Each people developed a culinary culture based on the ingredients they could produce on their territory. In fact, in the regions of central Italy such as Emilia Romagna or Tuscany, products such as cured meats and aged cheeses are very present on the tables. Furthermore, in Germany, potatoes, meat and sausages are omnipresent on the tables. In addition, the same can be said for kid or pork in Greece. In particular, Puglia has a culinary tradition based on its wealth of agricultural production. Furthermore, in recent years, food education is becoming a cultural heritage of an increasing number of people. In particular, everyone now knows how harmful animal fats are if ingested in excessive quantities.
Furthermore, it is now known to everyone what saturated and unsaturated fats are. In particular, the former are molecules that have affinity for the walls of blood vessels. Therefore, if present in excess in the blood, they have a tendency to deposit on the walls of blood vessels, decreasing their diameter. Furthermore, their excessive presence makes the blood less fluid. In addition, it increases the possibility that some fragments of the plaques can break off entering the bloodstream and causing the risk of stroke (occlusion of a blood vessel).
In particular, the damage caused by this phenomenon can also be very serious when it affects the brain. A value that can warn us about the risk of this event occurring is represented by blood cholesterol values. In particular, LDL cholesterol tends to accumulate on the walls of blood vessels, reducing their diameter. On the contrary, HDL cholesterol has a protective function against this phenomenon.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DIFFERENT EATING HABITS
For the reasons mentioned at the beginning of the article also in Puglia, over the centuries numerous dishes have evolved whose ingredients are typical products that are grown in this land. So based on wealth of agricultural production. However, in the past, the possibilities of transporting food to distant places were very limited. So local cuisines were almost always based on zero-kilometer products.
A TRIP TO PUGLIA
A traveler wishing to visit Puglia could do so by crossing it by car. So, coming from the north of the region, you would immediately notice the woods of the Gargano that contrast with the nearby beaches. A visitor would arrive in Vieste and, there he could taste recipes based on products of the earth such as cheeses (including the famous caciocavallo), wine, oil, peppers. So he could taste excellent dishes typical of other areas of Puglia as well. In fact, I am referring to dishes based on locally grown chicory. They can be served boiled and seasoned with Apulian olive oil and lemon or vinegar for those who prefer it. In addition they can be an ingredient of the famous dish: broad beans and chicory.
Both of these dishes are rich in minerals and vitamins as well as fiber. They are also seasoned with extra virgin olive oil rich in vitamins, antioxidants as well as beneficial unsaturated fats (those that are good for health). In addition you could taste the typical orecchiette with turnip tops. So you could also eat these vegetables served with beans.
A traveler wishing to visit Puglia should not forget to taste the many culinary specialties based on fish. In fact, starting from the north of Puglia you can find excellent dishes with fish in places where fishing is one of the economic activities at the base of the local economy. So I refer to Vieste and the Tremiti islands. In particular, these dishes have the typical smells of local products. That is parsley, basil, capers, wild rocket, oregano. Homemade bread and pasta are also typical of these territories and have a typical flavor and texture.
TYPICAL RECIPES FROM THE PROVINCE OF BARI
I recommend to meat lovers to taste the famous “chops alla barese” also known as “brasciole”. They are a typical Sunday dish prepared with horse meat. In particular, traditionalists cook them with the flap (diaphragm) which is stuffed with garlic, pecorino cheese and parsley. The slice of meat is rolled up and closed using toothpicks or, according to tradition, even with tailor’s thread. Then they are browned with oil and chopped onion and cooked in the sauce with a very slow cooking. So if you want to follow the tradition they are served with orecchiette from Bari.
I mentioned this meat-based dish because it is a delicacy that a traveler in Puglia cannot avoid tasting at least once even if there are plant-based Apulian dishes that are exceptional. In particular I am referring to the Calzone with onions, broad beans and chicory that we also found in the Gargano, baked lampascioni. Above all, one should not leave Puglia without having tasted the famous eggplant parmigiana.
TYPICAL RECIPES FROM THE PROVINCE OF LECCE
Going further down you would arrive in the province of Lecce with its splendid beaches and typical Baroque monuments. In particular, here you could taste the Pittule (balls of leavened and fried dough), the Porcedduzzi (similar to the Bari cartellate, the Frisa, Spaghetti with sea urchins, the Polpu alla pignata or the typical Cicri etria.
They are all dishes cooked using typical local products rich in vitamins, vegetable proteins, antioxidants, fibers and almost always accompanied by the excellent Apulian extra virgin olive oil. In particular, the latter is very rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Furthermore, the Apulian dishes based on wealth of agricultural production are often accompanied by the typical local wine which has very high antioxidant properties thanks to the high resveratrol content of the Apulian grapes. In addition, adding these qualities to the scarcity of saturated fats in typical Apulian dishes, I could define the cuisine of the “boot of Italy” as a real elixir of long life.
dr. Massimiliano Mangafà
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