Another night in Salento, another night of pizzica, and some more food to be filed with the other stuff you once swore you’d never eat.
This time the scene is the beautiful piazza in Muro Leccese, a picturesque town in the heart of Salento two kilometers from Maglie (one of the region’s main cities). With the square packed wall to wall with people it was hard not to get caught up in the dancing. They take their pizzica seriously here, so serious in fact that a break in the on-stage music is anything but a break as people pull out their tambourines and fill the void (see the video). This one-night event, called Ballati, is in its second year and given the turnout I imagine we can except it to be repeated August 11 next year. I’ll be there.
For your foodie this was yes a chance to refine his pizzica technique – he’s looking a little less ridiculous at each festa – but also to try some more local chow.
What to say about the panino con pezzetto di cavallo (with a thick slice of stewed horse meat)? The rush of iron and protein provided by the meat certainly helped power me through the long night of pizzica, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back for more. If you can get over the eating horse thing, not easy for a lot of us, there is still the problem that the intense flavor of the meat can be a bit off putting if you are not used to it. Hey, it’s low fat though.
On the plus side, the pittule were excellent. These are little balls of fried dough that get eaten piping hot right out of the pot. They are not particularly tasty, but they are immensely gratifying to eat because they satisfy that fried food craving that is lurking in all of us.
I’ve also had these spiked with vegetables and those are indeed yummy. I’ve never seen them topped with sugar, but perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough cause that would seem like a perfect match creating something akin to what in the States we call a doughnut hole.