Mangia, mangia!April 3, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C
We finally arrived at our Airbnb accommodations late last night. We left Vancouver at 6:40 PDT on Monday and arrived at our Bari apartment at around 11:30 GMT+1. Even considering the nine hour time difference, it made for a very long travel day, indeed. After partially unpacking our bags and having a chat with our neighbor, Jen, in Vancouver, we hit the sack a little after midnight and both went out like lights. Unfortunately, my internal clock had me wide awake at 5:00AM, so I guess it'll be a fairly early night for me tonight. Brenda managed to stay asleep until almost 6:30, lucky girl.
I got out of bed at around 7:00 and went for a little 3km run along the waterfront. I packed only shorts and T-shirts for workout gear and, at 11°C, I received a lot of strange looks from the Italian runners who were all decked out in their track suits. Hardy Canadian blood.
After I showered, Brenda and I went out exploring and immediately found a little cafe where I had an espresso and a cornetto (a croissant filled with jam) for the ridiculous price of €1.00.
Brenda and I then walked along the shore and circled the old fortified city before entering in through the wall in search of Largo Albicocca. After Google mapping our way through the narrow, winding streets of the old city, we came to a small piazza that was teeming with people stuffing their faces with all manner of goodies. We were in the right place!
Bari's street food consists of Focaccia, Sgagliozze and Popizze. Our first stop in Largo Albicocca was to La Sgagliozze de Donna Carmela. This little open air shop consists of a work table, two gas burners and two large pots containing boiling oil. Into one pot of oil, Donna Carmela drops blobs of raw pizza dough, fries it until it's golden brown and serves these Popizze piping hot. She then cuts squares of polenta from a large block and tosses them into the other pot. Once they're golden, they go into a bag along with a sprinkle of sea salt and those are your Sgagliozze. We didn't have any of the Popizze, but the Sgagliozze were scrumptious. They tasted like popcorn but with a palate burning, smooth mouthfeel. They did, however, contain enough oil to stop your heart.
While we ate our deep fried polenta, we couldn't help but notice other locals coming into the piazza with what looked like slices of pizza and little bottles of Peroni beer. Pizza and beer?!? How could we resist?
We went off in the direction the pizza slices were coming from and our noses quickly found Panificio Santa Rita, a little hole in the wall that was filled with people waiting to place their orders.
What we thought were pizza slices turned out to be the Barese version of focaccio. They make a white version, that has only oil and herbs on it, or a rosso style that has oil and fresh tomatoes baked along with the crust. For €2.40 you can have the whole slab, €1.20 for a mezzo (half) or €0.60 for a quarto. Add in a €1.00 bottle of beer and you're good to go.
Another thing Bari is known for is their Orecchiette. Everywhere you look there are women seated at tables rolling out these little pasta pieces that get their name from their shape. The literal translation of Orechiette is little ears.
These same stands also sell a variety of baked goods, including one of my personal favorites, Taralucci cookies. These hard, round biscotti are coated with a sweet lemon flavored glaze that makes them irresistable to me. Yup, I came home with a big bag of them.
I haven't been running a lot lately so I thought I'd slowly ramp up to longer distances as our stay in Italy progresses. However, after our first exposure to Barese cuisine, I'd better crank up the mileage very soon or they'll have to roll me onto the plane back to Vancouver.
Oh yeah, we're not done eating just yet. At 7:30 we're off to Restaurant Al Raffaello for dinner. Oh my goodness!Read more