Agriturismo – a combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve foods to guests prepared from raw materials produced on the farm or at least locally. Some will allow the guest to actually participate in the activities surrounding the farm. Despite the rural nature of the lodging, one might expect a rustic experience; yet many agriturismi(the plural form of agriturismo) feature rather luxurious accommodation as well as swimming pools.
Starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1970s, small scale farming in Italy became less profitable, and, as one might predict, farmers abandoned many farms to search for work in larger towns. But Italians value highly the traditions and produce of small scale production of food, and by 1985 a law defined Agriturismo, and many abandoned buildings and estates were restored, some for vacation homes, and many for agritourismo. These agritourismi allowed the small farmer to augment the income from the farm, and for vacationers to sample the bounty of a rural life in Italy.
In the Puglia region these agriturismi are known colloquially as masserie (lit. farms). They are a popular venue for Sunday lunch, in fact many of them are only open on Sunday.
Some friends and I visited Masseria Lama S. Giorgio, near Rutilgliano, Bari, for lunch earlier today. ‘Lunch’ lasted from 1:30 to 5:30 :-) The food was superb (more about that later) and the service efficient, but friendly. There was no choice of menu, but they were happy to prepare special dishes for Michael, who has a food intolerance.
This is an extract from their website. I really should offer my services as a translator :-)
The Farm/Villa now called “Farm Lama S. Giorgio”, was built at the beginning of the nineteen century and completed in the first decade of the ‘900 from Turi’s family. In 1970 was aquired by Dr. Nicholas Didonna, important figure of Rutigliano. Dr. Giovanni Scianatico, grandson of Dr. Nicholas Didonna, was ableto recover the ancient splendor with a careful restoration, keeping in consideration the original characteristics of the Farm.
With the period furniture and the plain cooking based on an ancient taste recovery, rustic but refined, the Farm Lama S. Giorgio offers to all those people who wishes to visit the Lama and neighbors places, a calm shelter and an optimal restore.
This is how we got on …
Michael and I waiting for ‘kickoff’
First we were served an aperitivo. The specialty of the house in a non alcoholic mix of celery and lemon juice. It sounds horrible, but I can assure you it wasn’t.
Here we go with the antipasti.
Very fresh ricotta served with apricot jam and focaccia.
Mixed frittelle including artichokes, fennel, cauliflower and baccala
A kind of strudel stuffed with artichokes and mushrooms
On to the primi…
Katharina digging into a very tasty mixed bean soup, topped with strips of pancake.
Pumpkin and mushroom lasagne
Roast leg of pork with onion roasted potatoes
This was a side dish of mixed grains. It wasn’t actually for us, but the chef thought we might be interested in having a look anyway :-)
We finished the meal with fresh fruit, the ubiquitous (although excellent) tiramisu, coffee and an amaro. The final bill came to €78 for three people, including wine and water.
Probably the best restaurant meal I’ve had in Pulglia :-)