It’s still a warm weather in September and for the first part of October. Autumn arrives late, and rapidly flows into Winter.
With the first cold and the first rains here are the fields covered by wild herbs, and in Murgia, the local mushrooms appear called cardoncelli, paparazzi (pine mushrooms),
We could have thousands of recipes for mushrooms with pasta, with rice, gratin, with potatoes, with lamb and sausages ….
It’s also the period of wild herbs that arrived with the first rains, herbs like wild chicories, wild fennels, wild rapini, that we eat with dry fava beans or stuffed with garlic and tomatoes, or with pasta, of course.
An impressive period: November when the olive oil is made. Walks are a wonderful idea in the nearby olive groves. We say: Olio nuovo e vino vecchio, but in the same period there is a feast for the new olive oil and a feast for the new wine. It is the period of St Martin day, the 11th of November:
The proverb say: San Martino, ogni mosto diventa vino (in St Martin day the grape juice become wine, the new wine is ready). Really, here every moment is a good one for a feast.
I always remember what my daddy said: when he was child it was really a feast when in the late November at his home in Bari, where he lived, arrived a little package from the Masseria with fresh fruit, because usually till that period the dessert for them was: walnuts, almonds, carrots, dry figs. When oranges arrived it was really a feast. And it was also the arrival of Winter, and Christmas.
The late Autumn is one of the best periods for those guests/students who appreciate to be far from tourism, when you can drink not only vino novello and have frittelle with l’olio nuovo or cavoli e fave alla trappetara, but you can drink the soul of this country: the locals are very busy in the olive oil mills, waiting for their own product, the olives, to be transformed in pure olive oil.
San Martino means the beginning of Winter fruits, as oranges and , tangerines, is the entrance of Christmas, means that two weeks later we begin to prepare presepe (the Nativity with terracotta little statues featuring the scenes of the mangers: Magi, shepherds, villages, taverns, markets. Kids and grandparents are the actors of the presepe. And of course while they take care of presepe, women (all the women of the family and next friends) take care of Christmas cakes: and life flows slowly from a season to the other…