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APULIAN CUISINE - cooking of the poor

Puglia is one of the best destinations in Italy for Italian food and wine lovers.
Each region of Italy has its characteristic but Puglia has a unique gastronomic story, thanks to the variety of dishes, wines and culinary traditions. Puglia has been conquered by different cultures that influenced the architecture, language, and also the cuisine and wines. So every city of the Puglia region has different cuisines and wines. 
The Apulia Region cuisine is basically poor, based on simple and basic ingredients and it is seasonal, influenced by various weather conditions and the distance from the sea: there are cities on the sea as Gallipoli and Otranto, where you can find the freshest fish available, and other cities like Lecce at 8 km. from the sea, where the cuisine is based on meat, vegetables and pasta. Apulian cuisine is mainly characterized by the quality of the raw material, both land and sea, and all the ingredients are precisely finalized to exalt and preserve aromas of basic products used.
The most typical dish is surely "Orecchiette con le cime di rapa"(Orecchiette with turnip), "Cicoria con la purea di fave"(Chicory with mashed beans), and those that connect the area to the Mediterranean, as  “Cavatelli con le cozze" (cavatelli with mussels).
Another typical and delicious dish is the Apulian focaccia, is a rustic preparation which involves the rolled out dough on a work surface or directly into the pan and then topped with tomatoes, garlic, olives and of course all topped with extra virgin olive oil.
The history of the most famous and loved Apulian sweets  is conditioned by celebrations; in the past, only on festive occasions, the table was enriched with sweets. On March 19, the day dedicated to  St. Joseph, March 19, the “le Zeppole di San Giuseppe” have a huge part of the holiday celebration. On Easter, we find instead the "Scarcelle"; on the day dedicated to Saint Lucia (13 December), is the period of  “Occhi di Santa Lucia” (Eyes of Saint Lucia), another famous sweet.
On Christmas and on carnival there are the "cartellate", "mostaccioli" , “le chiacchiere” , “le pittule”; Apulia Region gastronomy has a lot of delicious sweets!
APULIAN FOCACCIA RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:
500 grams of flour 00
150 grams of potatoes
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cube of fresh yeast 25 gr.
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Approximately 300 ml of warm water sparkling
20 cherry tomatoes type
Oregano and salt
PREPARATION
Preparation time: 30 minutes + 1 hour for rest
Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water for about 20 minutes, then drain them and mash with a potato masher. Place the flour on a table. Combine the mashed potatoes, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, yeast dissolved in 100 ml of warm water, salt and sugar. Continue to incorporate the rest of the water slowly, until you get a soft dough and knead for 30 minutes. Put the dough a bowl, wrap it in a cloth and let rise in warm place for about 4 hours.
After the time necessary to grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil a baking sheet about 30 cm x 40 cm, then transfer you spread the dough with your hands on the entire surface of the pan.Cut tomatoes in half and distribute them on the cake with the skin upwards. Sprinkle with oregano and salt. Bake the pan in a preheated oven at 220 ° C for 40 minutes or until golden brown the surface. Allow to cool and enjoy.