The dinosaur site was just outside of the historic walled town of Altamura where we heard tales of their famous semolina bread with a meaty texture that could last for a month. I parked outside the arched port in the old town wall which I knew was close to one of the oldest panifico (bakeries) in Italy... the 500 year old Forno Antica. A direction from a passerby and a couple of minutes later and we found it... in a tiny piazza tucked into the alleys of the citta (city).
We entered the centuries old little panifico and met Vito, a mostached, bearded pirate of a baker with a robust personality. His oven was rustic and fed by olive tree logs. Huge loaves of chef hat shaped breads were all around. When I asked about the bread he suggested a tasting--una degustastione--of not just bread, but of all sorts of foreign delights. Dio mio! Are we about to have a lunch... and actually at lunchtime?!
He led us out to a single umbrella covered tavalo (table) where two other couples were already enjoying a feast. We sat, introduced ourselves and began one of the best meals we've had so far. The conversation ranged from English to French to Portugese to Italian. Lucas loved the experience and they all loved him. Then came the food. Bruschetta, pasta, crostini cheeses, wine carpaccio and the bread... that great bread. Lucas ate with gusto and was amazed when he learned later that the carpaccio he had was raw, marinated veal... and he liked it! It was obvious to all that Lucas was no typical MacDonalds American kid.
Afterwards we all took pictures, hugged like old friends and left with bread, full bellies and a great memory. THIS was exactly the kind of European experience I wanted to share with Lisa and Lucas....
Watch the video below which features Vito's bakery.
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