The Hungry Archaeologist – Daunia

By: Giuliano Volpe

Originally Published in 2011

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Daunia’s cuisine is like its archaeology, close to the land, and many dishes are based on peasant food that varies enormously with the seasons. Among the most notable dishes are pancotto, made from wild seasonal vegetables, bread, and potatoes; homemade pastas like cicatelli served with arugula or troccoli with cuttlefish; lamb with thistles and eggs; baked torcinelli with potatoes; and various cheeses, particularly caciocavallo podolico (made from local, free-range cows’ milk). For desserts, try the calzungidde or grano dei morti (literally, wheat for the dead), available only in the first days of November; wafers filled with almonds from the Gargano; and mostaccioli, or fig cookies. It is also amazing to see (and taste) the huge wheels of bread from Monte Sant’Angelo and Orsara. Finally, while little known in America, Apulian wines are excellent, particularly the reds: San Severo, Nero di Troia, and naturally, Daunia are some of the notable vineyards, while San Severo has also begun to produce a fine spumante.

In all the cities of Daunia one can find good, modestly priced restaurants and trattorias. Many can be found in the town of Orsara di Puglia, winner of the Italian slow-food prize and complete with a beautiful historic center. Here, try the ‘Pane e Salute,’ a small trattoria, where they still use a 16th century straw-burning oven and seasonal products at their absolute freshest.

Cite This Article

Volpe, Giuliano. "The Hungry Archaeologist – Daunia." Expedition Magazine 53, no. 2 (July, 2011): -. Accessed June 13, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/the-hungry-archaeologist-daunia/


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