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Everything posted by fortedei

  1. Just someone who enjoys eating well prepared food, either at home or in restaurants in Italy...preferably true regional Italian food using ingredients that are seasonal whenever possible. Since the mid 70s, my wife and I have seen a lot of the best, starting with Cantarelli in Busseto, Franco Colombani's birth of the group of restaurants in the Linea in Italia, and Nadia and Antonio without a star. Unfortunately, we've seen a bit of the worst (think of the nuova cucina of the mid 80s to the early 90s), but with a fair amount of dilgence on the part of my wife, not that much. We also enjoy drinking well made Italian wine that speaks of its "terroir." We've been very fortunate to get to know a number of restaurateurs on a personal basis. We have a home in Forte where we spend six months a year. We also have a favorite restaurant (actually we call it our "shack on the beach") in Forte that serves, in our mind the best spaghetti con le arselle, cozze al vapore and orata al forno. That, however, is for another, more appropriate time and post. We travel a fair amount when we are in Italy and I hope to keep the board posted on the restaurants we enjoy, either old favorites or new ones.
  2. The perfect combination in my mind would be to stay at Locanda del Lupo in Soragna and eat at La Buca in Zibello (which a number of others have mentioned) Locanda is a very comfortable (4 star) albergo and is about 7km. from Zibello. This allows one to eat a good (also big) meal (and drink a lot... and you will if you go to La Buca) and not have to go all the way back to Parma late at night. There is wonderful walking on the small roads around Soragna, so next day you can try to work off what you put on the night before. La Buca is a wonderful experience. Unique. We've been there more than 40 times in the past 27 years and Miriam (and her late mother, Eleana, before her) is still doing what she does best. What she does best is serve a plate of her own culatello (it's all hanging in the back cellar which she'll show you; thousands of culatelli) and a plate of spalla cotta, with butter on the side. Truly artery clogging but at least one dies very happy. Then tortelli di zucca and after perhaps an arrosti or bolliti (with her own mostarda) or stracotto di lingua. If it's funghi time, she'll have funghi. if it's the late Spring, she'll have frog's legs. She'll have piselli. So, the menu that never changes (culatello, tortelli, arrosti etc.) and what is seasonal. Her own nocino and Romano Levi's grappa (he calls her La Regina di Culatello). Miriam is larger than life, both from her personality and her physical stature. She is a gem. A kinder, more giving person, is difficult to find. In 1987, we were staying at the late Franco Colombani's place, Sole, in Maleo for a week between Christmas and the New Year. We wanted to take Franco and Silvana, Nadia and Antonio Santini, Rino and Severio Botte (from the late lamented Ceresole in Cremona) and Roberto and Silvana Ferrari from Bersagliere out to eat. What was the one place all of them wanted to go to? To eat Miriam's food at La Buca. So on a night when all their restaurants were closed, in nebbia that was thick, thick, thick, we all went to La Buca. One last thing... until recently about the only thing you could drink there was lambrusco (although she had the good stuff as well as the plunk). Miracle of miracles... there is now actually a decent wine list. We've sent lots of friends there over the years. Not one has had anything less than a great food experience and a fun time as well.
  3. Senape is to mustard as parmigiano-reggiano is to grana. They are both cheese, closely related, both very good in their own way, but with a world of difference in taste. Senape is most often translated as mustard. In fact, it comes from the white seeds of the mustard plant. It is the way the seeds are crushed and how it is turned into what I would call, perhaps incorrectly, a "must" (no pun intended) that is used in mostarda in the Mantova/Cremona area. To my knowledge, a chemist is the one who creates the senape. The difference between an artisinal mostarda and the industrial stuff that one, more often than not , sees in Italy, is truly astounding and it has nothing to do with the fruit (or in some cases vegetables) and sugar that is used. It has mostly to do with the quality of the senape.
  4. Mostarda, with all due respect to the other previous posters, in and around Mantova/Cremona is made with senape. Most often you buy senape from an apothecary. It is not mustard oil. It is incredibly strong. Nadia Santini, perhaps 15 years ago, had my wife and me smell a vial of senape. It nearly knocked us over. But boy was the finished product great. Nadia makes her own as does Romano Tomani at Ambasciata in Quistello. If you email them, I'm sure they'll give you the recipe because it's not something secret. I don't have their books (in Italian) with me, but it might even be in them. Basically, the only real difference between mostardas in that area is what fruit(s) are used. Hope tihs is helpful.
  5. Many thanks. Exactly what I was looking for
  6. Thanks Pierre, but I was really looking for stores in cities.
  7. Sorry about the prior copy of the post. Albiston's listing of the trattorie mentioned one of the best, if not the best, of the trattorie in terms of wine, La Brinca in Ne'. Ne' is just slightly south of Chiavari, not that far off the autostrada, albeit a little difficult to find (up a winding dirt and gravel road in the middle of the vineyards). Sergio Circella has basically taken his family's trattoria and enhanced the typical 'rustic' dishes from the Lugurian hills which are served, with a wonderful wine list and a cantina where you can buy anything from the list. Sergio is passionate about wine (with no snobbism of any kind) and loves to talk about food as well. A fun guy to be with. As Antonio Santini said: this is a wine list which would rate a 17 or 18 in Gambero Rosso if they rated wine lists of trattorie. A trattoria which, except for the wine list, was commonplace in Liguria 25 years ago, but sadly is dying out. Cucina povera at its best.
  8. Could anyone recommend some good wine stores in or around Avignon, or going North, in the area from Valence to Vienne
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