Capocollo is a meat speciality from Martina Franca. Capocollo is the southern Italian version of the dry-salted and usually very thinly sliced pork coppa from northern Italy. For capocollo, one processes the neck and shoulder muscles of pigs from the hilly Murgia area, located around the Valle d’Itria. Primarily in the towns of Martina Franca, Cisternino and Locorondo, butchers prepare capocollo.

Another local meat speciality are bombette. These are meat rolls made from the raw (unprocessed) capocollo. A thin slice of pancetta, caciocavallo cheese and chopped parsley is placed on a thin slice of the pork. One rolls them into 5-6 cm balls and sticks them on a stick. This street food saw a rise from the 1960s. Several butcher shops in Itria Valley towns also sell them hot to customers. Grilled and served with a glass of local red wine, it is the perfect snack for those who love meat. Especially in towns like Martina Franca, Alberobello and Cisternino, you will find plenty of such butcher-restaurants. Bombetta literally means little bomb because it explodes in your mouth with a taste of melted cheese and cured ham. During village festivals and fairs in Puglia, bombette are a common snack. They are usually served in a cone or on cardboard, accompanied by a slice of bread.

Meanwhile, I have walked 800 metres further out of the old city centre to the Corso Dei Mille. Here, I want to lose myself in the smells of fresh meat visibly roasted in masterful fashion. At Emilio Fumarola’s Antica Macelleria (or old butcher’s shop), I sample the bombette along with a glass of primitivo. Salute!

Address: Antica Macelleria Di Fumarola Emilio, Corso Dei Mille 20, Martina Franca.