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Slow Breakfasts in Puglia

Posted on June 26th, 2015

IMG_2875   We are on holiday! This time a total retreat for us – very important when one spends a lot of time tending to the needs of others… And we are in beautiful Puglia in southern Italy, in the land of the ‘trullo’ – little stone houses with conical roofs that make them look like homes for the Little People.

Indeed, we have our own little hobbit house to ourselves – its thick stone walls keep us cool in the day and warm at night, and we sit on our terrace in an olive grove for breakfast every morning. No one knows quite how they started, – they can be hundreds of years old – we visited one from the 11th century. Trulli are everywhere here, poking their little pointed hats, sometimes just one or two, sometimes in clusters, out above the groves and vineyards.

With time on our hands, we are appreciating the phenomenon that has been taken up seriously round here, that of Slow Food. Our nearest towns – the beautiful ‘White City’ of Ostuni, and pretty Cisternino – IMG_2908[1]have both adopted the Slow Food ethos, indeed the latter hosted the Slow Food movement’s international conference last year. This doesn’t just mean preparing and eating food slowly, rather than using processed, which we have been doing and are in themselves of great benefit – it also means buying and using local seasonal produce, with restaurants as far as possible taking a ‘0km’ approach to their supplies.

IMG_2887[1]If Saturday’s market in Ostuni – and Monday’s in Cisternino – were anything to go by, this is working well – I have never seen so many small producers of fruit and vegetables gathered at open air stalls selling their own seasonal fruit and vegetables, and more, as at Ostuni – tables laden with heaps of cherries, apricots, peaches, and melons, along with those stacked with round cucumbers, many shapes of tomatoes, zucchini (courgettes), aubergines, and strings of red onions and garlic, and all manner of green leafy things from lettuces to herbs…

IMG_2823[1]Without our usual kitchen equipment of blender or juicer, we have been living largely on salads – especially loving our fruit salads for breakfast in the shade of the olive trees. And for lunch, green salads dressed with fabulous local organic oil made by traditional methods in the olive farms known as masserias dotted all around. Near the coast there is a belt of olive trees belonging to these old, often walled, farm house estates, that are the most ancient I have seen – an army of venerable guardians with their gnarled, twisted, bulbous, vast but often hollow trunks holding up their arms to the sun and still bearing amazing crops of olives.

Masserias often offer accommodation as well as food tasting, educational tours and other produce – so are part of the region’s ‘ecotourism’. Enlightened tourism planning has seen cycle routes connected up to train stations, making this a great place for cycling holidays, with its varied landscape, woods and ancient monuments.

Back to those breakfasts, we did bring some superfoods with us, so that we would cover all the nutritional bases that vegetarians need to be sure to do – and just because we love them! Soaking some chia seeds overnight with some dried fruit and nuts to form the base of whatever ripe fruit we have to hand. Just looking at the colours and absorbing their energy raises our vibrations! And knowing now about how colour pigments actually are many of the nutrients we are receiving (see blog about David Wolfe and the importance of colour), it adds to the appreciation… I then add a spoonful or two of yogurt, either raw milk fermented (done locally), or coconut yogurt, or kefir (we have found two good organic , known as ‘bio’, shops, both very well stocked, and a Gluten Free shop. Then a couple of drops of liquid chlorophyll, that wonderful green plant blood, which helps balance the pH of our own blood. Finally, a shake of superfood powder (maca or wheatgrass), and perhaps a sprinkle of cacao nibs, or bee pollen – and hey, the perfect start to the day….