Cultural Tip: Writer about Puglia’s Raw Fish Tradition

Every now and then we’re inviting “artists in residence” to stay with us for a few days or weeks, exchance cultural experiences and watch them working on special pieces. Or, in this case, inspire them go new ways, try new things, even beyond their personal comfort zone. Stefan Maiwald, german writer, who lives between Munich, Grado and Braunschweig, wrote a few chapters of his new novel, “Meine Suche nach der besten Pasta der Welt” (engl: My research for the best pasta in the world) at Masseria Torre Coccaro. It wasn’t too hard of a job, he actually seemed to quite like the idea of his new work & life balance between golf course (Maizza) and computer, swimming pool and notebook.

One evening he got to his personal extremes though: We took him to eat raw seafood at Bella Bari (Via Roberto da Bari 141, Bari). We knew he liked sushi. But he didn’t know how raw raw fish could actually be… What he experienced among friends of ours and a whole restaurant full of Bari people, most of them “crudo” lovers, he describes in his chapter “Puglia – Can you please bury me there?”

“It started off with ricci di mare, raw eggs of the sea urchin in a sea urchin shell. Sea urchin tastes like chewing on deep-sea fish, raw, bad tempered deep-sea fish though (…) Luckily we were offered bread to dip the stuff, but the basket was emptied pretty soon (…) Finally the waiter served a plate full of fresh scampis and shrimps. That seemed to be quite something! That’s sushi, I said to myself, just without the rice. How fresh they were? So fresh that they were still twitching, even though  they had ripped off the quinine shell around their tail.  They actually seemed, even though already skinned, very lively…”

To cut a long story short: Maiwald became a friend who keeps coming back to Coccaro and asking for a repetition: He actually learned to love things like ricci di mare and knows now that the moving, shivering and twitching of freshly caught seafood is an indicator of fresh- and crispiness. We’re expecting Maiwald back in a few days’ time. Don’t worry, Stefan, we’ve already made a reservation Bella Bari. They’re expecting you.

  • silvestro silvestori

    You say ‘pugliese’ but aside from urchins, it’s really something you see only in the barese. I love it, but here in the Salento, it might as well be France.
    Silvestro Silvestori

    • masseriatorrecoccaro

      Ciao Silvestro, thanks for your comment! Should be nice to keep on exchanging experiences on Puglia/Salento/Bari etc. cooking. Complimenti for your homepage! I think cooking schools are one of the best and most authentic ways to discover a new culture, we’re offering them in the masserias as well. Stay tuned and continue to let us know what you think of our “voices from the salento”! Tanti cari saluti, Katja