Puglia without the crowds

November 29, 2017 1 comment

What better than the excuse of a 40th birthday (not mine though!) to explore a new region.
Or .. what better than a celebration with friends to enjoy a week-end away from the children?
Or again .. what better than a few days in grey November to enjoy the Puglian sun?!

I’ll take all three please.

Not that i need an excuse to go to Italy. I‘ve written about Sicily here, and about CapriRomeTuscany, Umbria and Matera. This is my best of Ostuni and around. I think that my nona (aka grand-mother) would be proud to read these.

Our three nights at Masseria Moroseta were indeed very special, connecting with old friends, laughing, cooking together and staying up late without worrying about making breakfast for the children the morning after. It was sweet but short although sometimes, we don’t need much more than that to come home fully recharged.

Masseria Moroseta is a beautiful old farm opened about a year ago by Carlo, a Milanese who has spent the first part of his working life making movie sets in London. He knows a thing or two about composition, style and light, the three key ingredients that make the beauty of his place. From the large press and instagram coverage that he has received in his first year, you’d think that it was an overnight success. But it actually took him about 5 years to see the realisation of his hard work, from getting the permits at the Italian administration to building a brand new masseria a few meters away from the original one. A gentle reminder that nothing in life comes with the blink of an eye. His attention to detail and his dedication to sustainability are truly admirable. If only he was a little less Milanese-distant and more Puglia-warm, then it would really make for a big happy family home.

I’ve received a bit of praise on Instagram for those photos but truth is, the place and the region are so breathtakingly beautiful that it only takes a click to get a good shot.

What did we really do apart from eating incredibly well for 3 days? Well, we talked about what we would eat, we prepared one of our own meals with in-house chef Giorgia Goggi, and sometimes we hit the road to explore. I must say, we were in expert hands, since we were celebrating the birthday of Mr EatandTravelandLove.

These are a few of my favorite things (words typed  singin’ with that tune..)

Waking up with the morning light, to an enormous table of Italian delicacies for breakfast, greeted by Carlo’s English bulldog who is as sweet as a doll and as photogenic as his home.

A cooking class with Giorgia in the chef’s kitchen, learning how to make the local specialty of orecchiette with cime di rapa from scratch (if you’d like the recipe, leave a comment below and i’ll happily email it), lamb meatballs (well, not for me because I don’t eat meat..but Ceki, who barely spends a second at home cooking in the kitchen, seems to have mastered the art of it). And the best chocolate fondant I have had in my life. I swear! ( I know I shouldn’t!!): chocolate + almond + olive oil fondant with lavender whipped mascarpone cream. Mama miaaaaa.

Walking around the century-old (thousand-years old?!) olive grove in the property, peaking at the Mediterranean sea in the background.

Seating by the fireplace and reading books, listening to some jazz, soaking in the sun through the enormous bay windows.

Driving around with our tiny (piccola!) fiat cinquecento (lucky us: we got a free upgrade at the airport for a convertible one, and we did manage to open the rooftop. That’s how warm it was)

Visiting the famous city of Ostuni but also the smaller towns of Locorotondo with a charming historical center, on our way to touristy Alberobelo, which is famous for the hundreds of trulli houses (those cone-shaped stone houses emblematic of the region).

Ordering a big set of beautiful ceramics from Antonio Fasano and also from his brother Nicola a few doors down. They both supply The Conran Shop, Designers Guild and Merci .. and I got my order for a fraction of the price. And you will too .. thank you who?! (and grazie Carlo of course). I was touched by the story behind the naive illustrations on the plates. Ciro, the younger brother of Antonio, has a mild form of autism and has been drawing himself for years. Antonio who is very kind and funny has helped him develop a business out of it. I got a plate for each of us in the family. Ciro even managed to add a few curls for me and Amalya. I can’t wait to receive my order.

The town of Grottaglie is in fact very famous for its ceramics since the Roman times, thanks to the quality of the clay that can be found in the surrounding hills. It’s about 1h drive from Masseria Moroseta.

Eating the freshest fish for lunchtime at Pescheria 2 Mari in Fasano. The tiny restaurant has a modern style of its own yet it is in a very unassuming coastal town. It must be assailed by beachgoers in the summer months and we had it all for ourselves.

Sunday strolling like a local in Polignano a Mare, a well known town for its dramatic landscape facing the sea. Again, it’s probably a drag to see it in summer, but how special was it with empty streets and views all to ourselves. This place is straight out of a postcard. We had an incredible lunch, rather fancy, spaghetti alle fruttidi mare and all, at Osteria di Chibibio, our last feast before we headed back to the airport (tel: +39 08 0424 0488)

Visiting the art foundation Pino Pascali on the outskirts of Polignano a Mare. A gem of a contemporary art museum where we discovered the work of Belgium artist Hans Op De Beeck.

GOOD TO KNOW:
– Fly into Bari with Ryanair, and rent a car at the airport (a must). Oh, those low cost flights to discover Europe..they are so hard to resist! Ceki was excited to see Antonio Conte on our Ryanair flight and told me..you see, we’re not the only sheeps flying with this airline. I had no clue who he is but fyi..he’s the coach of Chelsea Football team. If Antonio flies Ryanair, who am I to complain.

– Or fly into Brindisi airport, much closer to Ostuni but you’ll likely have to connect in Milan or Rome for an international flight.

Don’t drink and drive! The food and wine are so good, it takes quite a bit of consensus to have a designated driver.

– There are plenty of masserias to rent in Puglia, some too classic to my taste, so be careful with all the renovation works displayed on photos. Also, I would not advise to stay in one of the ‘pretend’ trulli. They are replica of thousand year old houses often done with dubious taste.

-These are some of my bookmarks in case Masseria Moroseta would be full. Worth noting, Moroseta does not have interconnecting rooms so they are not an obvious choice with young children. And remember that I have not visited any of the following so do your own due diligence:
Think Puglia: Villa Blanca, Le Antiche Pajare
Borgo Egnazia, a Eur50mln property development that has gotten enormous raves for its stylish design and family-friendliness
Nearby Egnazia: Masseria Torre Coccaro and Masseria Torre Maizza or Il Trappeto
Also, Masseria Cimino near Brindisi.

Puglia in November:

Sweet. But short. But Sweet. *_*

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1 comment

Ashley November 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

We’re planning a trip for June! Can’t wait. I’ll be looking up your tip links. Did you have any thoughts about family travel in the region? We’ll be bringing a 4 and 6 year old (almost 7).
Thanks for the inspiration, as always!
Ashley

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