by cookbookarabia

Archive for the ‘Olives’ Category

Olives & more from Puglia

In Olives, Pugliese kitchen, Southern European kitchen on December 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

Last week we were in beautiful Puglia in the south of Italy, for a very special occasion: Qoco : a young chef’s competition about the special Pugliese olive oil, made from the Coratina olive variety, and we were members of the jury. We got out of the plane, in the bus, and we saw olive trees, olive trees, olive trees and more…olive trees!

A beautiful countrysite rustic and pure.

Antonella Millarte, our Pugliese olive oil expert told us there are 60 million olive trees in Puglia! One for every Italian.

There were some chef’s from Italy and some more from nordic countries, as far up as the talented Magnus Nilsson’s Faviken, in the north of Sweden. We brought along Wally Bosman, chef at our Amsterdam favorite Toscanini restaurant (look how he’s enjoying the olives in the above picture), who made some nice dishes (with chickpeas, raw mackerel and orzo) but it was Magnus who deserved to win! But aside from these wonderful dishes the chefs presented with the high quality extra vergine Coratina olive oil –which is an oil that is often still stone crushed, temperature not higher than 27°C and has therefore and also due to the Coratina variety high levels of antioxidants and a very pure taste of green tomatoes and artichokes
we discovered something very very interesting! Not only was everyone telling us Puglia still has Arabic influence in their food, but we could taste it, like everywhere! Mashed up chickpeas like hummus, with cooked bitter vegetables (like endives) and other indigenous bean vegetables dishes, lentils, in combination with fresh cheeses (like the burrata), the typical sweets all was pointing in the same direction. And even the ancient olive trees, as they came to Puglia from Greece and Syria. We’ll be back soon in Puglia for our next book.