Driving through the Valle D’Itria in Puglia, is always a pleasurable experience but this day was particularly beautiful. The bright blue sky was interspersed with fluffy white clouds, the rolling hills were scattered with old and new Trulli dwellings, and the curvy, undulating road made the journey even more enjoyable. I was en-route to an intriguing biological working Masseria; Masseria Cappella (Chapel Farmhouse, name after the enchanting chapel at the Masseria), in the very heart of Valle D’Itria, on the outskirts of Martina Franca. I had been invited by Federico, who works at the Masseria, to come and see for myself the fantastic work they do at the early 19th century Masseria.
The grand and impressive Masseria, houses 5 spacious apartments, which have breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside and nearby woods; the perfect spot to relax and unwind. However, the quintessential Puglian Trulli houses is where all the magic happens! They have their own cheese making facility and bakery located in the Trulli, plus a point of sale so you can buy directly from the Masseria. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! And talk about 0km!!!
On the farm, they have several beautiful horses and I was fortunate enough to be there when ‘Mamma horse’ was playing gay-fully in the field with her son, such as joy to see. They also have 300 cows, from which they produce fresh milk, butter and several varieties of cheeses daily; mozzerella, cacioricotta, giuncata, scamorza, to name but a few. Their on-site bakery has two large wood fired ovens, which are manned by two lovely ladies, making bread, taralli, focaccia and sweet treats daily. Again, I happened to be in the right place at the right time as a batch of coconut macaroons were just coming out of the oven…..perfect timing and absolutely exquisite! All these goodies are sold locally under the brand name of Valcoop but future plans include exporting via a virtual shop (online).
Picture above, me sampling the freshly baked coconut macaroon and my charming host, Federico.
Everything they do at the Masseria is organic, and of the highest quality and standard. In fact, they have recently received an award for their cheese; ‘Caciovavallo Stagionato Mertinese‘ at the highly acclaimed dairy competition held at CIBUS in Parma (9-12 May) by ALMA Caseus 2016. High praise indeeed! Auguri!!!
Their ethos at Masseria Cappella is to ‘cherish and nurture the land, and you will be highly rewarded!’ They also want to pass on this tradition of self-sufficiency, living off the land, producing their own dairy and bakery products, and growing organic vegetables, to the local community. Therefore, they are donating sections of their land to local families, so that they can share in the delights of ‘growing your own’. They will teach them how to ‘cherish and nurture’ and ultimately, eat their own home-grown vegetables. In particular, they want to encourage young children to continue with this tradition, and teach them the value of food and the advantages of growing your own organic vegetable. I think this is a fabulous way to give something back to the community! ‘Complimenti Masseria Cappella’.
If you’re interested in visiting this working Masseria, please feel free to get in-touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org and watch this space for up-coming events with Puglian Pleasures and Masseria Cappella!