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Seeking recommendations in Matera, as well as near Andria

On a return visit to Puglia next month, we will be putting a toe into neighboring Basilicata with two nights in Matera. Le Botteghe looks like a must. I would love to read further recommendations. I plan to spend much time on the Restaurant page here...

Another stop will be two nights in an agriturismo (Lama di Luna) near Andria (I have already booked Antichi Sapori in Montegrosso).

Anyone have any ideas for a great informal spot near Andria, Montegrosso, Canosa di Puglia, or Minervino Murge?

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Le Botteghe
piazza San Pietro Barisano 22, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

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  1. Anyone?

    We will also visit the Fasano area, where I have been once before, but I would love to hear recommendations for around there as well. I have the SlowFood guide and have printed out all the relevant selections..just hoping to hear personal recommendations...

    Also, how easy will it be for me to find Senise peppers in Matera? These dried Basicilata wonders are the star of one of my favorite pasta dishes and I have not been able to make this this year due to lack of supply here in NY.

    13 Replies
    1. re: erica

      Hi erica, my favorite place for a meal in Matera is Le Lucanerie. I actually didnt have an outstanding meal the last time i was at le botteghe but a few years back had a pretty good meal there.

      You should also check out Pane & Pace (an excellent bakery-http://www.paneepace.it/) next to Le Lucanerie. They have outstanding durum wheat bread and their focaccia by the slice is amazing.

      One of the best things about Matera's food is actually the market, which is located in the new city, above the Sassi. There are lots of great things to look at and you should be able to find the peppers you are looking for there.

      -----
      Lucanerie
      via Santo Stefano 61, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

      1. re: erica

        Can't recommend any particular trattoria, but do visit the sapori dei sassi store to find great products, including the pepperoni cruschi, and try to get a baking demo of the dop pane del matera, a unique bread, made with local grain, sourdough, crusty and very tasty!

        1. re: vinoroma

          Mille grazie to both of you!

          Katie: I have been reading your blog, and your posts here, with mounting excitement. I plan to spend a morning at the food market in Matera, and will also check out Vino's recommendation of the Sapori dei Sassi store, as it looks quite incredible! I may have to bring an extra suitcase!

          http://www.saporideisassi.it/

          You are giving me pause about Le Botteghe! Any specific comments, or just disappointing?
          I had it on my list as they are the source of that Saveur recipe that I have had such success with at home:

          http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/630287

          The route to Matera from our masseria hotel near Montegrosso (Lama di Luna) takes us near Altamura, so I thought about stopping at Di Gesu to pick up some bready treats:

          http://www.digesu.it/home.htm

          -----
          Le Botteghe
          piazza San Pietro Barisano 22, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

          1. re: erica

            Erica, my Italian teacher who is from Potenza, says that the dried Senise (sweet) peppers should be available in Matera, they are a common ingredient available year round in the region. So I will be interested in your report back. I am about to try Controne peppers which are also sweet for that recipe but they cost $8 a pack at Coluccios. She said the recommended sub of guajillo or pasilla peppers in the Saveur recipe is ok, but the peppers are spicy which changes the dish.

            I hope you will try Le Botteghe and add your own data point! Maybe katie just hit them on an off time.

            Did you look into taking the Train from Puglia to Matera? that looked like an intriguing option.

            -----
            Le Botteghe
            piazza San Pietro Barisano 22, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

            1. re: jen kalb

              Jen: So you are learning italian--how fantastic!

              I became a bit worried (about the peppers) when I noticed on their website that Sapori dei Sassi seems to be almost out of the peppers; I thought perhaps they might be difficult to find in spring since it has been many months since they have been harvested.

              DiPalo had them for about two-three years, first year they sold them by weight, but the next sold them only in packs like you mention, at about the same $$ price. This year one of the owners told me that he had problems with the suppliers in Basilicata and they never received the shipment. So I could not make the dish this winter. I will be very interested to hear of your experience with the Controne peppers. I think the original recipe uses fine bread crumbs, but I like mine very coarse, fried in oil first and then mixed into the dish along with the crushed peppers. I seem to have a developed a mild fixation with this dish.

              We opted to rent a car in Bari; will be sure to report in great detail about everything! Leaving at the end of the month, so still time to discuss...

              1. re: erica

                I looked for the Senise peppers in Brooklyn all through the fall and winter but none of the italian stores seemed to carry them. See how provincial I am - I am not a Di Palo regular.

                the controne peppers at $7-8 for one packet so it would not be an everyday item for us.

                Believe me, its an informal class and not much is sticking. Its hard to become a speaker of a language at an advanced age. teacher said the peppers are a year round, everyday ingredient, people grow them etc. they should be in the market, so you will put that to the test! good luck!

            2. re: erica

              erica, i hope you saw the bread and pasta making posts from matera. that was such a great trip.

              re: le botteghe, it may very well have been on off time. food was bland, not the tasty food i remembered/expected. the good news is, pasta with peperoni cruschi is on every menu in matera so you can try it at different spots and report back:)

              1. re: katieparla

                Thanks, Katie! I did see those great pasta and bread threads! I am going to take a page from Jen Kalb's book and try to bring home at least one loaf of bread. Last trip I brought home several bags of friselle (chunks of dried bread) with peperoncino; these last for many weeks, if not months.

                I will inquire further about Le Botteghe and perhaps switch the booking. Another SlowFood is Il Cantuccio but I am sure there are many options!

                1. re: erica

                  don't know il cantuccio, but i can strongly recommend Le Lucanerie:) enjoy and DO bring back some bread!

                  -----
                  Lucanerie
                  via Santo Stefano 61, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

          2. re: erica

            Erica, did you go?
            did you see this piece about Matera dining
            http://www.dissapore.com/mangiare-fuo...

            1. re: jen kalb

              Jen: Many thanks! Yes, I did go, and I did enjoy--to the nth degree! Not only that, but I brought bought bread in Altamura, consumed it rather too quickly, and on my last day in Matera I bought a loaf of pane di Matera which now sits in my kitchen in a cloth bag, as instructed by the baker at Pane e Pace, the "Antica Forno a Legno di Lucia Perrone," detailed by Katie on her blog. (NOTE: Open for sales only in the mornings). I will detail all as soon as I get back to "normal" at home...but one thing is for certain: You must get to Puglia and Matera!

              http://www.paneepace.it/test/panemate...

              1. re: erica

                Erica-
                We're visiting this part of Italy next month so I'm anxious to read your recommendations.
                Unfortunately our visiting days for Matera are a Monday and Tuesday. I hope this doesn't affect our options for dining to too great a degree.

                1. re: Oakland Barb

                  Barb: You should be fine on those two days (I just checked my Slowfood book to make sure). We had two dinners in Matera: One at Botteghe and one at Lucanerie. I will get to the reports this week but suffice to say that Matera is a great food town and one of the most interesting and beautiful cities I've visited in Italy.

                  -----
                  Lucanerie
                  via Santo Stefano 61, Matera, Basilicata 75100, IT

          3. I am serching all the U.s for The pepperoni cruschi I am CRAVING IT! We were in Matera and ate some of the best food I have EVER had in my life..but we should have brought home a TON of the crushi!!!! We have to go back to get them.They are difficult to find here. really frustrating.
            We had the saveur magazine from May 2009 with us with the big article on Matera and used it evryday..was a excellent guide. We ate at Le Lucanerie...UNFORGETABLE..I'' post if I find any cruschi's out there!

            13 Replies
              1. re: erica

                When I go back to matera one day I am going to bring lots of it back...it seems soo far away and the cruschi are so hard to find. I own a Kitch bed and bath snd I sell food in my store so I am a trying to find a distributer of them. I am trying to communicate with a distributer in Denver. Did you bring some back with you from Italy? Did you go to Castrovillari while you were in the area? We went there to eat at one of Mario Batali's recomendations on "The best Resturant in Southern Italy" It really was unforgetable, but so was food in Matera. I'll let you know what I find.

                1. re: teresacesario

                  Yes, Teresa, I did bring back quite a lot of peppers, but not enough as I should have.

                  I assume you are talking about Locanda d'Alia and I am very interested in your experience there, as I will be returning to Italy to begin a trip in Calabria and have planned the route around that restaurant. Did you stay there, or just eat? We are planning only a lunch stop as time is limited but I would appreciate it greatly if you would give some details of your experience there. Would love to hear more details of that trip that you took--where else did you travel?

                  The retailer in my city (New York) had a lot of difficulty bringing in the peppers last winter; he told me that the suppliers did not complete the proper paperwork and the shipment was held up in customs. I believe that they may also be for sale at a shop in Brooklyn but neither of those will help you. I would be most interested in you can work out some kind of distribution here in the US.

                  1. re: erica

                    Hi Erica
                    We drove all over Calabria. Trip of a lifetime to see grandparent's 4 towns. When I get home from work today I will let you know about the towns that we visited etc.
                    I have been talking to my husband the past 2 days about going to the chili festival in Diamante..spelling may be off on that town. Also will let you know when I find the chilis to sell!

                    1. re: teresacesario

                      Great--please let us know all details! I, too, have read about that festival! I will be in the area in September, but not with companions who have much interest in food, alas!

                      1. re: erica

                        We flew to Rome, drove to Sorrento for a couple of nights. On to Maratea..if you are going to Maratea you must eat at Antiche Sofias in the town square...mom and pop resturanrt. never forget that food. Stayed at LaLocanda delle Donne Manache, a old convent..nice..LOVED, loved Maratea.
                        On to Cozenza area to 1st G.P town of San Fili, very tiny
                        On to Figline Vegliaturo 2nd G.P town in Cozenza..lots of figs at right time of year
                        On to Decollatura 3rd G.P town in Cozenza....This whole area was stunning
                        Then down further to Catanzaro..we went there because the female that owns the B&B there(ElCedro) along with her Italian husband, is from Texas and I look at her website alot..Very helpful it's called My bella vita and her name is Cherrye Moore.
                        I did not care for Catanzaro..but it was great to meet Cherrye and hear some english. The Sila National Park in theat area was So incredibly beautiful. Cheryre is offering a food tour through Calabria in OCT. which I hate to miss but cant make it
                        onward toSan Giovanni in Fiore..3rd G.P town..it was Ok
                        THEN to Castrovillari!!! Yea! Mario Batali's always right..We stayed at the La Locandadi Alia 2 nights..the rooms were O.K...hard beds all over Italy..but we did eat in the Rest. that night.. yes, it was a meal I shall never forget...ever!
                        when we were leaving the next day I saw one of the chefs pulling up in the parking lot and I almost cried and wanted to hug him..HA! how silly....
                        It was May 9th and not alot of people around...we may have been the only ones!
                        Then over to Matera. who can ever FORGET Matera..stayed at Sant' Angelo..ate at Lucernie...where we brought back 2 BAGS OF CRUSCHI...ONLY 2!!
                        Then onto Rome flew back to Colorado.
                        I found the biggest help to be Cherrye's site MyBellaVita and Mario Batali's website has a lot of wonderful ideas.
                        When I was in NY this Feb. for my store I loved visiting Eataly.wow
                        If I find my source for cruschi I'll post and let you know.
                        You said that you will be returning to Calabria in Sept?

                        1. re: teresacesario

                          I see that www.broders.com has the peppers in stock. but it seems to be a very small bag...7 oz
                          and the bag that I brought back is 141 oz....maybe the same size. I'm not sure
                          First i will see if my distributer comes thru from Denver.

                          1. re: teresacesario

                            Teresa that is just wonderful information and will be very helpful to me. We plan to fly into Lamezia Terme, spend one night in Amantea (2 SlowFood restaurants in that coastal town), and then drive to Maratea, stopping for lunch at Locanda d'Alia. We have 3 nights in Maratea and are staying at the Donna Monache. I was a bit worried about Maratea being too resort-ey, so I am most happy to hear of your liking for the town, and about Antiche Sofias and will certainly plan to have at least one meal there.

                            From Maratea we head to the Cilento, where we have two nights each at either Palinuro or Pisciotta, and Castellabate. And from there, north to the Amalfi Coast area, where I have been before and about which I will start a new thread shortly before I go at the end of this summer. I only wish that we had more time to explore the Sila, Cosenza towns, etc, but there is only so much you can fit in, right!?

                            What is a G.P. town?

                            I just bought the book, My Calabria; have you seen it yet? Tried any recipes?

                            http://www.amazon.com/My-Calabria-Rus...

                            You probably saw this, but this is the account of the food we sampled on the most recent trip to Italy: 2 nights near Andria; 2 nights in Matera; 3 nights near Fasano, in Savelletri (repeat visit to the last place because we love the hotel there

                            )

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784394

                            I also wrote one after our first trip to Puglia; it is here someplace! I have fallen in love with the Italian south!

                            1. re: erica

                              Erica, I am not familiar with Slowfood but I'm going to start checking into it!
                              The GP towns are my husbands GrandParents towns. They are all hidden in the Consenza area and Sila..I loved the tiny HARD to find towns that they came over from..although I did not like San Giovanni in Fiore at all. But our day drive thru the Sila I'll never forget. The Donne Manache was hard for us to find because we were tired,(we had just driven the Amalfi) but I remember upon entering Maratea you drive past the town square maybe sightly uphill and it is hidden about a 1/4 mile up that road on the right..and the road was very narrow and my poor husband!!! but just a note..the neat stucco building on their site, next to a pool? That is not the Donne Manache..They just use that building for their photo.I thought the convent had such a odd scent to it...not bad, but different..the people were nice enough but kind of indifferent.....The pool belongs to the convent though. We did not eat dinner at the Donne because we were in Maratea for 2 nights and we could not tear ourselves from Antiche, THey spoke no english at Donne but it was'nt to difficult ..my husband speaks small amount spanish..
                              In Castrovillari, I thought the rooms at Alia were kinda strange..weird 80's lamps and ugly bedding, hard bed..but I own a bedding store..so. We were so exhuasted, we passed out. The owner gave us a espresso the morning we left and it was the BEST espresso I have EVER had..I hope their lunches are as great as there dinners.
                              We did not spend any time in the town..We were just there for the restaurant.
                              I did get the " My Calabria' cookbook. I made the Polenta beans and sausage...was good. I use Mario Batali BABBO cookbook quite a bit.
                              But tonight I am going to spend time looking at the towns that you are visiting also the food you wrote about..thats what I call a fun evening!!
                              What would you consider the biggest influence on where you visit in Calabria..Slowfood? anything else? Thanks!

                              -----
                              San Giovanni
                              Via San Giovanni, 36, Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna , IT

                              1. re: teresacesario

                                Hi again, TC!

                                Why did you not like San Giovanni?
                                Interesting about the Donna Monache website! We wanted a place with a pool, and that seemed to get good reports, so we booked for 3 nights. But I am reading some comments on Italian food sites that say that many restaurants in Maratea are overpriced and catering to tourists and that there is better eating in the towns further north along the coast. So I am very pleased that you gave such high marks to AS. I find no mention of it with a Google search; the name is definitely Antichi Sofia, right? Or could it be Antichi Sapori, which I did find...(??)

                                SlowFood is a food-dedicated organization that began in Italy but now has branches in many countries including Spain and the US. (Including a few in Colorado!) They work to protect foods that are in danger of extinction; here is the list for italy:

                                http://www.presidislowfood.it/pdf/ita...

                                This explains the organization much better than I can:

                                http://www.slowfood.com/international...

                                They also offer a selection of books on eating places and agriturismi in Italy; the books are in Italian but there was one published in English a few years ago that you might be able to find used. So I use that as a food guide; they have price guidelines and focus mostly on places serving traditional fare.

                                Here is the website; you can find the restaurants here:
                                http://www.slowfood.it/

                                As far as Calabria, we only have time for a small piece since the focus of this particular trip will be the Cilento and Amalfi areas. But I was so interested in Calabria that I convinced my friends to fly into Lamezia so we could have at least a peek at part of the region and thus will spend night in Amantea, which I've heard is a pleasant town. But I hope to return before too long so I can visit the areas you mention, and return to Basilicata.

                                I love the Molto Italiano book; I think I use it more than any other cookbook!

                                You must come to New York and visit his new venture, Eataly! In fact, I will ask them about importing the peppers next time I visit:

                                http://eatalyny.com/

                                1. re: erica

                                  San Giovanni in Fiore was a very noisy dirty town. The only hotel in town that we had the energy to find was Deanno's..it was disgusting with car horns blowing all night. I think that town has nothing to do but have horn blowing wars.
                                  I did buy some great red shoes there.
                                  We ate in a huge gym with bright floresent lights and a kid's birthday party going on..strange.We weren't sure if it was just a gym with a kids party or a restaurant but we sat down andthey brought a menu and the ravioli came from somewhere....... But it was pretty good. Was just rewarding to be in the G.parents town and see his last name everywhere.
                                  You are right about the Sapori name in Maratera. Since we did not eat anywhere else in Maratea, I can't comment on that. We thought Antichi Sapori was the real deal
                                  The pool at Donne was really great. We really enjoyed that and the breakfast buffet was REALLY wonderful.
                                  I visited Eatly in Ny this past Feb. I was there for the GIft and Home show. We flew in between all of the snow storms. I loved being in Eataly and bought some Villa Mandori Red Cherry Balsamic Vinager. We had pizza and wine for lunch there. I was sad that he did not sell the chrusci! I mean really Mario??
                                  What a great store it is.
                                  Thank you for the slowfood information..since going to Calabria we are very intersted in the agriturismi so that we avoid gross hotels
                                  I'm going to order the Molto Italiano book!
                                  Also thank you for your other threads..they will be SOO helpful when we travel to Italy again.

                                  -----
                                  Antichi Sapori
                                  Strada Montanara, 318, Parma, Emilia-Romagna , IT

                                  San Giovanni
                                  Via San Giovanni, 36, Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna , IT

                                  1. re: erica

                                    The spelling was wrong on my Eataly vinegar..It is the VILLA MANODORI DARK CHERRY vinager. A treasure!

                                    My Denver connection for wholesale Cruschi says that his connection is on vacation for another week..really????? so frustrating.

                                    Broders.com has the cruschi in stock..but it is a 20g bag for $8.

                                    20g bag has only about 2 peppers in it! grrrrrr

                                    1. re: teresacesario

                                      Thanks again, Teresa! I actually posted here regarding another type of "cherry balsamic" that I stored wrong and as a result the cork dried up and broke and the contents dried up quite a bit. So use my experience as a lesson if yours has a cork!

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785742

                                      I just want to thank you again for all the information. Let us know how the cruschi search goes! And I promise to report back after my trip in late September!