All right, the food:
Sea urchins. These were featured in a BBC programme about Puglia a couple of months ago. Apparently they’re best eaten live, straight from the sea, like oysters. Sliced and cooked in a pasta sauce, they don’t taste of anything much, except the sea, like oysters.
Supermarket vegetable pricing. You know how you have to delve through nested layers of blurry pictures on a touchscreen to find an aubergine? Not in the Famila supermarket in San Vito. Each item that has to be weighed has its own unique number: Melanzane (aubergines)? 035. Just put it on the scale, key in the number, out pops the sticky ticket. Brilliant!
Chickens. The local chickens are tiny by Brit standards, but one is just right for two people. And they taste like chickens used to taste in my childhood. I asked what they were fed on and was told: ‘Quello che c’é’– whatever’s around. And they’re about €4 each.
Italian meal structure. It’s now permissible to have less than four courses for lunch.But it’s possible to have four courses for dinner. Ristorante dell’Annunziata (I think) in Ceglie does antipasti (twelve of them!), primo (big bowl of linguine or bean puree), secondo (I chose rabbit stew) and dolce, for €20. All local fare and recipes. Carafe of local Primitivo plonk included.