On the second day of our week, a beautiful sunny morning we headed into Casalabate for the Sunday morning market. A great way to soak up both the sunshine and the local ambiance as well as buying fresh fruit and vegetables, great cheeses, almonds, walnuts and more. Our neighbour, Domenico, is a market trader and has a stall at most of the local markets selling produce that he and his family have grown on their farm. Over the years our regular guests have become well acquainted with Domenico and he always enjoys it when they try out their Italian on him.
No visit to Puglia is complete without a trip to one of the many wine makers, to taste and to buy, both for drinking during the holiday and to take home. It’s always wise to visit a cantina early in your holiday so that you have the best wine at the best prices available during your visit. A great way to discover all about Puglia wines and to taste a good selection is to take a wine tour, something that is great to do any time of the year. No surprise then that on our third day we took our guests to one of the cantinas we regularly visit, where we received a warm welcome, for a little wine shopping. No need for tastings this time as we all know what we like.
We were quite close to the town of Mesagne, a personal favourite. With one of the best maintained “centro storico” (historic centre) and a selection of superb restaurants it should not be missed. We took our guests to Osteria VicoLetto, located on a tiny paved alleyway just inside the centro storico. The speciality antipasti arrives as two plates, one from the land, one from the sea with some very different dishes. We ordered three antipasti between the six of us and there was more than enough to go around. Our main courses were all fantastic : pork fillet stuffed with local cheese and sun-dried tomato and wrapped in proscuitto was sublime, the tastiest, tenderest pork I have had in a long time. The pasta with lobster sauce and the orecchiette with meatballs and involtini were also judged to be excellent. The men passed on dessert, we ordered a taster plate for the three of us; the waiter smiled knowingly. When the taster plates arrived, they were rapidly followed by extra plates and forks – our men soon joined in.
Lunch for six, complete with complimentary prosecco, three bottles of very good wine, water and three courses each …. 180 euros.
A gentle stroll is almost obligatory after such a great lunch; it soon led us to the No Time cafe where we sat outside opposite the church with digestivi and watched the sun go down.
(all photos courtesy of Grethic)