How lucky can one girl get! I swear it could not have gotten any better. It was the height of luxury and I never wanted to come down. One of my dearest friends was spending four weeks in Europe this summer with her family, traipsing through Austria, Germany and Italy. My luck was that I invited myself along to join them in Puglia. No, I didn’t have any hand in the planning! Yes, I may have agreed when asked if Puglia were the perfect choice for a short July break. Yes, I may have hinted that I had five days free to spend time with them. But I promise, it was my friend’s dream to stay in a trullo and that’s the reason why I found myself by the pool eating orrechietti at the divinely luxurious Trullo Gauro!
I could have never expected what I was in for when I got off the slow, stop-everywhere, second-class train from Bari. The Ostuni train station was less than inviting and I was the only one who got off. My friends were there in their SUV to greet me and we crammed inside for the 15 minute ride back to their pad. Following along a rather nondescript road, I hoped to catch a glimpse of the sea, but, alas, no sea was seen.
However, the land on either side of the road was overgrown with fantastically shaped olive trees. Thank goodness it wasn’t dark out yet, or I would have mistaken them for the infamous Benandanti (italian medieval ghosts) of old. Turning into a tiny driveway and through a metal gate, we were here and what a place! A trullo is a little stone hut that the Italian farmers of the southern region of Puglia used to reside in. Many of them have been all gussied up and Trullo Guara is apex of the bunch. Hidden nearby the small town of Ceglie Messapica, a foodie hotspot, and close-ish to Brindisi airport, this special place is practically perfect. My friends chose it from the many choices on the ThinkPuglia website and what a stunner it was.
We arrived just in time for dinner and after a quick dip were treated to a selection of local treats by the home-grown cook, Vitalba. I learned that stracciatella, isn’t just the name of chocolate-chip ice cream in Italian, but also a creamy burrata-like cheese. Barley Salad with lemon, tomato and arugula, pastas with all difference kinds of sauces, eggplant parmesan, spinach and meat pies…the list of amazing foods we were being stuffed with went on and on. Every night brought us a different menu. Only the peach-dunked rosé was a constant, oh, and also the very, very dangerous home-brewed Latte Limoncello.
After five days, I left much tanner and heavier than I came and that is pure luxury.
For all those who need to know more about Latte Limoncello, here is the recipe I begged Vitalba for:
600g skimmed milk
250g Pure Alcohol 95% proof: Cinque Stelle in Italy, Everclear or Grain Alcohol in the USA, Unfortunately I have not been able to find it in the UK
Peel from 4 lemons
Put it all together in a jug or pitcher and let it sit for 24 hours.
Disclosure: As I stated above, I was the guest of people who rented through Think Puglia. I loved it so much that I called Think Puglia to tell them I had to write this post. They provided me with a few of the photos above.