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15 Must-Try Foods In Puglia, Italy


by Bernita Magill


Puglia, located in the southernmost part of Italy, is known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and charming towns. But one aspect of Puglia that truly takes center stage is its mouthwatering cuisine. From fresh seafood to hearty rustic dishes, Puglia offers a gastronomic journey that will delight even the most discerning palates.

In this article, we will delve into the must-try foods that define the culinary landscape of Puglia. Whether you are a food enthusiast or simply looking to explore the vibrant flavors of Italy, these 15 dishes will give you a taste of the unique culinary heritage that Puglia has to offer.

So, prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable culinary adventure as we guide you through the must-try foods in Puglia, Italy.

Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa

One of the most iconic dishes of Puglia is Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa. These little ears of pasta are traditionally served with a sautéed mixture of broccoli rabe, garlic, and chili pepper. The combination of the tender pasta and the slightly bitter greens creates a wonderful harmony of flavors.


No trip to Puglia is complete without indulging in Burrata. This creamy cheese is made from mozzarella and cream, giving it a luscious texture and a rich, buttery flavor. It is best enjoyed with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and some freshly baked bread.

Focaccia Barese

Focaccia Barese is a staple food in Puglia. This soft and fluffy bread is typically topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, and oregano, creating a burst of Mediterranean flavors in every bite. It is perfect as a snack or served alongside a meal.


Frisella is a traditional Puglian bread that is baked twice to achieve a crispy texture. It is often topped with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and oregano. This simple yet satisfying dish is perfect for hot summer days.


Taralli are small, round biscuits that are similar to pretzels. They come in various flavors such as fennel, black pepper, or olive. These crunchy snacks are perfect for nibbling on during a road trip or as an accompaniment to an aperitivo.

Tiella di Riso, Patate e Cozze

Tiella di Riso, Patate e Cozze is a flavorful rice dish that combines potatoes and mussels. This one-pot wonder is seasoned with garlic, parsley, and white wine, creating a hearty and aromatic meal that will satisfy any seafood lover.

Polpo alla Pignata

Polpo alla Pignata is a traditional Puglian octopus stew. The octopus is slow-cooked in a clay pot with potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil until it becomes tender and flavorful. It is a true taste of Puglia’s seaside cuisine.


Panzerotti are fried stuffed pastries that are similar to calzones. They are usually filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and sometimes other ingredients like ham or mushrooms. These handheld treats are perfect for a quick and satisfying meal on the go.

Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Zeppole di San Giuseppe are traditional pastries that are typically enjoyed during the celebrations of San Giuseppe, the patron saint of fathers. These fried dough balls are filled with sweet ricotta cream and topped with cherry or pistachio. They are a delightful indulgence.


Cartellate are deep-fried dough spirals that are drizzled with honey or vincotto, a sweet grape syrup. These beautiful pastries are typically enjoyed during the holiday season and are a true symbol of Puglian culinary traditions.

Torrone di Mandorle

Torrone di Mandorle is a traditional Puglian nougat made with almonds, honey, and egg whites. It has a soft and chewy texture and is often enjoyed during festive occasions. It is a sweet treat that will satisfy your cravings.

Ricci di Mare

Ricci di Mare, or sea urchins, are a delicacy in Puglia. The bright orange roe inside the spiky shell is rich and briny, with a unique flavor that is best enjoyed fresh. Try them on a slice of warm bread for a taste of the sea.

Fave e Cicorie

Fave e Cicorie is Puglia’s version of a classic Italian dish. It consists of mashed fava beans served with sautéed chicory greens, garlic, and olive oil. This simple and nutritious dish is a comfort food that reflects the region’s agricultural traditions.


Lampascioni, also known as wild onions or muscari bulbs, are a unique ingredient in Puglian cuisine. They have a delicate and slightly sweet flavor and are often pickled or used in stews and omelets. They add a touch of uniqueness to any dish.


Pasticciotto is a delicious pastry that originated in Lecce, Puglia. It consists of a shortcrust pastry filled with sweet and creamy custard. This decadent treat pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or as a dessert after a satisfying meal.

These 15 must-try foods in Puglia, Italy, showcase the region’s culinary prowess and local traditions. Whether you’re exploring the coastal towns or wandering through the picturesque countryside, make sure to indulge in these dishes to truly experience the authentic flavors of Puglia.


Visiting Puglia, Italy is a culinary adventure that shouldn’t be missed. With its rich culinary traditions and vibrant food scene, you can indulge in a variety of mouthwatering dishes. From fresh seafood to hearty pasta dishes, Puglia offers something for every food lover.

Make sure to try the 15 must-try foods in Puglia, including the famous Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa, Burrata cheese, and the traditional Pasticciotto dessert. These dishes will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Whether you’re exploring the picturesque towns of Alberobello and Ostuni or simply soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches, don’t forget to experience the culinary delights that Puglia has to offer. Your gastronomic journey through this region will be a feast for both the senses and the soul.


1. What are the must-try foods in Puglia?

Puglia is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. Some of the must-try foods in Puglia include Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa, Burrata cheese, Frisella, Focaccia Barese, and Taralli.

2. Are there vegetarian options available?

Yes, Puglia offers a variety of delicious vegetarian dishes. You can indulge in dishes like Fava Bean Puree, Grilled Vegetables, and Polpo alla Luciana (octopus stew) made with vegetables.

3. Where can I find the best seafood in Puglia?

Puglia is blessed with a long coastline, and you can find exceptional seafood throughout the region. Coastal towns like Bari, Polignano a Mare, and Gallipoli are popular for their fresh seafood restaurants.

4. What is the traditional dessert of Puglia?

Pasticciotto is a traditional pastry from Puglia and is a must-try dessert. It consists of a sweet crust filled with custard cream and is often enjoyed with a cup of espresso.

5. Can I try local wines in Puglia?

Absolutely! Puglia is renowned for its wine production. Make sure to taste the region’s signature wines like Primitivo and Negroamaro, which pair perfectly with the local cuisine.

6. Are there any food festivals in Puglia?

Yes, Puglia hosts numerous food festivals throughout the year. The Festa della Taranta in August and the Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore in February are just a couple of the many celebrations where you can enjoy local delicacies.

7. Can I take cooking classes in Puglia?

Yes, many cooking schools in Puglia offer classes where you can learn to prepare traditional dishes. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and bring a piece of Puglia back home with you.

8. Are there any specialty food shops in Puglia?

Absolutely! Puglia is dotted with specialty food shops where you can find high-quality local products like olive oil, cheese, and pasta. These shops are perfect for food enthusiasts looking to bring home authentic Puglian flavors.