RESTAURANT REVIEW: A FINE DINNER IN CREMONA

Hello!This week restaurant review bring us near Cremona, in a small village named Levata di Grontardo. The place is called Ca’ Barbieri – “Ca'” stay for “Home”- and really it is an old stone farmhouse completely renovated, where you’ll taste the typical cremonese cooking, and delicious meat dishes.

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When you enter, you’re welcomed by the owner: there is a small bar at the entrance, then you’ll be accompanied in one of the small rooms of the restaurant, which is located on two floors. The place is rustic, with stone walls and  wooden beams, old wooden tables and cane chairs. Lights are soft and the tables are well divided to maintain the customer privacy.
I found this place by chance: one day I was going to a customer for work, and I passed through the small streets of Levata, when my attention was caught by the sign of the restaurant. Always driving, I was trying to peek inside the court of the restaurant. I couldn’t see really much, but I noted the name of the place. And now, let’s talk about our dinner: we started with two pasta dishes:

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We choosed Tagliatelle with Ragù di cinghiale (boar ragù), and a classic dish of Tortelli with Ricotta and Spinach, but really particular ’cause it was seasoned with lemon and mint… I liked it!So fresh in the mouth.They said the pasta was home made.

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For the main dish, we choose differently: one meat dish and for me, a fish dish. The meat dish was just scrumptious(and huge, as you can see): an american black angus fillet served with roasted potatoes; I tried a pieces of meat, and I must say that it melted in my mouth, it was just perfectly browned.

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I choose a seabass fillet “alla mediterranea”, that means roasted with black olives and tomatoes, spiced with salt, pepper, capers and olive oil. So simple dish but so good, very similar to the fillet i usually prepare, also for Fiesta Friday! It was a pleasant evening of small talk, we’ll go back for sure occasionally.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: A FINE LUNCH IN LUCCA

Hello! I’ve been away for two weeks and it’s a lot of time for the blog, i know: but sure I can say that I have quite new topics to tell you about. This is the second appointment with “Restaurant Review” and this time we’ll go to Lucca, in Tuscany.We spent last Saturday in Lucca and we took lunch to Gli Orti di Via Elisa, a simple but elegant typical restaurant, with a great all-white dehors. The atmosphere all around was really cozy.

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Looking at the menu, we hesitated a bit about the dishes to choose (too many good things!).We started with two simple appetizers: a typical tomato bruschetta with extra-virgin olive oil, and a delicato mushroom flan, with a potatoes cream. I love flans because they have both a delicate and rich flavour, and after all, they’re simply to make, with a variety of ingredients. The ingredients in this one were chopped so finely that they melted in the mouth:just heavenly!

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Then, we choosed two main dishes: a typical spelt soup, creamy and hot, enriched with smashed pinto beans, served rigorously without cheese, but with hot and fragrant bread. I opted for a risotto with vegetables, really tasting and creamy.

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After the main dishes, finally a great dessert: they proposed to us artigianale ice-cream, and a chocolate mousse with whipped cream: oh my!I would eat it again right now!

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It’s not a secret that I love unconditionally Tuscan cooking: I like the use they make of the vegetables, and how they are able to enrich very simple ingredients of their surroundings and create always a special tasting dish. When I go to Tuscany, I always feel at home.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: A PARMA STYLE DINNER

Hello! I was impatient to start with this new topic on my blog, and it’s with great pleasure that today I start talking to you about some fine restaurant of my surroundings: this time I’ll bring you in the heart of Parma, from Sorelle Picchi, a fine restaurant-salumeria in the city center.

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As you can see, it’s not only a restaurant, but also a shop of typical products like Prosciutto Crudo di Parma and Salame Strolghino. I must say that worth a try also the Parmigiano Cheese: we saw many Spanish and English people literally devour it, and going also for seconds.

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We stay there for dinner, choosing a classic appetizer and two different main dish. We eat outside, in the fresh air of the evening. The restaurant is in the city center, in a tranquil street, and you can reach it at the end of a pleasant stroll. The appetizer was a typical selection of cold cuts: Culatello, Prosciutto Crudo, Salame Strolghino, Coppa e Pancetta – they call it “Oro di Parma” -, served with Torta Fritta, small pieces of salted fried pasta. Just heavenly!

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For the main dish we choosed a Risotto alla Giuseppe Verdi and a dish of Cappelletti Pasticciati. Ill try to explain you the two dishes-both delicious-; Cappelletti are similar to tortellini, it’s a different kind of stuffed pasta. The filling is really rich: it contains basically a mix of whipped pork loin, turkey and parmigiano reggiano. Cappelletti are served with a classic ragù (meat and tomatoes sauce).

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The Risotto Giuseppe Verdi is as rich of ingredients as well: it’s a creamy risotto prepared with fresh ingredients like asparagus, and sometimes chopped mushrooms and carrots, like in this case; the final touch are the slices of Culatello of Parma, a fine cold cut obtained by the back thigh of the pork.

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What can I say? It was a great culinary experience. It’s great to appreciate such delicacies of our surroundings. Tasting these flavours made me feel “at home”. If you could visit Parma, give it a try! Buon Appetito!