Friday, October 16, 2009

Memory lane - again

What an interesting morning! We leave for home tomorrow (but I'll be back in a week) and we’d both wanted to take a quick trip to Siponto. This is real memory lane stuff for me because my mother brought me here from age 1, and, as Pia likes nothing more than for us than to get out from under her feet, as she cleans the house for the first time that day, we headed out.

Our first stop was the 12th century church (above) just outside Siponto or to give it its full name Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. The custodian was very helpful and informative and even opened up the crypt for us. The crypt, which is not normally open (he must have felt the tip coming on), is actually a 5th century church upon which the present church was built. The excavation next door is the remains of a 4th century paleochristian/pagan church which was destroyed in an earthquake. It was all very, very interesting.

On the way into Siponto (deserted beach above) I’d also noticed a sign directing you to a farm where they make mozzarella. I love good mozzarella. Not just any mozzarella but ‘mozzarella di bufala’. I have a longstanding joke with Dino that in all the years that I’ve been visiting Italy I have never ever seen any buffalo. I even suspected that it was yet another Italian scam where they buy milk from somewhere else and then pretend it’s from buffalo and then sell it as authentic. Well, let me tell you mes amis that I’ve seen the light. Or,to be more precise, I’ve seen the buffalo. I’d heard that they made mozzarella locally and we had the time to explore. So explore we did.

A few miles down a narrow track, in the middle of nowhere, and full of local Italians buying the stuff, we found the farm and right next to it were many, many buffalo. I’d finally found them. The search was over.

Needless to say the provenance of this wonderful speciality, the freshest possible, had to be found. Caseificio dei Pini, viale dei Pini, Podere no 3, Siponto-Manfredonia, Puglia, 0884 541799 is the name of the farm. There was a shop on site next to the cheese making bit where they sold another, rarer, speciality, ricotta di bufala (even Pia had never heard of it). We love fresh ricotta, there’s nothing like it, it’s very special so we were in seventh heaven. Excellent and very highly recommended, assuming of course that you like the stuff.

No comments: