I had wanted to go there for a while now and in the end we managed to do so: Cibus Resataurant in Ceglie Messapica. So, after lots of advice from various people and some articles I read on specialised magazines and guides, me and a group of friends decided to go and eat at the Cibus, a restaurant that I can tell you now is an absolute must, 100 per cent guaranteed!
It’s in the historic centre of the town of Ceglie Messapica in the Valle d’Itria just before Salento in Puglia. It is a restaurant that mixes the tradition of the real Puglia cuisine with a modern touch. A restaurant that welcomes you and puts you at your ease with its local furniture, books to leaf through and excellent friendliness of the staff. This is what we ordered for lunch, I’ll make a list. We started with an hors d’oeuvre of different courses: small ricotta with toasted almonds, wheat salad, stracciatella with truffles, small omelettes, carpaccio with mushrooms, caciocavallo podolico, black olives, bread and I’m sure I’m missing something. Feast your eyes on this set of photos.
As a first course, we ordered some sagnapente with strong ricotta, fried breadcrumbs and ragù that I later discovered Luciano Pignataro, one of the most influential food & wine bloggers in Italy, wrote about it saying: the “sagna penta is the result of a deconstruction of the traditional Pentecost lasagne in which meat is substituted, for religious reasons, with breadcrumbs fried with garlic and lard”. In the following photos there is the sagnapente and another dish based on orecchiette.
All this accompanied by a IGT Salento Red Oltremè, 100% Susumaniello from the Rubino Winery. It’s a wine produced in the Brindisi area, I even went to see the vineyards some time ago near the Adriatic Sea, fantastic! You can see some of my pictures here.
And, speaking about wine it’s how we get to know Angela and Angelo, the owners of the Cibus, who are extremely available to talk with us about typical products, local tradition and of the outlook on the food farming sector. So much so that they let us see their underground cellar, a magical place in my opinion, full of vintage bottles, bottles of quality and historic bottles. My attention is drawn to the “Patriglione”, one of the first important bottles of Puglia produced in my town of origin, Guagnano, by the Taurino Winery. In other words, history, emotions.
We finish off with a coffee accompanied by the Biscotto di Ceglie Messapica (the Ceglie Messapica biscuit) a culinary gem that is also a Slow Food Presidia. I advise the restaurant if you are in the Valle d’Itria on your Puglia holidays. And also the countryside here is simply … marvellous, losing yourselves among all the century old olive trees will be very enjoyable.
Via Chianche di Scarano, 7
72013 Ceglie Messapica (BR)