Our primary reason for visiting Andria was to try the local foods and learn more about their production. We didn't want to stay in a big, touristy masseria and were hoping for a smaller-scale version with a more authentic experience. Our visit with Giuseppe and Cristina was everything we could possibly have wanted.
We made the initial reservation online, and Giuseppe and Cristina's son, Antonio, emailed me to follow up. (Antonio is fluent in English, which was a great help because our Italian is so limited.) Antonio was very friendly and accomodating. Although they generally require a small deposit to hold the room, after we had a little difficulty with the bank transfer, Antonio kindly offered to hold the room without charge.
Next, the family was extremely thoughtful in planning for our visit and accomodating our particular interests. When I submitted my online reservation request, I had indicated that we were hoping to visit a cheese farm and to see olive oil being made, and I asked if they had recommendations. Because of the masserias and agiturismo in the area, I had assumed that they would be used to this kind of request. I later learned that they were not in the habit of taking guests to see cheese being produced, and yet, on our behalf, they went out of their way and asked farmers in the area and arranged a special visit just for the two of us.
And, despite the very early hour, at 4 in the morning on the second day of our visit, Giuseppe was kind enough to get up and drive us to a small farm, where, at the crack of dawn, we had the pleasure to watch the slow production of ricotta by a father and his sons. It was an unbelievable experience, and we felt so lucky to be there. (We never did see the olive oil being made; Antonio was candid and kind enough to politely educate me on the fact that May is not the season for olive oil production.)
As for the visit to Cristina and Guiseppe's house, the food and the hospitality were outstanding. When we arrived, we were a little later than we had planned. We felt badly to keep Cristina and Giuseppe waiting, but they greeted us warmly. While Cristina prepared a dinner, Giuseppe took us on a short tour of the farm. As we walked, he pointed out the various herbs and fruits that were growing, and encouraged us to try them all. The variety of fruits was delightful and even included one I'd never had before. Giuseppe told us a bit about the history of the farm and then gave us a little time to walk around by ourselves and soak in the air. Because it was springtime, the surrounding fields were filled with red and yellow wildflowers. The farm looked especially beautiful as the sun was setting. I imagine that the area is gorgeous all year, but if you have the chance to visit in springtime, I recommend it.
And then dinner--dinner was wonderful. The ricotta was amazing. The burrata was sublime. The orrechiette con pomodoro was simply perfect. Breakfast the next morning (after our visit to the cheese farm) was also wonderful, though admittedly by that point we were feeling rather stuff. Before we left, Cristina packed us a bag of treats for our ride: fruits from the farm and her homemade ricotta cake.
We could not have asked for a more pleasant stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Poggio Tafuri is more than a bed & breakfast. It is a resort.A manor house dating back to nineteenth century, included into a fascinating masseria - the typical manor farm architecture in these lands - at the limits of the Alta Murgia Park, just a few kilometres from Del Monte Castle.Since ever, Tafuri is a place where people abandon their troubles and come to a compromise with a slower time. ... more less