Slow Active Tours
Southern Italy experience
Nature, emotion & art
The cuisine of Puglia is a consistent piece of the wonderful world of Italian food and wine, and Bari with its culinary specialties are rightfully part of it.
Come with us on this journey through the culinary specialties of the Apulian capital!
“If Paris had the sea, it would be a little Bari”: this joking way of saying is enough to immediately understand the extraordinary sense of belonging that distinguishes the inhabitants of Bari.
A people linked to their city by an almost visceral relationship, an attachment to their roots that has no equal, and which in the kitchen translates into the excellent enhancement of local products and the preservation of traditions, as in all wine and good food of Puglia.
In fact, it is customary to meet on Bari's seafront at aperitif time to eat an octopus carpaccio just curled up on the rocks by one of the many fishermen who are on the shore at that time after gathering their nets: the octopus is seasoned only with squeezed lemon to best enhance the exquisite taste of the sea.
A simple aperitif made with just a few ingredients, the taste of which will accompany you through the streets of Bari Vecchia, just long enough to be inebriated by the aroma of typical cuisine that will enrapture you with the simplicity of its combinations. It is a humble cuisine but with fine ingredients, wisely chosen, and for this reason able to give the dishes a unique flavour.
In Puglia, good food is at home, which is why every home is a small part of the world's heritage as it holds recipes and traditions handed down from generation to generation: a set of written and oral knowledge that is often enhanced when it meets innovation.
Bari has managed to treasure this rich baggage, a recipe book created over time that we have reported in this article that describes the most renowned culinary specialties of the Bari cuisine.
You cannot leave Bari without having tasted a dish of riso, patate e cozze (rice, potatoes and mussels)! It would be like saying you’ve never been there.
Symbol of the culinary specialties of Bari, it is the traditional dish par excellence.
It used to be cooked by mothers and grandmothers and is an example of how two simple ingredients such as potatoes and mussels, easily available in the area, can exalt each other in the mouth. Tradition teaches that the potatoes, once peeled, should be placed in an earthenware dish and seasoned with garlic, onion, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Only at the end are added the mussels, cleaned by hand, and the rice. The trick is to add previously filtered water from the mussels, a real touch of class.
Continuing our journey through the flavours of Bari and its culinary specialities, we cannot fail to notice the ladies of the Città Vecchia (Old Town) preparing pasta with the help of a simple knife and a great deal of skill. We are of course talking about orecchiette, made with durum wheat semolina, water and salt.
They are cooked in many ways, one of which is mixing them with turnips. The secret to flavor the dish is to cook the homemade pasta in the same water used to boil the turnips. After draining them, the orecchiette are stir-fried together with the olive oil, garlic and anchovies: the result is an explosion of flavor that will leave you speechless.
As is well known, Sunday in southern Italy is traditionally dedicated to family lunch, and Bari is no exception. Strolling through the streets of the old town centre, you can smell the ragù sauce used to season the brasciole, tasty rolls of strictly horse meat. Then stuffed with parsley, garlic and Parmesan cheese, the brasciole are left to brown gently for hours in a sauce that will literally make you lick your lips.
Street food has always had an intrinsic link with Bari, as many of the culinary specialities of the Apulian capital are now referred to as such. These include the calzone di cipolla, a closed pizza stuffed with onions, olives in water typical of Puglia, and sometimes capers, raisins and anchovies. In the streets of the city, it is traditional to eat it when it is lukewarm, a little trick to make it even tastier and more pleasing to the palate.
As we have said, Bari's culinary specialities are the result of the enhancement of simple ingredients, namely those products that the generous land of the South has always given to the expert hands of farmers.
Such as fave e cicorie (broad beans and chicory) for example, a dish that is nowadays referred to as poor but is actually rich in nutrients and beneficial properties.
The typical recipe does not allow variations: the chicories are boiled, while half a potato is added to the beans to give the right consistency to the puree. A small exception is the addition of a few slices of crusty Apulian bread to accompany your palate as you enjoy this wonderful traditional dish.
But Bari is not only famous for its first and second courses. As in the whole region, we find sweeter and tastier culinary specialities even in the capital. Here are some examples.
The many culinary specialties of the city of Frederick II are an opportunity to recharge your batteries before continuing your journey. Here are our proposals that pass through Bari:
Slow-paced holidays represent the new way to travel to discover new places, always remaining in contact with nature. A safe and fun experience that will allow you to meet many new people, future travel companions to whom you will be bound by the wonder of the surrounding landscapes.
So what are you waiting for? Get your backpack ready!