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Tiella barese: rice, potatoes and mussels

Discovering traditional Bari dishes: tiella or tiedda barese, a recipe prepared with rice, potatoes and mussels.

Discovering traditional Bari dishes: tiella or tiedda barese, a recipe prepared with rice, potatoes and mussels.

Sun, sea and a sense of place, this is how Bari enchants its visitors. But these are not the only ingredients that make the city unique. Bari cuisine, like many other Mediterranean cuisines, is an enormous source of pride and wealth for its inhabitants, and a welcome bonus for tourists who have the good fortune to visit.

Local cuisine is a perfect blend of ingredients from the earth and the sea; from local specialities such as Terra di Bari PDO extra-virgin olive oil, to salted ricotta, grated to garnish pasta and rice dishes, fish and the vast array of white and red wines. People who visit Bari cannot help but appreciate the foodie side of this vibrant city.

One of the typical local fish-based dishes is tiella or “tiedda” barese, prepared with rice, potatoes and mussels and cooked in a dish called a tiella and then baked in the oven. A recipe similar to Spanish paella, using exclusively local ingredients. 

It is a dish rooted in Bari’s traditions which, like many other local recipes, owes its origins to farmers who made it to feed the family returning from the fields. It was conveniently all cooked in one pot, and originally called not only for rice, potatoes and mussels, but other vegetables, too, according to whatever was to hand.

Today, many restaurants in and around Bari offer it on the menu, and it is well worth trying, accompanied by a glass of Negroamaro.