For those of you who are bored with my holiday pictures - normal service may be resumed next week.
Puglia's main offerings to the world are great peasant-style food or cucina povera if the peasant word is unacceptable. Loads of fab veg dishes like pureed fava beans with wild wilted chicory stirred in and drizzled with some of their outstanding olive oil, tomatoes that actually have flavour, and a great adherence to the slow food concept. A typical antipasti might consist of 10 different dishes ranging from deep fried peppers, baked aubergine stuffed with tomatoes, capers and olives to pickled octopus and pieces of frittata - each dish nearly a meal on its own. After that, and in the event your stomach hasn't exploded, you are expected to devour a spaghetti course and then a meat course and dessert. The waiters cried with disappointment when the usually greedy Socks couldn't make it past the antipasti. The wines are a revelation, warm cherry-chocolate reds easily surpassing their Tuscan cousins.
Other than that the scenery is no great shakes - at least in the Valle D'Itria where the Socks rented their trullo/villa (above). This was no suprise and the Socks had gone with the intention of slobbing around the lovely villa, reading and resting for the most part with the occasional foray into the surrounding villages. And this brings us to Puglia's other draw - trulli. They are everywhere, small conical-roofed stone houses... er that's it... seen one trullo seen them all. They even have a town of trulli, Alberobello, where 1500 of them provide a home for all sorts of tacky gift shops. Some of the trulli have secret symbols and markings on their roofs as below
At first the Sock found it difficult to envisage why anyone would want to buy a souvenir of the nativity scene with the dear baby Jesus born in a trullo! But then she remembered that her friend Dishwasher Crab puts a Christmas crib on her desk every year with Mary and Joseph carved out of fruit (or some such thing) so it would have made an ideal present.
For those of less religious persuasion a trulli garden water feature is surely a must.
The Sock hasn't seen such tasteless tat in years - not since Old Ma Sock bought her back a grotesque, nodding, sabre-toothed tiger ornament from Thailand and sent it as a birthday present. The Sock nearly fainted when she opened the packet as she thought for a moment it was a dead cat!