My husband and I will be spending a few days in Puglia this September, and I am excited to try out the local favorites. Has anyone been to this region -- Bari, in particular? I am willing to try nearly anything (as long as it's not still moving, or still has eyes, or bones [if it's fish, which I never eat anyway, though am willing to try on this trip], or has spikes...you never know, something might have spikes) but I do sort of want to know what I'm getting into. What/where do you recommend?
Thank you, thank you! Mille grazie! I will look into ALL of your suggestions, and happily! I will also check out that Donna on Facebook -- any time we can save some money on room and board to spend later on wine, I am a happy gal. :-)
P.S.: I don't know what foods have spikes...and brother, I don't think I WANT to know.
sea urchins have spikes. Ate them years ago in Okinawa, but don't remember the taste much because I had to drink enough saki to give me the courage to taste them. But I'm still alive and kicking and I do remember that they stayed down.
the sea urchin (uni) had what i would call a "sea/ocean" smell and taste (really mild, but i have a really sensitive smell sensors). I had it with sashimi so its not like you are eating it plain, but it just as well should be since rice is bland. By the way, the uni is the sea urchins sex organs.
note that most sea food , as far as i know, shouldn't have a "stinky" or "fishy" smell if its fresh.
just so you know and understand, some places (countries) they serve the critters with the heads on them as a sign its "fresh". I know you're "americanized" by your statements, but its something you may want to prepare yourself for if you havent been exposed to it.
If you have a chance and if its available, you may want to try some abalone. Its sort of like a clam, but to me its really tasty and hard to come by here in the USA. If that doesnt help, its really, really expensive here ( 50+ bucks for a piece smaller than your fist) . Sometimes the cost factor makes things more appealing.
Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe is famously Barese,. There is also a stuffed pizza with onion and/or black olive filling - yummy - you can find it at bakeries but not in restaurants, it's really a street snack, like other pizze you eat out of hand.
Many Pugliese dishes have a fair amount of red pepper flake.
Puglia is also home to some very robust wines (mostly red).