Puglia, or Apulia, is a trove of riches. Bisceglie is a city in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, on the Adriatic Sea, known for its olive oil production. The figures speak for themselves: 5,000ha of cultivated island, 2,144 oil factories, 13 table olive producers, 11 olive pressing sheds, an annual production of 45m kg, of which 7.65m extra-virgin. The cherry farming industry is also very strong, with over 1.9m kg, which accounts for 40% of the total annual production in the province.
The Consortium for the Protection and Popularisation of the Cherry and Typical Fruits of Bisceglie was created in 2003. In 2007, in Bisceglie the Cherries of Italy Consortium was founded. The Consortium also encompasses the Vignola Plum and Typical Fruits Consortium (Modena) and the Sant’Orsola Cooperative of Pergine (Trento). This cooperation guarantees a longer season for cherries, starting with Bisceglie early in May, continuing with Vignola from mid-May to mid-July and ending with Trentino in late August. Rich in minerals and vitamins, the cherry is hand-picked and sold during May and June.
Sospiro, a sigh in delight
Sospiro, meaning “sigh”, is a Bisceglie traditional sweet pastry whose origin is surrounded by a number of legends, the most widely accepted of which has it that on the occasion of the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia, the countess of Bisceglie, and Alfonso of Aragon in 1498, the Clarisses prepared small dome-shaped sponge cakes. The guests, tired of waiting for the bride to arrive, started eating the cakes, giving out a big sigh, hence the name. Other stories say that sospiro was invented by a romantic confectioner who was inspired by the shape of his lover’s breasts. Sospiro, whose recipe became a Slow Food Presidium in 2014, is a glazed sponge cake filled with cream and generously sprinkled with alkermes liqueur. The Sospiro di Bisceglie Pastry Chefs Consortium was established by 8 pastry chefs with the purpose of protecting the original recipe, guaranteeing the quality of this traditional pastry