Tucked in the heel of Italy along the turquoise water of the Adriatic, the region of Puglia might just be one of the country’s best kept secrets. (You think you’ve seen stunning scenery and sampled scrumptious food in the rest of the country? Experience how Puglia compares.) But word is getting out and here at Ciclismo Classico couldn’t be more thrilled about it!
Bicycling Magazine recently featured one of Ciclismo Classico’s Puglia bike tours as one of “eight spots at the intersection of great eating and cycling” in its article Slow Foods, Fast Rides. “La Bella Puglia, a five-day tour run by Ciclismo Classico, features slow food and slow riding: You cover only about 25 miles per day, the better to feast on the scenery as well as the fruits of the landscape,” Bicycling says.
Yes, at Ciclismo, we’re just as serious about eating and gastronomic experiences as we are about cycling and that’s why we’re crazy about Puglia. Puglia is where the Mediterranean sun waves its magic wand to produce a true bounty of magnificent, flavorful gifts and much of food that Italy eats.
The rolling fields of wheat that line the landscape produce the durum wheat that goes into Puglia’s pasta. This region is the source of 80% of the pasta consumed by the entire continent of Europe. During our La Bella Puglia meals, we will indulge in handmade orecchiette (shaped like little ears) with a spicy sauce made of tomatoes and peppers, also grown here.
Puglia’s gargantuan olive trees produce one-third of Italy’s olive oil. These ancient giants must be 20 times the size of the trees in Tuscany with trunks several feet in diameter and radiating and twisted branches that can sometimes make them resemble people. We can’t help but stop and photograph them as we cycle by and taste their “green gold” (as the Italians call olive oil) with our meals.
With such an expansive coastline, Puglia offers an array of fish and seafood, including cuttlefish, lobster, octopus, anchovies, eels, sea urchins, shellfish, mussels, mullet, squid and tuna. Zuppe di pesce, fish soup, is a popular dish allowing locals to combine their fresh catches. The grilled calamari will knock your socks off and we will make sure you get your fill.
Did we mention the cheese? Puglia is the home of burrata, a fresh mozzarella with a spongy and creamy center. If you’re just as serious about your cuisine as your cycling, join us this year in La Bella Puglia