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.