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le orecchiette salentine: little ear-shaped pasta, salento-style

No pasta in all of Italy is harder to make. As a teacher, I push them back later into the week, introducing the easier shapes first. This cuts down on the frustration that usually accompanies learning how to make le orecchiette, nearly always dictating a rich, Rococo-like stream of blasphemy, free-styling profanity featuring donkeys and broomsticks, followed by the tearing...

la mia taieddhra: famous dish of mussels, potatoes and courgettes

I'm going to get hate mail on this one. Drive bys with rotten fruit. Perhaps Molotov's through my front windows. If I had children, larger kids would pull their braids and push them down into the gravel. Folks would kick my puppy, if I had one. Cartoonists and late night television hosts are going to use me as the butt...

primitivo di manduria: gianfranco fino's es

That's what a good Primitivo di Manduria can offer, and Fino's is that, plus. At 16.5 percent alcohol, it's a marching bass drum of a wine, yet perfectly balanced between acids (not easy to do, as with the sun's heat, the acid tends to fall away rather quickly) and still youngish tannins (this, the 2007)....

la cupeta: a little sweet treat, however rare

And this lack of sweet sweets is true of the Salento as well, although every once in a while, a holiday will roll around and someone will offer you a piece of la cupeta, the dialectical version of il croccante, an almond brittle so sweet that 10-year olds and humming birds would even reject it for being too sweet....

Part One: The Golf Ball

‘What else am I supposed to do’, he says, his voice angry and cracking. ‘You expect me to sit in front of some cafe with a bunch of the boys and await my own death? Is that what you want?’...

Part Three: Bananas, Coffee and Chocolate

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on olive oil quality. And I've been talking first-hand with producers, marketers and those that make oil for their own consumption. It's a lot of information to absorb. It's so big that you could spend your life studying olive oil quality (I have friends that are doing just that). It's such a massive...