At the breakfast buffet of Borgo Egnazia, a high-end resort in Fasano on Italy’s eastern coast, there’s a carafe of a substance unlikely to be found at any similarly luxurious hotel elsewhere in the world: siero di latte e cacao, or milk serum and cocoa. It looks like hot chocolate but tastes like seaweed, pungent enough that it might trigger the gag reflex of a consumer more accustomed to starting the morning with something from Starbucks. A centuries-old breakfast staple in this part of the world, the drink is essentially a protein shake made with the whey that remains after milk has been curdled and strained.

“We’re working on encouraging more protein at breakfast, and milk serum is a way to do that without going to eggs,” Aldo Melpignano, the proprietor of Borgo Egnazia, said one day this spring, pitched forward on a white couch in one of the property’s many breezy white porticos.

Modeled after a 15th-century Apulian village, the resort rolls out over 250 acres just off the Adriatic in the Puglia region (or, in Latin, Apulia). Mr. Melpignano observed that most such establishments had one conspicuously healthy restaurant, and then a number of venues with more indulgent fare.

“In our case,” he said, “everything is the healthy restaurant.”

Of course, eating virtuously means something different to everyone. In the land of wine and pasta, Mr. Melpignano, 40, has created a hospitality venture that is capitalizing on hype around two distinct travel trends:…

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