Mascapati – Presicce, Apulia

The Mascapati’s wine list

So, I have been back for a few days now. Since I came back I have been quite busy and when I am not, I just wanted to do nothing. πŸ˜› Oh, by the way, I found out that the Region of Puglia is known as Apulia in English. I is supposedly a Greek name for that region. Hence, I changed the title this time from Puglia to Apulia.

October is on us now and before I forget all the fabulous food I ate in Apulia I am going to blog about the restaurant I mentioned in my last post. As you can see from the title and this photo it is called Mascapati. Since we were in Presicce at the end of September, most places were already winding down from the summer frenzy. The restaurant at our hotel (which will be my next post πŸ™‚ ) wasn’t open for lunch as the chef was not in that day. So, our friend AM took us to a few other restaurants and this was one of the few still open for business. I saw its ad in a travel book on Presicce and I thought to myself, “wow! This looks like a great place!”. It wasn’t the only thing that surprised me. There were so many beautiful looking hotels and restaurants for a town so small. Presicce has only 5,583 inhabitants! The hotels are so beautiful and so well equipped it feels like we were in another world. okay, maybe I am just not used to seeing the south of Italy in that state. Can’t blame me, I have personal experience. Which I shall expand further in my next post on the hotel.

For now, Mascapati. From the outside it looked like any other facade but with a huge board with their name. But as you step in you are transported into a very modern and chic restaurant that you can find in places like London, New York, Milan or even Paris. Their website has a 360 degree virtual tour. Have a look for yourself. Their photos are way better than mine.

Entrance wall that greets the guest
The honey-comb divider wall

The inside of the restaurant is also very modern and sleek. I really felt that we were somewhere else. And this is all before we even got to the food.

The restaurant interior

As if I wasn’t impressed enough with the place, the food blew me away too! We ordered 3 antipastis. 2 “land” based and 1 seafood based. While looking through the menu, I was already thinking of what to order for my main course but was advised (which is usually the case) to have my antipasto first and they will take my main course order after. Grudgingly, I obliged. In the end, it was for the better. We didn’t get past the antipasti. We divided the antipasti among us and we were so filled! There were so many dishes and I took a picture of most of them before they ended in our tummies.

Here are the photos so that you can have a better idea of what we ate. While captioning the photos, I realised I really didn’t take a photo of ALL our dishes. It was only part of our meal. So you can imagine why we didn’t have any more space for the main course. I must have been too busy eating and missed out a few. Quite a few. I think we had at least another 4 dishes missing. πŸ˜›

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are ever in Presicce, do visit this restaurant. I highly recommend this place. The ambiance and food 5 stars for me. The service was also very good but I can’t really be the judge of that as we were the only people there. Let me know how it fares if you are ever there at the height of summer.

Now that I have penned this, I am off to bed!

Goose night people!!


At the heel of the boot of Italy

A map of Italy

The highlighted part is where I am at now. In Puglia. Things have moved along slowly. Appointments have been changed due to some unforeseen circumstances. So now it is already Thursday and we are still way down there at the heel of the boot that is Italy. Yesterday, we left Bitritto for Presicce. An amazing aerographic artist for our vespas lives here. I personally have never so far south at the boot of Italy before.

My verdict? It is amazingly beautiful!!! We went to the southern most tip of the boot, a place called Santa Maria di Leuca and I fell in love! Even though it is a little difficult to get to this point but boy, is it worth it! Do keep in mind though that this is the south and all these little towns are little towns. There are no big shopping complexes within easy reach here. If I am not mistaken the nearest shopping complexes is either one, 30kms or the other 60kms. If I am not mistaken the nearest airport is in Brindisi which is about 200+kms away or in Bari. But we are very near Greece. I think it is because of this proximity that the building also remind me of Greece. All whitewashed and with beautiful colours accenting them.

Presicce, though small has quite a few historical buildings. All worth a visit. I also discovered that Presicce has a whole subterranean city! From wikipedia, I couldn’t find much onPresicce but I found a page on Santa Maria di Leuca. I discovered that it houses the 2nd most important lighthouse in Italy after the one in Genoa! We learn something new everyday! We are here after the summer season so things are much calmer. I like the tranquility but I would advise that you make a trip here just at the end of summer, last week of August, to still tap into the summer vibe though things will already be winding down then. The summer here goes all the way till end of October and starts in April. Summer is in full swing in July and August. It is still 30 degrees today with loads of sunshine. So if you come here now, it is quiet, sunny, with not much to do but to just relax.

What surprised me the most of these places is the fact that, if you don’t know that you are in the south of Italy, the restaurants, bars and clubs when in full swing in summer, reminds me of Cannes, albeit on a way smaller scale. Everywhere you go there are full wifi services. I am so used to the other south. Calabria, where you can’t really get decent hotel service nor wifi anywhere (except maybe at Tropea) that I prepare myself for the worst. I bring extra pillows (small ones), a huddle for our won wifi connection and be prepared to roast in the heat every night at hotels or B&Bs without proper air-conditioning. Since our journey started, from Rome to Nola in Naples and Bitritto, and even here in Presicce, I have not used my huddle for wifi even ONCE! I am impressed. Even in little Bitritto the B&B was exceptional. It had everything and more. Though M was a little disappointed by the breakfast which I kind of knew it will not be worth getting up for. πŸ˜› But over all, very good service. Every one of the places we stayed had the full cable options too! There were the usual local channels, MTV, BBC, and all the other major European news channel.

I took some photos of the coastal towns from Santa Maria di Leuca all the way back to Lido Marini and back up to Presicce. Presicce is inland but only less than 4kms away. Though the photos won’t do it justice but you will have an idea of the beauty of the place. We ate an amazingly beautiful restaurant in Presicce which I will blog about next. Of course, the food was good too!

Before the battery on my computer dies off (only 6% left cause M used it and didn’t charge it :P) I will try to upload the photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gastronomic delight in Bitritto, Puglia

I tried to blog everyday but I failed. Since we left Sunday for Rome, we have had full days and by the time evening rolls by, I am dead tired. I am now too. But I told myself that I had to, just HAD TO blog about this evening’s meal before I forget the names of everything. So here goes.

Have you heard of Bitritto? Neither have I till today. I knew that we have cousins here but I was always told that they were in Bari. Well, technically they could be in Bari as Bari is only a mere 6kms away. I like Bitritto for it size and relative suburban feel. Also for the fact that it is a mere 6kms away from the big city. We have been busy catching up with the cousin and his family so no pictures of the town. Anyhow, you should come to visit it on your own too. Not a city like Bari. Just a small centre. Its centre and surrounding houses remind me of the back streets of Siracusa, Sicily.

Luckily I insisted we get to the gym today and our cousin’s son was so kind to arrange for us a day pass for a really nice gym or rather a fitness and health centre called Villa Camilla. Exceptionally beautiful. If you are ever here in this part of the world for business or holiday get yourself to Villa Camilla. Indoor, outdoor pools with indoor, outdoor jacuzzis, deck chairs dotting the pool area, hammams, saunas and the gym of course. Then, they also have all the massages you could ever want to relax and forget the day’s worries. Beautiful place. While there, I ran 5.25kms in 40 mins. Writing this down because I chose by mistake an old treadmill that doesn’t have the Nikeplus+ settings, so my run was not recorded. Dang it! And I have just signed up for the “3 runs a week” challenge.

Ok, ok. I realise I am getting carried away. The result of having so much to say but not blogging. I am sure you are looking forward to what the title of this post is supposed to be about. I am getting there! πŸ˜›

So, after gym we came back to our B&B to shower (we didn’t bring anything to shower there) and get ready for dinner. Finally got picked up at 9pm. Yes, they eat late here in Italy, especially in the south. We made our way to Ranch, the restaurant way out in the middle of the olive tree fields. But they were closed. Which in the end worked in our favour. We made our way to another little restaurant in the town centre know locally as “Il Papillion”. Hopefully that is the correct spelling as there are no signs outside this restaurant to indicate that it is even a restaurant or that it is even there!

We were greeted by Stefano the amazing chef and owner of the place. Because we are almost family, the feast began!! First and foremost, fried olives!! @_@ OMG!! They were so good! Never have I tasted fried olives! Then came plate after plate of amazing stuff. There was also a plate of ricotta cheese with orange marmalade! Yes! you heard me right! Orange marmalade! And homemade too!! Yummeh!!! The other dishes were different versions of parmigiana. One was with zucchini in white sauce, zucchini covered in cheese and oven baked. Another was a “fritelle con tonno” basically fried eggs with tuna covered in cheese, tomato puree sauce, oven baked. Normal parmigiana which is made with eggplants sliced thinly and layered like a lasagne (all parmigianas are layered like lasagne) covered with cheese and tomato puree and oven baked. A plate of mozzarellas which is a staple together with a huge plate of “prosciutto crudo” which is smoked/cured ham. There is also a plate of tripe in tomato sauce.

Then came the chef’s infamous coffee pasta. It was tagliolini type pasta in white sauce with coffee. I don’t know where he added the coffee but the aroma of coffee permeates throughout the dish. It was amazing!! To top off the already exploding (my stomach, of course) dinner, the chef tops it all with a homemade dessert. A amaretto, tiramisu like dessert! It was out of this world good! Like our cousin says, we should start all dinners with desserts and work our way back. πŸ˜€

I had to take a coffee to help my digestion along. I was already exploding before the pasta came along but greedy me had to try everything. I am now typing this in bed with my laptop on my lap but the tummy protruding and resting on the edge of my computer. Huge mound that is so hard to ignore. 😦 I hope tomorrow’s hotel has a gym. I should check.

Before I go, I will leave you a few photos of today’s dinner. Thought that I would leave you to your imaginations? Nah…the photos are coming right up!

Here you go!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Toodeloos people! I now have to somehow try to sleep and not have nightmares from a full stomach. urrggghhh! But, no regrets!