Posted by: Rachel | December 1, 2013

how to learn Italian (part 3)

Well I’ve been home from Puglia for a few weeks now and the trip details are starting to blur a bit, but a few moments (and meals) still stand out.

Cycling along the coast, and I mean right along the coast was delicious. Quiet roads with the sea just a few yards away, fresh fresh air, and the occasional driver seemed far more interested in getting home for lunch than in aggravating or endangering cyclists. Quite a change from my usual experiences with city riding!

Then there was the day we had lunch at Masseria Il Frantoio. We didn’t stay here beyond the meal, but I sure didn’t want to leave!

so pretty (and gooooood!)

so pretty (and gooooood!)

I mean, sometimes the presentation is everything and sometimes the food trumps all, but the lunch we had this day was beautiful and delicious!

This was “Cicorielle selvatiche assise in cesto di pecorino”, which Google translates as “Wild chicory with pecorino cheese sat in the basket”. Trust me, it was wonderful.

See, this Masseria specializes in olives and olive oil, so each savory course had its own olive oil to either dress the offering or use as part of the cooking. So this second course was indeed cooked wild greens “sat in a basket” of pecorino! Mmmmmmm…

Lunch went on and on; happily they gave us a printed menu so I can better recall what all we ate. There was amazing fresh whole wheat pasta with artichokes and herbs, a crazy fish dish with raisins that was out of this world, something they told us was “Pizzelle con sughetto” which was tiny fried bread fritters with a fresh fresh tomato sauce, and for dessert, well…

ricotta flan with strega


A few days before I left on the trip my sister told me that a friend of hers had just introduced her to Strega.

She knows I am partial to mint and fennel, and that I am also partial to “digestifs”. Its true – you may recall that I make my own limoncello? Anyway she told me to keep an eye out in case I should happen across some.

Happily it found me!

As I told her, I’m sure you certainly could drink the stuff, or you could mix it with ricotta and eggs, bake it, then top it with a crunchy almond cookie, and finally serve it with a faint dusting of powdered sugar, a few pomegranate seeds, and a yucca flower… mmmmmmm!! Exquisite!

bowls of different kinds of olives

a baker’s dozen plus!

I’m going to leave you today with this image of a few of the varieties of olives they offer at Masseria Il Frantoio.

Me, I’m off to the liquor store to see about investing in a bottle of Strega! Mmmm… Buon appetito, have a fine week, stay warm if your part of the world is getting ready for winter, and be safe in any event!



  1. Ah yes, sweet memories fade so quickly. Thank you for taking us through your travels. Everything sounds lovely!

    • It was… and will continue to be even if a bit vague… Mmmmmm!!

  2. One of the most delicious posts that I can remember reading. Fantastic. The Puglia region is amazing as is the food and particularly the oil. Love the idea of the Strega dessert….funnily enough I’m not keen on Strega as a drink, but it would make a delicious flavouring. As for limoncello…I drank far too much of it on holidays to Positano: I don’t think I could ever face drinking another glass of it, unless I was sitting on the balcony of Le Sirenuse at sunset….then I’d give it another go:)

    • Oh Roger, Roger, you and that limoncello… Try a little on good chocolate ice cream some time. Maybe that’ll float your boat 😉 Mmmm…

  3. Reblogged this on Masseria Il Frantoio.

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