In Puglia the people give great respect to the land and its produce. Ingredients are respected and new seasons are greeted with enthusiasm for the new produce and flavours that they bring.
Agriculture in Puglia has been the main activity of its inhabitants since the Greeks. In traditional Masseria’s the land is cultivated in respect of the most ancient traditions with most using only organic farming methods.
On 11 November, the Feast of San Martino is celebrated. It is an important anniversary that unites the Christian liturgy with the rural tradition linked to the opening of the barrels of new wine and the pleasures of good food.
The Feast of St. Martin of November 11th is a very heartfelt anniversary in many Italian towns and cities, so much so that even Giosuè Carducci was inspired by this date - which in many areas was a non-working day - to compose one of his most famous poems San Martino.
THE FESTIVAL OF SAN MARTINO
Just as his life between the countryside and the lower classes, the cult of San Martino is closely linked to rituals and customs of the rural tradition.
On the same day of San Martino it falls precisely in a period of great ferment for the rural world.
In these days in fact in the vineyards the barrels open for the first tastings of the "new" wine (hence the saying: "in San Martino every must becomes wine") and in antiquity it was common practice to renew agricultural contracts and hold large fairs of livestock.
November 11th is also known as the Summer of San Martino, since usually in that week of autumn it becomes milder and it is not uncommon to encounter very sunny days.
In short, the Feast of San Martino is an opportunity not only to glorify the saint, but also to celebrate the fruits of the earth and the abundance of good food.
In addition to filling the glasses in fact, in San Martino fill the bellies, especially in a country with a varied culinary tradition like Italy.
Grilled meat and roasted chestnuts, pittule and wine in Salento and typical biscuits in Palermo: the whole of Italy is at the table for San Martino.
The flavours that come from such traditions have to be tasted to be believed. It can’t be argued that good food and good humour go hand in hand.
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Each season is characterised by particular and representative colours, smells and flavors. Autumn bids the Summer goodbye, also taking over from it at the table. Stocking up on delicious and healthy foods this season Autumn is officially on the table in Italy.
When the leaves change colour and from the trees begin to fall, the weather gets colder and the sky darkens before, then we find ourselves in Autumn. With the new season means not only that pumpkins, apples and cinnamon-based foods arrive in abundance but the Autumn reserves much more.
The beginning of a new season always fills us with delight at the thought of the new foods it will bring to the table. Puglia being known for it's fantastic food across Italy and further away prides itself on a cuisine based on local seasonal produce.
This season's foods are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, nutritious vitamins for the skin and compounds that reduce stress.
Here are the six best foods to be enjoyed in Puglia this Autumn:
1. Grapes: although the fruit is commonly considered as a food for warmer months, grapes are grown mainly in autumn.
2. Broccoli: rich in fibre, broccoli is the best during the autumn months and is an excellent side dish for meals.
3. Raspberries and pomegranates: acidic and juicy, raspberries reach maximum taste in autumn. Pomegranates are bursting with antioxidants perfect to stock up on before the winter.
4. Apples: they contain pectin, which helps lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure; and are also loaded with vitamins A, E and beta carotene.
5. Chestnuts: they are one of the very symbols of autumn: chestnuts are a real delicacy for the palate and contain many beneficial properties.
6. Mushrooms: low in calories and rich in vitamins, mushrooms are among the healthy "vegetables and vegetables" to include in your autumn meals.