Monday, October 14, 2013

What a Find in Rome! Meid in Nepols

En route from Capri and Napoli  to Toscana, a recommendation from a friend was a great way to unwind from our tour on the Amalfi Coast and Capri.  At 7.30pm, usually far too early for Italians to be out dining, there were already groups gathering at the door of Meid in Nepols, a Napolitana Cucina and Pizzeria, not far from the Stazione Termini. 
 Luckily, I was snuck in on the condition that I'd be out by 9.15pm.  A glass of their good local (to Napoli) house red, a half bottle of Acqua Nepi "effervescente naturale", grilled zucchine flowers fillled with ricotta, and a serve of Napolitan fried vegetables and sardines was all I needed after eating generously and very well for 11 days with a fun group.  On the large screened wall, instead of raucous game shows on TV was  a a slow slide show of personal photos and scenes of Napoli, Capri and surrounding areas.  Some dating back to early 40s, a variety of modern and old.  Suddenly a full screen of the owners' dog, his hair swept back, leaning out of a fast moving car, smile on his face.

At 8.15  three generations of a family started to arrive, the first being mother and baby girl in a pram, the latter of course becaming the focal point of the group.  The table was set for 16, although the stroller and chairs moved continuously, as the pride of joy moved around.   The 6month old was a little overcome with so many relatives pinching her cheeks in greeting. A game of peek-a-boo by Nonno saved the day.  Together with many "chee chees" . All drank local water, not bottled.

By 9pm the trattoria had filled up with groups of young people - all Italian.   Eventually young Uncle arrived apparently with a new girlfriend, as she was introduced to all members of the family.

At another table set for 4, the early arriving couple who had been waiting since 8pm,  finally greeted their friends' arrival with much kissing and laughter.  I wonder what happens in Italy if one doesn't have a partner?

Pignoletto in Bologna

A new grape for me: pignoletto. And, for a usually red wine drinker, a wonderful surprise: Classico Pignoletto at a winery in the hills just outside Bologna.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dottore Dottore!! a Ferrara

In October many university students around Italy were receiving their first degree.  In Ferrara this young man, according to tradition, was wearing a wreath of leaves on his head, carrying a bottle of wine, surrounded by friends: at every stop point his friends sing "Dottore, Dottore!", and he has to have a swig of his bottle.

Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

In October six of us on Ciao Bella Tours' "Food for Thought: Wrapping Emilia Romagna" tour dined at the best restaurant in Italy.   Or, more accurately, nominated as the best restaurant in Italy according to the 2013 Michelin Guide, the Espresso Guide, and the Pelligrino Guide.  And the 3rd best in the world. Chef: Massimo Bottura
What an experience!
We all chose the degustazione menu with paired wines (although it started with a beer!) .

This was the menu:

Memory of a mortadella sandwich

Prosciutto from Parma by F.lli Galloni Langhirano

Massimo Spigaroli Culatello aged 42 months DOP

Tagliatelle with rag├╣

Traditional Modenese Tortellini served with
cream of “Bianca Modenese” Parmigiano Reggiano

Mora romagnola ribs lacquered with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena

Warm and cold “zuppa inglese”

And the wines:
Beltaine beer smoked chestnut and juniper

Timorasso Farewell 2011 Massa GLOCAL

Ribolla gialla 2008 Damijan Podversic

Friulano 2010 Marco Sara

Croatina Stagioni 2008 Massa GLOCAL

Moscato d’Asti Lumine 2012 "Ca’d’Gal"