2015 – Goodbye Bari – Hello Mandura

It was raining when we woke up this morning. Ah, that wonderful sound – now I have to remember that in February when I’m looking for sunshine in Oregon. We went in to old town Bari this morning to do some shopping and what we discovered is that everything was closed. I guess people know when the ships come in to the port of Bari and open the shops early. So we stopped by Martinucchi’s and had a cappuccino and espresso while we were figuring out what to do with our morning. We were leaving on a train around 3:00 pm so had some time to explore.

We stopped by a cheese and meat store we had seen earlier and grabbed a few things for lunch on the train. Then stopped in a few shops – I didn’t buy anything – shocked even me.  We said goodbye to our BNB and walked our luggage to the train station just down the street. We even boarded the right train going in the right direction! We were warned by Antimo that the trains don’t always announce each little town they stop in. And we’re here to tell you that they did, but it was so muffled, we hardly understood what they were saying. So thank goodness Antimo told us to look for the white town about 10 minutes out from Brindisi called – Ostuni. Thank goodness Dick stayed awake so he could tell me we had just passed that town and to get ready to debark the train.  

We arrived in Brindisi around 4:30 and Antimo was there to meet us. He drove us through the town and off we went to Oria. There we stopped at a co-op where a few grape farmers get together to process their grapes – on a very small scale. They crush, ferment and bottle in this small space about the size of a 4 car garage. Each family has their name on their barrels and when done, pours the finished grapes into a large ceramic pitcher. We tasted some grapes that had started to ferment – oh so good. Primitivo wine is common in this area.  

Our BNB is just delightful. It has a 5 star ceiling called stella. All in stone. The ceiling is so high, there is a loft area with a picturesque railing where I would picture family members yelling down to the people below – in a friendly way of course. ha ha. The street is so small outside that no cars can travel on it. Well, guess that stops traffic and car noise for us for awhile. 

At 7:30 pm we were off to the countryside to make pizzas at a massuria (working farm). This family has 300 acres of olive trees and 40 acres of vineyards. They make their own olive oil and wine – duh! The owners are a very nice family. The daughter is beautiful, in fact she was runner up Miss Pulgia. She and her mother prepared all the ingredients and fired up the outside oven. We rolled out the dough and put the toppings on. It was so fresh – the San Marzanos were bursting with flavor and the mozzarella was indescribably good when it melted all over the dough.

We learned that they test the oven to make sure it is ready with a puccia. They take a hunk of dough and roughly roll it out, no toppings, then throw it in the oven. It should poof up which tells you the oven is hot enough. Dick got into the swing of things and made his own pizza – first time ever! With our pizza dinner our hosts brought out their homemade primitivo wine, cheeses, white melons (tastes similar to honey dew) peaches, nuts and grappa of course. It was all so delicious, even the grappa. Surprised I’m still coherent to write this post.

Lunch on the train from our purchases in town.

Grape crushers in Oria the old-fashioned way.

Our BNB in Manduria

 Outside Brick oven – looks hot enough don’t you think?

Pizza in the making

 Even Dick is getting into it

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