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Fond memories of a childhood spent in Puglia

and a passion for cooking are the twin inspirations for this menu. Giuseppe DiMola, a native of the region, attended culinary school near the small seaside town of Monopoli where he grew up. Giuseppe's talent eventually led him to America but not before he perfected his skills in a variety of kitchens throughout Italy and Germany. But even after more than 30 years of experience in the kitchen, Giuseppe has never forgotten his initial inspiration for becoming a chef. Many of the dishes on tonight's menu were inspired by long-held traditional family recipes.

"I thought of my grandmother, her recipes, and growing up in Puglia when we created this menu" Giuseppe explains. "My grandmother made sure to utilize all of the fresh ingredients in our town – seafood caught in the morning, grapes and olives picked that day, and beans, tomatoes and vegetables my mother would select from the local market."

Giuseppe says: "I've incorporated a few of my 'family secrets,' so you can enjoy food more similar to the food I grew up with than typically found in Italian restaurants here in the United States. From Puglia via Il Fornaio, Italian food doesn't get more authentic than this."
Buon Appetito!
Olives, bread and wine are the three pillars of the Apulian diet. Each province of Puglia has developed its own style of cooking, but there are many similarities: pleasant spirit, subtle seasonings and traditional dishes inspired by an ancient civilization. You’ll find those subtle seasonings mark the dishes, accented with potatoes, asparagus, beans and tomatoes.

Olive cultivation is one of the most important aspects of the Apulian economy. The olive oil produced here is usually extra-virgin and non-filtered, obtained by just squeezing fresh olives plucked at a particular time in their ripening to give them an unmistakable taste. Coratina della Puglia and Ogliarola di Bari are the main types of olives.

The Penne (“tube” shaped) and Orecchiette ("little ear" shaped) pastas found on tonight's menu are artisan pastas imported from Puglia exclusively for Il Fornaio. Commonly found in the region, they are created using traditional methods without the use of industrial processes, enhancing the quality and flavor.

Thanks to its variety of landscapes and richness of historical and artistic heritage, Puglia can be considered as sort of a "little Italy," as it incorporates a wide variety of foods for its cuisine.