Puglia is the “heel of the boot”. It is surrounded by water; the Adriatic sea and the Ionian sea. This means you gotta eat fresh fish and seafood, and there’s an array of it to sample!
The first thing to try is the raw seafood platter. You’ll find the seasonal items; in my case, I had oysters, sea urchins, clams, mussels, scampi, and gambero viola (purple shrimp). The gambero viola di Gallipoli is the lesser known cousin of the gambero rosso di Mazzara del Vallo. Also enjoyed raw, the gambero viola is a bit less delicate in flavor and texture, however, it remains a beautiful addition to a raw platter (loved it with my raw scampi)! if you visit during sea urchin season, have them raw, in a pasta, whichever way you can eat them! You must stop in Gallipoli and enjoy those great products and the beautiful seaview. Don’t forget to fare la scarpetta with some great tasting bread and sop up all that nice sea urchin juice ( and whatever seafood juice in your plate)!!
One evening, I decided to have a fish-based aperitivo in a restaurant. I was served this nice little platter with smoked swordfish on sgagliozze, which are fried polenta chips, one of Bari’s great streetfood. There was also fried cod and fried shrimp, some mozzarella, fried dough, and a nice slice of raw salmon. As a red wine lover, I paired it with a nice negroamaro, as it is light enough for fish and fried foods. You will also find a nice selection of rosés in that varietal as well as in primitivo.
Another sea “must-eat” of the region, is octopus! Grilled, stewed, fried, with your aperitivo, in your pasta, as an antipasto, or in a panino. Just eat it, all the versions are delicious, some served with mozzarella, others with chick pea purée. The choice is yours to enjoy!