the Life around the Loaf

Everyday bread can be Extraordinary. I am a baker and good-bread-seeker with a particular interest in Sourdoughs (see first post for explaination) but also a general interest in Life and Happiness and the role bread can play in it.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Lecce, Puglia

I arrive in Lecce on the night train from Rome. Explaining my project to the only other person in my carriage (he spots me as a foreigner immediately, and wants to try out his English), I find it tricky to convince him that the bread I'm interested is the simplest and most plain-seeming everyday loaf. He enthuses about the more decorative breads, those with added herbs, tomato and olives (“watch out for your teeth: -they don't take the olive stones out!”), those enriched with Pugliese olive oil and then the pastries, pasticciotti... ah! He becomes misty-eyed. He's on his way home to his parents in Lecce.

I realise it'll be similarly difficult to convince bakers that they can keep their plaits and pastries, their torte salate and focaccie, I'd like to see the simplest-looking loaf they've got, please!

Okay, okay, I'll try a pasticciotto too. A pasticciotto turns out to be a small custard-filled pie, like a tiny, oval gateau Basque with friable lard pastry. Warm, with a bitter coffee, it is a heavenly introduction to Lecce.

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Madeleine (Dilly) Boase