Spring in Puglia

Spring in Puglia

search-1 12919743_10153908963655622_723981549239862654_n

Spring comes early to Puglia,  the wild flowers and blossom are out, the bees are busy pollinating, and it’s  the season for fresh strawberries, kiwi and asparagus!

The landscape becomes a beautiful riot of colours,  and the crowds are still months away. Spring is the ideal time to tour the region. Take a walk through our centenary olive trees, or along the beautiful coast line, the quaint villages, there is so much to see in this beautiful region. A trip to Puglia is a fascinating and rewarding experience, particularly in spring.

Here at Villa Magnolia, spring is a very, very busy time of year! Spring cleaning and preparing the Villa for the new season, painting, gardening, planting our summer vegetable garden with tomatoes, aubergines, zucchini, melons, peppers and more. The Grape vines need tending to,  our citrus trees are cut back each year. Outside furniture comes out of storage.

This year we have been particularly busy as we’ve added an  extension at the back of the XVIII Villa where we now have a beautiful new large kitchen, facing the gardens. There are two properties on our estate ( circa 8 acres),the dusty red  XVIII century ‘Casale’, where guests stay, plus a converted stable which is  our home. On the land we have 90 secular olive trees, 100 almond trees, a variety of fruit trees and our own citrus grove, each year we plant a large seasonal vegetable garden. Everything we produce, including our  ev olive oil is organic. One luxury we couldn’t resist was a stunning saltwater swimming pool.

Life is good in Puglia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Unlimited wine on tap?

search-1Have you ever wished you could stay at an amazing location with a stunning swimming pool, make pizza in a wood fired oven, participate in a cooking class, eat delicious home cooked dinners with some serious wine pairing for each course, also have unlimited wine on tap?  Your wish has just come true! Join us on our 4 day food and wine extravaganza  (dates below) ,  enjoy luxury accommodation, a fabulous salt water swimming pool, delicious breakfast served al fresco, wine tastings, wine pairings, make your own limoncello or mandarinetto, learn how mozzarella is made and so much more!  We’ll provide unlimited ‘Primitivo’ red wine from Manduria  all 4 days!

Dates: June 7th to 11th or September 8th to 12th 2016 info@villamagnoliaitaly.com
Book soon as places are now limited!
Price pp 580 euro.  Suitable for couples. Accommodation, all food and plenty of wine as listed below included!

1) Arrival, light lunch, aperitivo. ( a few hours free time to sunbathe, tour the area) . Hands on cooking class in the chef’s kitchen, 4 course dinner with wine pairing.

2) Breakfast, a visit to a wine cantina, wine tasting and lunch with wine pairing. Afternoon: Limoncello making class ( free evening to discover the area, choose a local restaurant)

3)Breakfast, Tour to a local cheesemaker to learn how to make mozzarella, burrata etc. ( a few hours free in the afternoon) Fun packed Pizza making evening 3 course dinner (unlimited wines included).

4)Breakfast,  ( free morning to explore or chill out by the pool),  afternoon Bruschetta served al fresco with Prosecco ,  watch a show by the pool at Villa Magnolia of traditional Pizzica dancers!  Followed by an amazing organic dinner at a Masseria, 8 courses with wine pairings.

info@villamagnoliaitaly.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of probiotics.

When sourcing food to serve our guests,  we pay particular attention to the quality of yoghurt offered at breakfast time. All yoghurts served here at Villa Magnolia have natural beneficial probiotics.

Yoghurt is a cultured or fermented milk product that is soured and thickened by adding specific lactic acid-producing cultures to milk. The basic cultures orprobiotics used to make yoghurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Additional probiotics are often added. There’s a difference between the plain yoghurts and the fruit flavours you see on shelves, though. Many of these are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners.  We look for options without artificial sweeteners like aspartame or added sugars like high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. We also make sure there is less than 12 grams of sugar per container.

To combat allergens, dust mites and disinfect the bedrooms and soft furnishings at Villa Magnolia we use Probiotics. We purchase our probiotic products from *Bi-Safe.net (Chrisal) the founder of the company  is from Holland, we had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago when he stayed here at Villa Magnolia for a week.  Bi-Safe is a range of cleaning and care products for the body and household use which are based on probiotics (good bacteria)and contain no bactericidal chemicals. Disinfectants attack microbes makes them defend themselves and become aggressive and resistant. when this happens the disinfectant to not work anymore.

By using Bi-Safe the microbes (human unfriendly bacteria) are overwhelmed with population of good bacteria which causes them to stop multiplying. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a smaller population of bacteria and even animals, face an unequal struggle for resources, causing them to stop multiplying. There is not enough food for their offspring, and the population of microbes is reduced to a number which is no longer harmful to humans. The microbes are not directly attacked, because that is not necessary, since they spontaneously cease multiply. The probiotic bacteria control the environment and microbes become less aggressive.

*The University Hospital of Ferrara, Italy has decided after thorough testing to use only the industrial variant of Bi-Safe (also developed by Chrisal) for the entire hygiene of the hospital!

 

Pizza making in Puglia

Once a week here at Villa Magnolia we fire up our pizza oven, guests have the opportunity to make their own pizzas, its a fun packed event! I have been making pizza dough for many years, the following recipe is the fastest and easiest, however personally I prefer the slow rise pizza dough ( I will post the recipe soon), let’s start with this  easy recipe.

My easy Pizza Dough Recipe, makes 4 personal sized pizzas.

Prep Time: 3 hrs

Ingredients:

4  Cups of plain flour
1 ½ Cups Water (approximate)
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast + a teaspoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Directions:

Mix some of the water  (half a glass) with the yeast, sugar, leave to react for a minute or so, when bubbles have formed then mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
Let rest for 10 minutes, then knead  (I always prefer  by hand)  for 7 to 8 minutes until smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover  and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature  until the dough doubles in size.
Punch the dough  and divide it into 4 equal sized balls.
Cover the balls of dough and let rest 60 minutes then shape.
To shape your pizza take a ball of dough and press into a disc shape.
Lightly flour top and bottom  with Farina di Semola (durum wheat flour)/cornmeal and gently press and pull the dough with your finger tips, turning it often to create a 10 inch circle, if you feel confident  throw your pizza dough in the air, be careful not to catch with your fingertips…use the back of your hand instead. Finally  top with your choice of ingredients.

The best pizzas are baked in a wood fired Pizza oven, if you would like to experience making your own pizza  then contact us info@villamagnoliaitaly.com

Turning point for wines of Puglia!

Puglia’s indigenous varieties (led by the reds), to name a few are  Negroamaro, Primitivo, Susumaniello  these grapes are well adapted to the area and produce signature wines in talented hands. Sunny days ripen the grapes, while the largely clay based soil retain enough moisture for the sun soaked vines, wind promotes dry healthy conditions.

Puglia has enormous potential, tradition is a dynamic concept, a priceless asset! Another reason to visit Puglia, come and discover the food and wines of this region. info@villamagnoliaitaly.com

 

Ciceri e Tria (pasta and chickpeas)

IMG_1030IMG_1035IMG_1036IMG_1038

Ciceri e Tria, is a traditional dish in Puglia, although the origins are Arabian. The finishing touches of flavour and texture come from frying some of the pasta and adding to the mixture of pasta with chick peas.

Ingredients for 4: – 200 gr Farina di Semola (durum wheat flour) 300 gr chickpeas, 1 carrot, 1 stick of celery, 1 garlic clove, 1 onion, 3 tomatoes or some tomato sauce, a little rosemary, EV olive oil, salt.

      Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl of water  and leave to soak overnight. The next day drain and rinse the chickpeas, place in a saucepan with the vegetables and enough water to make a watery soup. Cook on low heat, until chick peas are soft. Towards the end of cooking time remove the garlic and celery  ( or mince them with a fork and leave in),  add some salt.

      Meanwhile make the fresh pasta with the flour, water and a pinch of salt. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes then roll out the dough until its thin, cut into tagliatelle shape.  Fry one third of the tagliatelle in oil, when they are golden, drain and add a pinch of salt. The remaining pasta should be cooked with the chickpeas, serve the pasta and chickpeas with a handful of the fried pasta on top and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Some like to add grated cheese.

Wine pairing with ‘ciceri e tria’.  A Vino Rosato Pugliese eg;  IGT Susumaniello Rosato ‘Tre Tomoli Rosa’ 2013’ dell’azienda Vigna Flora di Castellana Grotte (Bari), has won the gold medal for the  excellent producion of organic wines here in Puglia.

Tiramisu = lift me up!

tiramisu-finished-dish-medium

Tiramisu, a well known Italian classic dessert, however, it only dates back to the 1960’s, most likely from northern Italy. There aren’t many dessert recipes originating from Puglia, as cakes and desserts were only available for special occasions. The locals eat fresh seasonal fruit,  dried figs and almonds for their dessert, certainly a much healthier option, although every now and they do indulge!

The Tiramisu I make here at Villa Magnolia is always alcohol enriched. Villa Magnolia is an adult only luxury B&B, so I’m not worried about the alcohol content of my tiramisu, although if requested I  am happy to make alcohol & nut free versions too.   I make tiramisu with my  homemade Coffee liqueur (like Kahlua), or Amaretto, I also like to vary the topping, sometimes cocoa powder,  grated dark chocolate or roasted almond slivers.

Come and stay at http://www.villamagnoliaitaly.com, maybe you’ll get a chance to taste my tiramisu!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of probiotics.

bisafesearch

When sourcing food to serve our guests,  we pay particular attention to the quality of yoghurt offered at breakfast time. All yoghurts served here at Villa Magnolia have natural beneficial probiotics.

Yoghurt is a cultured or fermented milk product that is soured and thickened by adding specific lactic acid-producing cultures to milk. The basic cultures or probiotics used to make yoghurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Additional probiotics are often added. There’s a difference between the plain yoghurts and the fruit flavours you see on shelves, though. Many of these are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners.  We look for options without artificial sweeteners like aspartame or added sugars like high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. We also make sure there is less than 12 grams of sugar per container.

To combat allergens, dust mites and disinfect the bedrooms and soft furnishings at Villa Magnolia we use Probiotics. We purchase our probiotic products from *Bi-Safe.net (Chrisal) the founder of the company  is from Holland, we had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago when he stayed here at Villa Magnolia for a week.  Bi-Safe is a range of cleaning and care products for the body and household use which are based on probiotics (good bacteria)and contain no bactericidal chemicals. Disinfectants attack microbes makes them defend themselves and become aggressive and resistant. when this happens the disinfectant to not work anymore.

By using Bi-Safe the microbes (human unfriendly bacteria) are overwhelmed with population of good bacteria which causes them to stop multiplying. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a smaller population of bacteria and even animals, face an unequal struggle for resources, causing them to stop multiplying. There is not enough food for their offspring, and the population of microbes is reduced to a number which is no longer harmful to humans. The microbes are not directly attacked, because that is not necessary, since they spontaneously cease multiply. The probiotic bacteria control the environment and microbes become less aggressive.

*The University Hospital of Ferrara, Italy has decided after thorough testing to use only the industrial variant of Bi-Safe (also developed by Chrisal) for the entire hygiene of the hospital!

 

Turning point for wines of Puglia!

DSC00090.JPG                                                                                                           Puglia’s rich soils are abundantly arable and the region has long since been a primary source of produce for the rest of Europe, 50 years ago all of Puglia’s wine towns were near a train station, so the bulk wine in tanks could be shipped north. This has changed and quality is on the up, the past 10 years has seen a rise of outside investments, particularly from northern Italy.  Producers are upgrading and investing in vineyards and winery infrastructure, embracing new technologies and techniques.

Puglia’s indigenous varieties (led by the reds), to name a few are  Negroamaro, Primitivo, Susumaniello  these grapes are well adapted to the area and produce signature wines in talented hands. Sunny days ripen the grapes, while the largely clay based soil retain enough moisture for the sun soaked vines, wind promotes dry healthy conditions.

Puglia has enormous potential, tradition is a dynamic concept, a priceless asset! Another reason to visit Puglia, come and discover the food and wines of this region. info@villamagnoliaitaly.com

 

Travellers expect more!

Travel and hospitality industry is not the easiest business to be in. Expectations are high, it’s not just about sun, sea and some sightseeing. Travel industry is  never-ending and continually changing. In order to stand out, travel marketers must create moments of human relevance and authenticity in unexpected places. Travellers want to ‘experience’ their destination, they  want to have life-fulfilling experiences, and they are seeking travel experiences that closely align to their own personal values.The nature of the travel experience is impacted by the destination.  According to top advisors, the most-booked destinations remain the same year after year. Italy is by far the most popular!

Once the consumer has decided the destination, the real experience starts, so come to Puglia and immerse yourself in this Food and Wine 4 day extravaganza! Suitable for couples.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2016 Dates: June 7th to 11th or September 8th to 12th 2016

Contact info@villamagnoliaitaly for detailed itinerary and price.

1)Light lunch, aperitivo. Hands on cooking class, 4 course dinner with wine pairing.
2)Breakfast, wine tour wine tasting and lunch. Afternoon Limoncello making class.
3)Breakfast Tour and watch local cheesemaker make mozzarella. Fun packed Pizza making evening 3 course dinner (wines included).
4)Breakfast, afternoon Bruschetta served al fresco with Prosecoo, Pizzica dancers show by the pool! Amazing organic dinner at a Masseria, 8 courses with wine pairings.

 

A holiday is the chance of a lifetime to return home with lasting memories, let us help create yours. info@villamagnoliaitaly.com

 

 

 

PASTA made with Primitivo wine.

Italians love pasta, they eat pasta almost every day!  There are  hundreds of  different pasta shapes on the market. Italians feel strongly about certain pasta shapes being paired with certain sauces, for example Italians do NOT eat spaghetti bolognese, the bolognese meat sauce is served with tagliatelle not spaghetti. It will take a while to understand which shapes of pasta go with each sauce.  In Puglia the homemade orecchiette pasta is made with farina di semola (durum wheat flour) and water, in northern Italy pasta made with eggs or filled pasta is very popular. Pasta can be quick, simple, healthy, nutritious and versatile.  An example of some fresh pasta I make here at Villa Magnolia, made with Farina di Semola and Primitivo wine, served with a creamy walnut and gorgonzola sauce, perfect  comfort food on a  winter day. Viva la Pasta!
DSC02285 (9).jpgDSC02287 (1).jpg