“Altamura bread, by far the best bread to be had, so good that the wise traveller takes a supply with him for his onward journey.” (Horace’s Satires)
It seems that everyone is making bread lately and we really aren’t surprised. After all, breadmaking can be incredibly therapeutic and the reward of warm, carb-y goodness after all that kneading and patient waiting is even more enticing. Breadmaking has been around since the Stone Age, so there is something about making bread that taps into our primal desires to nourish and provide sustenance to ourselves and our families (as if you needed another excuse to make bread).
Whether you’re a bread connoisseur or just a lover of carbs, the bread of Altamura (or pane di Altamura) should be on everyone’s radar. The Roman poet Horace claimed it was the best bread he’s ever eaten and we’re not about to argue with him. After all, this is the only PDO-protected bread among Italy’s 1,000 types, which means that in order for it to truly be a loaf from Altamura it has to be made from local ingredients (look, Italians are serious about the quality of their food!).
Altamura bread is incredibly versatile, which means that you can break into this crusty loaf and enjoy on its own, with a generous drizzle of olive oil or with fresh herbs, vine-picked tomatoes and fresh pecorino. This bread is the perfection combo of soft, doughy insides encapsulated by a satisfyingly crunchy exterior (that must be at least 3mm thick), which also keeps it perfectly preserved for a few days without drying out.
If you love bread as much as we do, then a trip to Puglia is the ultimate foodie’s pilgrimage. After all, there is no better place in the world than one that includes heaping plates of hand-rolled pasta, local olive oil, freshly picked vegetables, warm homemade Altamura bread and flowing wine. Ah yes, now that’s la dolce vita!
While we may not know what travel will look like over the next few months, once things start to take on some semblance of normal and people begin to jet set once again, we’d love to take you on a trek through the rolling wheat fields and olive groves of Puglia, where sun-bleached homes loom over dramatic Adriatic coastlines and the famed alabaster stone hunts of Alberobello beckon like an Italian fairy tale.
You’ll visit small organic and sustainable farms, enjoy wine tastings among the local vineyards, take a culinary tour of the small towns that make up Puglia and you’ll even learn how to make pasta. Once it’s safe for us to travel again, we do hope you’ll join us for food, frivolity and some much-needed dolce far niente in Puglia. In the meantime, we hope that you are finding some stress relief through baking and breadmaking; we certainly are.