Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pag. 30

An early taste of spring


The good weather is arriving in Puglia, the foodie heaven - but not yet the crowds, says

Rosanna de Lisle

Why go?

Spring comes early to the Mediterranean and in Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, the wild flowers and blossom are out and the crowds are still months away. It's already warm enough, on a fine day, to have lunch outside.
Food is one Puglia's main draws. Most of Italy's pasta and olive oil is made here, but it's the raw ingredients - the greenest vegetables, the sweetest fruit - that have put Puglia on the foodie map.
Criss-crossed by groves of gnarled oldolive trees and stone walls, the interior is largely flat and, by subber, bleached. The coast is alternately straight, with windswept sandy beaches, and rugged, with rocky coves. The light is shartp, the Adriatic Sea cobalt-blue. It could be Greece. In the seventh century BC, it was - at list, the Greeks colonised it. All of Puglia is to much for a short break, so stick to the Salentine Peninsula for sea air, good food and the baroque architecture of Lecce.


Lunch in...

Alle Due Corti

Alle due Corti, Corte dei Giugni 1 (0832-242223) in Lecce, where the dialect menu runs the gamut of Pugliese cuisine, from Orecchiette cu le Rape (pasta with turnip tops) to Turcinieddhi (roasted baby-goat entrails). About £27 for two, with house wine; closed Sunday.