Whenever you order a drink in Apulia, chances are that you will be also offered some taralli. These round and crunchy snacks are like the delicious southern Italian version of Grissini- basically, small breadsticks with an endless variety of different flavours.
The classical “gusto” is made with plain olive oil. The taralli are made out of flour, salt, dry white wine and olive oil. Other typical variants are made with fennel seeds, onion or sesame. With increasing popularity, there are now endless flavors of them, such as Pizza, Calzone, sugary versions and even health conscious choices, including chia seeds, curcuma and whole wheat.
The origin of taralli dates back to 1400. Like the entire typical Apulian cuisine, they are also made of very simple ingredients. Farmer' families used to make and offer them to their guests, together with a glass of wine. The origins of the snack are disputable, but the most plausible version is that they come from Greece, and etymologically from the word daratos, meaning "kind of bread". The taralli became so famous in Italy and abroad, and were soon established as a typical product of Italy; they're also part of the PAT, "Prodotto Agroalimentare Tradizionale" (traditional agricultural Italian product).
The round bread snack is also widely spread in other southern Italian regions, such as Calabria, Campania and Basilicata. The taralli of Apulia are often referred to as the best ones, because the key ingredient to the delicious snack is the olive oil. Since the heel of Italy’s boot is world famous for its olive oil, it might just make the subtle, yet important difference. Another particularity is that the taralli have to be cooked twice: first they get boiled in water and oil, and then they get baked in the oven until they get their signature golden colour.
If you feel like trying to make them by yourself, have a look at the video:
In many Apulian cities you will come across promoters on the streets from local delicatessen stores, offering free taralli. Usually, you can taste your way through all the different flavors and then even mix them in your personalised package.
At bars and restaurants, you can usually find taralli at the “stuzzichini” section, meaning small appetizers, and sometimes, you can also get them for free when you order an aperitif drink.
You can also find a huge selection of taralli with different tastes at any supermarket in Apulia. Keep in mind that they make the perfect souvenirs for foodies back home. 😊
Title Picture © Credits to iStock/mila1974
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