The wedding was fantastic and now we are on honeymoon in rural Italy. We are touring Puglia (the region most commonly referred to as "the heel of the boot") this week and heading to Abruzzo next week. We flew in to Bari and drove south, stopping in a few little towns along the way and ultimately reached our destination on a small road between San Vito dei Normanni and Carovigno. We were really looking forward to seeking out the best meats, cheeses, wines, etc that Puglia has to offer and so far it's been pretty simple.
All of the grocery stores (even the "name brand" ones) are full of Pugliese food and drink. Granted, there are plenty of worldly and processed food items as well, but the amount of local and fresh food far outweighs everything else. At restaurants the Pugliese wine list is pages and pages long, typically followed by one or two options from other regions. The "antipasto" is comprised of local vegetables, seafood and house-baked breads. Since we have only made it past the antipasti course on one occassion I can't speak for the other courses in the marathon Italian meals, but I'm sure they're local too! Even the beer (which Puglia is NOT known for) is still dominated by local options.
We haven't had to ask for or try to find any of it, it's right in front of us and normal for everyone else. The sheer number of small, artisinal producers that are supported by each small town is astounding. To think that the "local food" movement in the U.S. is some kind of "bubble" or anywhere near reaching a peak is a joke! We've got a long, long way to go. The small towns of San Vito dei Normanni and Carovigno have a combined population of 36,000 and they support shelves full of small producers in the area. American cities have the capacity to do the same and we believe they will.
Here's a few parting pictures, more updates to come!