In Apricena, right in the center and in front of the town hall, not far from the Baronial Palace and the pedestrian artery that acts as a hinge to the city, there is the Trattoria da Nonna Peppina that already in the name evokes the flavors and aromas of tradition, the one that Mariagrazia Ferrandino learned from her mother, the grandmother from whom the restaurant takes its name.
Welcomed by Mariagrazia and Michele
A harvest dehors welcomes outside, while in the interiors, formed by pretty little rooms that open one inside the other, reigns a beautiful and authentic atmosphere, between the fireplace in the corner, the barrel vaults and the wood of tables and chairs.
The welcome in the dining room of Michele Falcone, Mariagrazia’s son, is also informal and affectionate, and immediately puts at ease both regular customers and those who are just passing through.
While in the kitchen she is the undisputed queen who does not allow anyone to approach the kitchen where she prepares her dishes in which you find the excellent quality of local raw materials together with a philological recovery of a familiar culinary knowledge.
But it would be simplistic to think of the proposals of the Trattoria da Nonna Peppina as dishes associated exclusively with the local food habits because it does not lack elegance and also a certain lightness even when the simple and robust ingredients of the territory are used.
Starting from the brilliant idea of serving as a starter a classic such as the acquasale or cialledda prepared with stale bread, a variety of typical Daunia cucumber called pelosello, red onion, tomato, salt, oregano, homemade zucchini preserves and the touch of tomato granita, which gives momentum and freshness to the whole.
Tradition reinterpreted with a creative spirit also for the green cut chard – which as Michele explains – is much sweeter than the classic and with a rib similar to that of chicory, which is boiled and cooked half-cooked and pan-fried with oil, garlic and chilli together with olives cured in sea water from the Piano farm on a delicate cream of Zapponeta potatoes and leek.
The appropriate wine making choice is managed with competence by Michele who from the careful selection of niche wineries and natural labels offers us the Moscato Bianco Dammisole of 2018 by D’Alfonso Del Sordo, a wine that we appreciated not only on the entrees but also on the delicate and delicious ravioli stuffed with burrata with scorpion fish sauce.
While on the cavatello with three fingers, so called because it was “extracted” with the pressure of the index, middle and ring fingers, we are served a Castel del Monte Rosato from Bombino Nero from 2018 of the company Giancarlo Ceci, a wine from the good acidity that harmonizes perfectly with the ingredients of a dish that Michele defines as the Essence of the Gargano. In fact the fresh pasta is seasoned with confit cherry tomatoes, crumbled tarallo with fennel, flakes of almonds from San Giovanni Rotondo, oregano of Sannicandro and femminello lemon rind of Rodi Garganico.
The valid wine scene is accompanied by the assortment of strictly local oils by Peranzana olives that we cannot help but taste on a piece of bread.
And to confirm the authenticity of the line chosen for the flavors offered, a gastronomic peculiarity of the area appears immediately afterwards at the table: the Selection of Carni Michele Sabatino muscisca with friggitelli, the dried meat typical of shepherds during the transhumance on a bed of sweet fried green peppers, skilfully balanced by the sweetness of the burrata of the Deliziosa di Noci company and by a handful of tender shoots.
It continues with the succulent black pig: it is the real, the cut between the head and the side, a very precious part that is spiced with the same aromas used for the roast pork, then cooked whole in the oven and sautéed in a pan with honey chestnut, crispy bacon and fennel cream with pink pepper.
It closes with vanilla ice cream mixed with cooked grape must accompanied by a dessert of the past made with San Donato wheat cooked in the grape must. Intrigued, we asked for the origin of the name and Mariagrazia and Michele explained to us in unison that it is so called because it was done on August 7, the day on which San Donato is celebrated, to thank for the harvest. From there it remained the name for this type of soft wheat.
Lunch is over and it’s time to have a chat. Mariagrazia does not avoid our questions to which she responds by alternating with Michele. And she tells.
The Trattoria Da Nonna Peppina was born in 2013 as a result of a passion but also of a certain unconsciousness. Mariagrazia worked for many years in a delicatessen and knows the local gastronomic tradition well. In addition she loves to cook and since childhood she has helped mom Peppina in the kitchen, from which she inherited recipes and secrets and who wanted to pay homage to her by dedicating the trattoria.
But it is thanks to her son Michele that she decides to put into practice what she knows and wants to do: prepare food for an audience that is larger than her home. An audience that has immediately appreciated her veracious and tasty proposals, dedicated to the raw materials and food traditions of the territory, but with a touch of refined panache. In a place where everyone can feel at home and where Mariagrazia and Michele are able to create an atmosphere of serene conviviality.
Trattoria da Nonna Peppina
Corso Generale Torelli, 90 – Apricena (Fg)
+39 0882 643150 – +39 348 4095984