Fracasso pasticciotto (left) and one from Caffe' d'Aragona

The pasticciotto dilemma

As far as dilemmas go there are more important ones, I’m willing to grant that. Just to name a few – crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter, summer at the sea or in the mountains, Android or iOS, soft or crispy taco and so on. But down in Maglie – in the deepest deepest part of…

A liqueur Hemingway would certainly drink

My fascination with Italian spirits (the alcoholic kind) started at age 15 when I read A Farewell to Arms, where Henry and his cohorts spend an inordinate amount of time drinking grappa to gloss over the horrors of the war they are living. Hemingway also put back his share of the clear liquid while serving…

1 - olives on the ground

The Olive Harvest in Salento

Who hasn’t dreamed of leaving it all behind and becoming a farmer? Well, anyway, I have and fortunately on occasion I have a chance to pretend. In late December I was down in Salento again, Muro Leccese to be exact, where I took part in the olive harvest. The olive oil aficionados out there will…

Homage to the Fig

With this post I’m inaugurating the occasional “Homage to…” series in which I exalt, perhaps with a bit too much hyperbole, a plant, fruit, vegetable, or something else digestible that nature has bestowed upon us. You wake up, open the front door, walk to the fig tree on the far edge of the garden, pick-peel-eat,…

La Notte della Taranta

As mentioned in a few previous posts, they take their dancing very seriously in Salento. Since 1998 they have had a yearly festival called La Notte della Taranta, which culminates near the end of August with a huge free concert in Melpignano (this year on the 27th) that is attended by more than 100,000 people.…

Festa della Bruschetta in Palmariggi

No doubt everybody is acquainted with the humble bruschetta (if you aren’t, you should be). You toast some bread, add a little garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper and away you go. Variations are numerous and I’ve seen just about everything thrown on there though often the results are a bit flat. A bit…