Several guide books to Southern Italy mention a Puglian speciality called Burrata – a mozzarella type cheese with a creamy centre – and, never having heard of it, far less tried it, I was on a mission to find it.
The cheese shop near our hotel in Alberobello did sell Burrata but whenever I went there, I was either too early for the mid morning delivery or too late in the afternoon to get any.
At last I found it in that beautiful city of Ostuni in a small salumeria situated in one of the charming side streets off the main square. Five others from our group were with me and the owner of the shop kindly cut two of the cheeses (they are egg-sized) into pieces and put them on a plate with a knife and fork. Encouraged by his interest we all ordered our lunchtime panini from him. This time the rolls were soft and had olives baked into the centre.
Although it was only 12.15 we sat outside on some steps in the warm spring sunshine and sampled the cheese, which was very mild in flavour with a centre which resembled cottage cheese. One of the group had some raw salad vegetables, another had some strawberries and another popped back into the shop and emerged with a bottle of rose wine and some plastic cups.
We shared this feast and all agreed it had been a delightful picnic, made more enjoyable because it had been so unexpected. Dessert was an ice cream from one of the gelateria in the square and the owner moved his tables and chairs outside so that we could continue to sit in the sun.