Mercatino del Gusto – a town full of taste in Italy

Mercatino del Gusto. If ever a festival was an easy sell, this is it. It’s in southern Italy, which is famous for it’s food. And it’s a food festival.

Need I go on? I will, just in case you need details to book your trip on the spot.

The lovely town of Maglie in Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, is taken over every year by producers and sellers of the best Italian food and drink in the region.

Puglia Mercatino del Gusto Food Festival-2

The cheesemakers bring cheeses. (Oh, the cheeses.) The butchers bring meats. The wine producers bring wine, and their best sommeliers too. Pizza experts make pizza, chefs cook pasta and street foods, every other type of producer brings their best products, and then they all want you to try them for free. Well, mostly.

Access to the wine tasting square was €10 for 8 small glasses of whichever labels you prefer. The ‘wine passion’ experience was a little pricier, €15 I think, to try the absolute top of the range wines and accompaniements. Ordering full portions of food meant needing to pay. But you can taste as much cheese, bread, olive oil, meats, vegetables, sweets and other delicacies as much as you like – only needing to pay if you wanted to take some away.

Puglia Mercatino del Gusto Food Festival-3

The soft, delicate, amazing cheese invention that is Fagattino. Mozzarella cheese stuffed with fresh Ricotta – see the video for more.

There are also dining experiences, which need to be booked in advance but offer a lot of value for the number of courses and the foods offered. The street food square was full of people buying their snack of choice, as well as including the Via della Birra – ‘Beer street’.

Tasting highlights for me were the delicate cheese invention ‘Fagattino’ – fresh ricotta bound inside a springy mozzarella wrapping, and the dried Gargano goat meat, which the spritely octogenarian producer assured me is good for virility. I took his word for it and filled up.

But there were so many more treats. Enjoy the video I made, you’ll see!

The town of Maglie is quite charming too, and the region – well, it’s immensely popular in summer among Italians, Germans and a few others, for very good reason… See more of it in my other video also from Puglia, in a post about jazz festival Locus in Locorotondo.

Puglia Mercatino del Gusto Food Festival-1

They don’t call Puglia ‘the Maldives of Europe’ for nothing…

Peter Parkorr