Altamura and the road to Ostuni

We get served a delicious breakfast with the specialty fresh bread grilled, a sprinkle of herbs drizzled with local olive oil. There of course is a piece of the lemon infused tea cake as well and I am captured by how cute the little butter dish with the rabbit is.

The weather is not so good this morning as it’s raining and I have now completely lost my voice. It’s interesting as it seems my once understood Italian is “non comprendo” , most of the word that I say is silent and the little remaining bit that is heard is not enough 🙂

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We do a parting selfie of Matera as we head to the bread capital of the region Altamura. You may notice that this is not up to the usual standard of a posed selfie which we see a lot of people preparing and preening themselves for over here, but it’s our style 🙂  In Altamura parking proves very challenging, we do the Italian thing and park on the other side of the road facing up against traffic, fold in the mirrors and off we go.

As it is already lunchtime, as soon as we come across the first paneceria, we dive in and get a piece of salami and olive focaccia for Tanya and a slice of tomato and olive pizza for me. We think they have made a mistake charging 2E for all that, but we soon discover that we are off the beaten track of tourist pricing.

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It continues to rain and Tanya wonders whether I have lost my marbles walking around in these conditions with my cold. She says that if she was my mother ( she is not because she is my twin) she would have kept me in bed ( note the expression on her face as she poses in the rain in front of the world famous cathedral).

We experience for the first time the middle of the day closings of all shops including the cathedral which we are therefore unable to visit inside. We will not wait till 3.30pm today though. On the way back to the car I spot a  Pastisceria that looks very promising.

WOW , this must be a very experienced pastry chef, there are lots of miniature delicacies and amazing looking cannoli in grande and miniature size. We decide on the grande cannoli as we know we will share that and a couple of tiny Choux pastry puffs with cream and lemon filling.

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It is still raining, so we give Alberobello a miss for today and keep going to our Truli accommodation. Anna our host is delightful,  in her 30’s full of energy and smiles. She tells us a little of the history why this area is famous for the typical home construction.

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It was to do with the fields that were littered with stones, as farmers cleared fields for farming they would accumulate the stones in mounds eventually building  lines of stone fences and then as most of the labour was coming from a long way away, they started building shelters for themselves and their animals. They are now iconic for here.

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This Truli is Anna’s family home which they have converted to a tourism business. It is gorgeous and very comfortable, fitted out with lots of stuff in the kitchen for independent catering and really beautiful rooms.

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Anna mentions a supermarket not far from the small town of Cisternino and near there a nice restaurant. Tomorrow is Sunday and everything will be closed.  It looks good on the website, opens at 6.30pm so the right timing fit for us after a long day in the rain. I drive in the late afternoon light, a stone wall on either side of the car mirrors, wondering what you are meant to do with oncoming traffic and briefly wondering what it will be like coming back in the dark.

We arrive at the restaurant Osteria Santa Anna, it is large, no-one eating yet but lots of capacity. We ask for a table in my silent voice and we are told that no tables are available before 8pm. As our faces must have dropped another waiter is called in who has a little more English, Tanya asks this time and seeing how sad we looked he accepts our reservation for 7.30pm. We do our shopping then wait out in the car to avoid the rain and come in right on 7.30pm.

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The restaurant has a gorgeous atmosphere and we get seated right in a private corner close to the heater, perfect.

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The menu is just in Italian so I have to use the camera on the Google translate to get the missing words I don’t understand ( quite a few). As a welcome we get served  a bowl of deliscious olives , a local ricotta forte and a basket full of walnut bread and the local specialty bread- yum.

Selections made we wait for the food to arrive……..

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Tanya has gone with a light batter of vegetables and red prawns. It is so tasty , that she does not recall eating sweeter, more tender prawns ever in Australia, that says a lot.

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I go for the local fish served in a green sea of lightly steamed asparagus, snow peas and beans. Mouth watering tender and yummy.

We look at each other and convey the dessert nod, this proves to be a wise decision.

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I have the house specialty Santa Anna mouse with ice cream of forest berries, crumbled meringue and a lemon slice within. Tanya chooses the chocolate torte which comes with caramel flavored gelato and a little surprise of hazelnut mousse inside.

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At the end of this we get a complimentary serving of three digestive liqueurs to pick from: limoncello, a thousand herbs and a basil flavored one. They are ultra strong, I only manage a little lick of the thousand herb one to kick my cold along and Tanya prefers the limoncello. As we have been progressing through our meal gradually a lot of people have arrived mainly around 8.30-9.00 o’clock the Mediterranean way.

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Very content with all that we inch our way home, trying to recognize the different white lines of fences to our Truli. Clearly not too much liqueur has been consumed as we make it without a bad turn, just need to back in to the parking spot rather than nose in 🙂 all in all another top day.

 

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