There’s one thing in Italy that we all have in common, despite the almost infinite array of aromas, flavors and heritage, and that we all agree upon: good food! Today we visited the restaurant “Il Corteinfiore” located in the city of Trani. We interviewed its owner, Michele Matera, who spoke to us about his experience as a successful restaurateur.
The location of the restaurant is very special because it’s a historical building dating back to the 1500’s located just a few meters away from the marina. However, the heart of the restaurant is found inside the palazzo’s garden, which can even be used in winter.
How was this project started?
It all started in 2000. Basically, I do not like eating outside on the street so I found the perfect setting inside the palazzo built by the Pignatelli family at the beginning of the 1500’s. It originally began as a tavern but was quickly transformed into a restaurant offering a modern re-interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine.
How would you describe your cuisine?
We absolutely try to respect the traditional cuisine of Apulia, re-interpreting it with a twist but without exaggerating.
The only common denominator is extra virgin olive oil. I am sure that the future will bring about a return to the past so our intention is to keep up with the present yet, at the same time, stay close to our origins and with this philosophy, try and excite our customers.
You are a native of this region and have been here and have been working here for many years, what is your future outlook for Apulia?
Personally, I do not see Apulia as a unique region, I think it is an integral part of Basilicata. This territory is geographically very long and each area has very different characteristics regarding traditions, places and inhabitants. I can most certainly say that this is a region rich in history and art, besides boasting hospitable and wholesome people.
As a restaurateur, can you tell us if you have any particular obsessions regarding your job? Are you superstitious?
As for managing the kitchen, since we work with raw fish, I am very obsessed with hygiene. I am also very superstitious so it is impossible to walk into my restaurant and not find horseshoes, garlic, chili peppers and so forth.
Is there a dish that you prefer over others?
The codfish and potato flan with cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil.
As we said before, your restaurant has evolved over time. Do you have any future plans that you intend to implement?
In the past two years we have added six suites on the upper floor and next year we plan to add a beach club.
One last question. Are you particularly fond of any one place in Apulia?
Without a doubt the Castel del Monte (Castle of the Mountain) in Andria that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It was a gift that Federico II di Svevia (Swabia) gave to Apulia and if you look at it closely, it appears to keep watch from above, majestic, dominating all of La Murgia area.