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A Food-Lover's Guide to Puglia, Italy - The Great Escape

A Food-Lover's Guide to Puglia, Italy - The Great Escape
From The Kitchn - November 12, 2017

We all know that Italy is a food-lover's paradisea place to eat until you ca not button your pants (likeJulia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love). The most important question when planning a trip to this boot-shaped, carb-loving country may well be Do you prefer pizza or pasta?

But maybe you have done it allpizza in Naples, Chianti in Tuscany, carbonara in Rome, and cannoli in Sicilyand are looking for a trip unlike any you have had before. Or maybe you have never been and you want an experience that's unlike the ones everyone else has had. Either way, there's a destination you need to know about. Bonus: It's also surprisingly affordable.

I am talking about Puglia. Commonly referred to as Italy's "heel," the region of Puglia is arguably the country's most stunning landscape. Think: hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline, groves upon groves of ancient olive trees, and whitewashed towns carved into hillsides. It is also home to some of the most incredible seafood, pasta, and wine in the worldand the only thing better than the region's food is the people who make it.

A Food-Lover's Guide to Puglia, Italy

Not convinced yet? Here's my cheat sheet to Puglia, from the wine that will change your life to the meal that will make you clap and cry all at one.

The Wine That Will Change Your Life

The product of sun, sea, and frequent wind, Puglian wines are unlike those found anywhere else in the world. And while the region is primarily known for its enticing Primitivos, it's a ros that will change your life.

Behold: Calafuria. Elegant and vibrant with notes of peach, rose, and cherry blossom, Calafuria will leave you wondering which personal belongings to ditch in order to make room for a bottle (or five) in your suitcase. You can afford it, too, at around $10 per bottle.

Be prepared: The Best Way to Pack Alcohol in Your Luggage

The Town You Should not Miss

While each town is as enchanting as the next, Polignano a Mare is Puglia's postcard town brimming with shops hidden between white-washed alleyways, restaurants carved into cliffs, an iconic beach and possible contender for most Instagrammed beach of 2017, unforgettable "special coffee," and a fried octopus panini and tuna carpaccio to write home about. The town itself is spectacular, and the abundance of quality seafood will make you wonder if any pasta that is not doused in uni will ever be good enough again.

The Meal That Will Make You Clap ... and Cry

You know those meals comprised of bites that make you wonder, Is everyone else having this same experience? Why is not everyone crying and clapping? Would it be weird if I started crying and clapping? Dinner at Osteria del Tempo Perso is like that.

Located in a former mill in the town of Ostuni, a meal here is charming and delicious, and at around $13 to $20 per generous plate, it's relatively affordable, especially considering this is the nicest restaurant in town. The Puglian decor reflects the traditional farm life and serves up exquisite dishes paying homage to itthat is, if traditional 16th-century dishes boasted Michelin Stars.

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Where to Stay If You are Not on a Budget

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