There are many restaurants in Italy called Antichi Sapori (Old Flavors), but the one owned by Pietro Zito in Puglia (in Montegrosso, near Bari) is probably the most famous. We’ve already had the pleasure of eating there in 2008, and we definitely wanted to go there again this time in Puglia.
The restaurant grows most of its produce in their own garden, at a stone’s throw of the restaurant. This is not Michelin star dining, but the best ingredients prepared according to the local traditions. You can eat à la carte, but the easiest way to sample the cuisine is by the tasting menu (only 38 euros), which comprises tasting ALL antipasti, two primi (pasta), three secondi (meat) with contorni (sides) and tasting ALL desserts. You better come very hungry! And you definitely need to make a reservation in advance.
Today’s welcome: Tomato, cucumber, and fresh cheese…
…and ‘grano arso’ bruschetta with a type of pesto. Grano arso literally means ‘burnt grain’, and it means that the flour has been toasted quite heavily before it was used to bake the bread.
Zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta and carrot, with carrot puree. Tartlet of eggplant and breadcrumb with scamorza cheese.
Zucchini frittata, with eggs from the restaurant’s own chickens.
Focaccia of ancient grains with heirloom tomatoes.
Warm olives with squash puree.
Capocollo with pickled zucchini.
Pecorino canestrato cheese with caramelized onions.
Zapponeta onions ‘the old fashioned way’s, with breadcrumbs and tomatoes.
Outstanding ricotta with candied celery. This is as different from supermarket ricotta as a 2-year-old’s (not your own child) drawing is different than from the Mona Lisa.
Orecchiette di grano arso.
Sedanini (the pasta shape does indeed look like celery, but round) with tomato. This tomato sauce had a wonderful tomato flavor. When I asked about it, they told me it was made using tomato flour and sieved tomatoes.
Amazingly tender and flavorful suckling pig (maialino) with roast potatoes.
Tomato and cucumber salad.
Sugar toasted almonds with amaro and limoncello.
Chocolate cassata (with great ricotta and almonds).
Profiteroles with chocolate mousse filling.
Tiramisù, pugliese style (with amaretti and ricotta).
Wow. This was an amazing meal. There was so much food that I won’t even try to describe it in more detail. Everything was delicious. Everything was prepared perfectly. Everything was made using the best fresh ingredients. There were small pauses before, between, and after the two pasta dishes, but otherwise the food just kept coming for 2 and a half hours. The quantities of each dish are not that big, but altogether it is a lot. Did I mention it was delicious, tasty, and just plain goooood?
We probably should not wait another ten years before going to Puglia again…