What a week! I’ve got some exciting news – working with renowned travel company Etruscan Pleasures (Italia) Ltd and Cathay Pacific, I am leading a small group to Italy next May for a foodie adventure. Come and see Puglia with me! Puglia is right down in the ‘heel’ of Italy. It’s not so widely travelled, though it should be, with heaps of interesting things to discover that don’t often turn up under the universal umbrella of ‘Italian’ cuisine. In many ways it is the food bowl of Italy, providing vast quantities of wheat, olive oil and wine. Pasta and bread are some of the best you’ll find in Italy. Vegetables and wild herbs flourish in the fertile soils, and with a massive 800 kilometres of coastline, the seafood is magnificently fresh. Then there are the cheeses! And the wines! The cuisine epitomises the acclaimed healthy Mediterranean diet – based on superb olive oil, a huge variety of vegetables, including wild greens and herbs not seen elsewhere. The inventiveness of local cooks is astounding.
This will be a fabulous 9 days, getting off the beaten tourist track, leaving those big tourist buses to do what big tourist buses do (follow each other around like sheep), meeting the locals and eating with them, eating the real Pugliese food. This is designed for a small group of only 14 people, enabling you to be fully immersed in the culture of Puglia and to experience life as a local. I’m only talking food here, but Puglia has so much more to offer with beautiful Gothic churches, Art Nouveau buildings, Rococo balconies and gorgeous Baroque towns to visit. You’ll come away enriched and with wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Puglia May 2017 What else this week? The best meatballs ever! These are seriously good, tiny tender little balls packed with flavour ... and the amazing this is, you don't even have to fry them off first. You simply drop them into a pot of sauce!
How was your Guy Fawke's night? My day was fiery and hot! Yep, I managed to set a wok alight on stage in front of a huge crowd at the Te Matuku Oyster Festival! But, do you know what? It didn't ruffle my feathers one bit, because when you know the tricks of how to deal with fire, disaster can be averted. Check it all out here Te Matuku Oyster Festival.I've also included some of the oyster recipes - and who saiddeep-fried oystersis a travesty? Well, eat one of these, stuffed with preserved lemons and dunked in tempura batter then fried, and you'll change your tune. And oysters with a cucumber pickle is so summery, so fresh. And this weekend, if you are over on Waiheke for the Garden Safari, come and say Hi. I'll be at Rangihoua Olive Estate hawking my wares – homemade cakes and biscuits, preserves and comestibles! It should be a great weekend!
Fouff! That's enough chatter ... have a read. Julie