It is called L’Orecchietta the local of Ercole Santarella in Candela, like the queen among the Apulian pastas, that small concave disc obtained with the pressure of a simple knife. That, as he himself tells us, his mother Chiara was preparing herself some time ago. And now that she’s gone the name has remained in memory and in homage of the a lot of pasta she spread out on the board and served in the restaurant that has a warm and welcoming home.
Restorant-museum in Candela
As soon as you arrive you are greeted by a collection of objects and relics that tell the ancient local traditions both in agriculture and in the culinary: large potted jugs, antique benches, pots and various kitchen tools. In fact, the L’Orecchietta Restaurant has been the one and only and only “restaurant-museum” in the province of Foggia for over 30 years.
Located a few hundred meters from the exit of the toll booth, if today is a convenient glimpse, in the past nearby was hosted by Orazio during his trip to Puglia and was particularly impressed by the food eaten and above all by bread.
Bread that is still very good here and is prepared daily to be served on cheerful white and red squares together with the traditional dishes of the Monti Dauni that Ercole and his wife Lucia offer to their loyal customers and that they should be honored with a strong appetite.
Since the starters able to tell the territory, from the Tavoliere to the Monti Dauni, there is the firm desire to enhance the raw materials, flavors and aromas of the surrounding nature. The whole fragrance of bread and organic extra virgin olive oil of its own production is enhanced by the bruschetta with tomatoes and rocket that “opens the stomach” to substantial first courses with fresh homemade pasta.
On suggestion of the jovial and friendly landlord we wanted to try two first courses that go back in time rediscovering lost flavors: ravioli with sheep’s milk ricotta and walnuts with manteca butter, that is, the stuffing of the flask of milk-curd cheese of cow.
And maltagliati with wild fennel and cherry tomatoes that represent the synthesis of the restorative activity of Ercole and its restaurant: combining home-made pasta with what spontaneously offers the surrounding territory, from wild fennel to chicory, from borage to rocket, from thyme to thistle, from marasciuolo to wild mustard, from wild asparagus to nettle and the many other herbs that are born and grow in the countryside of Candela.
Among the second plates we chose the roast suckling pig and the lamb with potatoes and lampascioni, two classics of the local gastronomic tradition. But we could not give up the greedy proposal of Hercules: taste a thick slice of podolico caciocavallo to the plate that a little ‘as do the French we have tasted instead of dessert.
While with coffee the classic dried almond sweets arrived at the table, excellent closing of a meal that spoke to us of family and tradition.
In the large stone house you can breathe the atmosphere of the Apulian houses with childhood memories, the copper pots hanging on the walls and the black and white photos to remember the past that continues to live in the kitchen of Ercole and Lucia. For those who want to continue to live this enveloping dimension, L’Orecchietta is also a very comfortable and welcoming hotel that offers to the “travelers” eleven rooms, 2 of which are equipped for the disabled.
All rooms are equipped with bathroom, air conditioning, TV and telephone and are also open to our four-legged friends.
The Albergo Ristorante L’Orecchietta is also a starting point for horseback riding that goes well with the natural trails of the surrounding area. And we at Città Meridiane expect to return soon in these parts on the occasion of a trek that traces part of that Tratturo Regio that for centuries has been the path of transhumance from the Abruzzo Mountains to the Tavoliere delle Puglie and back, crossing four regions.
Albergo Ristorante l’Orecchietta
Sp. 98 Km 0,400 (a 400 metri dal casello autostradale A16) – Candela (Foggia)
Info: +39 0885 653877 – Ercole +39 338 4974909 – firstname.lastname@example.org