts on your tongue.  It has a rich yet vibrant taste.  That’s the real stuff.  When in Rome last October I became addicted to this. Try it with honey. Yum.

The only sad thing is that it’s almost extinct here in the U.S.  I’ve searched high and low.  Some say “make it yourself” with a combination of heating milk and curdling with lemon juice.  This produces a nice and light homemade cheese but it is NOT ricotta. Ricotta (re-cooked) is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Similar but not the same.

I sure wish I had some right now.  Don’t you?