Just like every time our English-language blogger visits the winery, he asks to be taken for a puccia — Salento’s famous “anything goes” sandwich (above).
Across the city of Lecce, you can find sandwich shops that serve just one type of sandwich: The puccia (pronounced POO-chah), a made-on-the-spur-of-the-moment flatbread that can be stuffed with a wide variety of ingredients.
Similar to a pita (but not quite as thick and as chewy), the puccia isn’t limited to traditional ingredients when it comes to the filling. And this is one of the things that makes it so much fun to eat and share with friends.
The name is believed to have been derived from pucciu (POO-choo), Brindisi dialect for puffy or fluffy.
Legend has it that the puccia was born in the 1970s when a pizzamaker and owner of a popular Lecce pizzeria co-opted his aunts’ method for using up leftover bread dough.
Every puccia shop has a wide variety of fillings. And as Paolo Cantele likes to point out, the thing that makes it a puccia is the seemingly arbitrary combination of fillings you decide to use.
It’s one of Lecce’s most popular culinary traditions. And the best part is that even though it’s technically a “fast food,” it’s still a relatively wholesome dish.
When our blogger visited Lecce last month, Paolo treated him to a puccia filled with ham (prosciutto cotto), Olivier salad (insalata russa or Russian salad in Italian), lettuces, flat-leaf parsley, and a slice of fontina cheese.
100 percent delicious!