While touring wine and food destination in the region of Puglia, in Southern Italy, we traveled to Andria, another town producing an amazing array of products, including olive oil and cheese.
We arrived in time to watch the daily production of the wonderful Burrata, all done by hand. We took note of the temperature of the water these guys work in. One chap has been making cheese daily for the past 43 years. Most of their product is used locally, but in recent times the export trade has grown remarkably.
Out of Andria, we tried some of the best organic wine in the region, Giancarlo Ceci, in the foothills of Andria, near Bari in Apulia, at an altitude of 250 meters. The vineyards are situated just above the famous Italy boot on the Adriatic Sea, an area that is perfectly suited for the production of fine wines. For eight generations and 200 years, the Ceci family has cultivated the land with the greatest respect for nature and traditions.
The Mediterranean climate, the location amidst a landscape of low hills, the presence of oak woods and the non-intensive cultures contribute to preserve the biodiversity and the precious balance of this ecosystem. The farm experienced a significant upturn in 1988 when Giancarlo Ceci, upon his return from agricultural school, converted the acreage to organic. He developed the Agrinatura brand, focusing his efforts on innovation, quality and operation of a full-scale, growing, packing and shipping produce facility. This is along with organic olive oil, which is grown, pressed and packed onsite.
The winery is equipped with vast cellars for the aging of the wine underneath the 400 plus year-old family mansion. The mansion is stunning as are the tasting cellars with their history oozing from the walls
“Possibly the best meal I have eaten in Italy.” This is how I described lunch at Antici.
For a special lunch, just down the road from the Ceci family wines, we stopped at Montegrosso in Antichi Sapori. A 30-seat osteria practicing the best in slow cooking, a blackboard shows what was picked from their massive garden that morning. A team of eight are directed by Chef Peitro. They prepare the best of regional and local dishes with pride and passion. This is no standard menu, and for a set price of between 36 and 45 Euros, settle in for an afternoon of superb flavors.
The dishes just kept coming, the flavours incredible, the presentation outstanding, just “wow”, in the middle of nowhere. You have to be in the know. Otherwise, you would never find it, nor would you think to find a place like this where it is. The sign outside says 14 k to Andria, so it’s literally in the middle of an olive grove. By 2:30pm every seat was taken. Be sure to wander the immense vegetable garden where everything is sourced. You will need to get some exercise after all of the food, which is absolutely outstanding.
Definitely seek this out, but book in advance. Its full every day. The Michelin team have rated it.
I recommend you visit this region before the world discovers it, but go with someone in the know. You will see so much more.
About the author: Since 1999, Bruce White has been traveling Italy, returning every year to a different region with pre-planned wine and food experiences. Some have been with food and wine tour operators in small groups, some planned directly with local specialists to ensure something very local and very special. With this network of contacts and a desire to return as often as possible, Bruce launched Wine and Food Traveller to share experiences with those who share the same passion for the Italian Lifestyle.