"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Mathematician's Castle & Cuisine in Puglia

Castle del Monte, pictured above, is an unexpectedly striking castle perched on a hill in the Andria region of Puglia in Southeastern Italy. Used mainly as a hunting lodge, it was completed in 1240 by Emperor Frederick II. The fortress is an octagonal prism with an octagonal tower at each corner. Both floors have eight rooms and an eight-sided courtyard occupies the castle's centre. Here is a blueprint of the fortress blueprint:
And here is a picture of how the Castle del Monte looks from the outside.
Here is a delightful, fluffy, midday Italian frittata made with local zucchini and tomatoes. We made these at Cefalicchio restaurant and to get that slightly crispy, golden brown top, you can broil the frittata on the top rack of the oven for a few minutes once the eggs are cooked through in the skillet.
After the frittata we ordered a pasta that is specific to Puglia. The orcchiette pasta was fresh and it is shaped roughly like small ears. Orcchiette actually means little ear in Italian. This dish was cooked with the green part of scallions, a light olive oil and garlic sauce, seasoned homemade croutons, and thin strips of a soft mild cheese. All in all, it was delicious.
Driving further south of Andria, you can explore the small towns that line the Adriatic Sea in Southeastern Italy. I was with two lovely friends who I met at Cefalicchio and we decided to take a small day road trip down the coast and here are some pictures from the scenic beaches and rustic fishing ports:
Like any good meal, or day trip, we had to end with some dessert. We stopped at a restaurant for some Italian chocolate covered profiteroles which are like little cream-filled pastry balls that are covered with thin chocolate sauce. Heaven.

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