THE Slow Food Restaurant
You might have heard about it, you might have wondered about it, but do you really know what Slow Food is? After having met Demetrio I heard about Slow Food for the first time in 2004, a late comer, to the term.
Many people have never visited a farm, and don't know where their food comes from, do you? How many months does it take to grow the perfect cantaloupe? What does an artichoke plant look like? When are stone fruits in season? In the U.S. I was used to getting fruits and vegetables of all types, all season long. I miss this about the U.S. all the time, being able to get what you wanted, when you wanted. This past summer I could not for the life of me find any spinach. Only when the weather turned a bit cooler and Fall began, did I see them in the markets again. When I think back I was not raised with access to everything, all the time. I was born into the Slow Food movement without knowing it, I was raised with seasonal vegetables, organically grown by my family and so I can say I am a Slow Foodie.
The Movement itself was started by Carlo Petrini in protest to a McDonalds being opened at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome; the Movement's mascot was a tiny snail. Today this movement had spread all over the world, including the U.S.A.. It preaches the wonders of home grown food, fresh food, organic food and most of all the preservation of "cultural cuisine." In short I can Slow Food is not only an idea and a movement, it's a consciousness.
A festive street in the town of Bra, the home of Slow Food. There is quite a famous University of Gastronomic Sciences associated with the movement, located in Pollenzo, about 20 km away.
Grisini, a Piemontese specialty. Basically a super light and delicious homemade bread stick. They come in many different varieties, covered with sesame seeds, with olives rolled into them, plain and my favorite with herbs added.
Cardi gobbi di Nizza Monferrato gratinati con crema di bagno caoda. (can also be spelled cauda.)
Cardi are cardoons in English. A relative of the globe artichoke, its large, grayish-green stalks are somewhat bitter, but they remain popular in Italy, Spain and North Africa. Nizza Monferrato is a town in which cardoons are a typical ingredient. These cardoons were served in a gratin with creme of bagna caoda (a sauce from Piemonte made of anchovies, olive oil, and garlic-sometimes with milk and sometimes with wine also. There is no standard recipe, everyone has their own variation.) This was delicious, crisp, salty, creamy and savory, all at the same time.
Tortino di porri di Cervere con fonduta al raschera.
Porri are leeks in English. Cervere is also a city in which leeks are a typical item. This tiny little "tortino" was more like a soufflé of leeks accompanied by thick, creamy cheese sauce. It was light, tasted of egg and leeks and heavenly with the cheese sauce.
Panna Cotta, not a Slow Food item. Panna cotta is a cooked cream custard, although there are no eggs. This was creamy, sweet and silken.
This restaurant is owned and run by the Slow Food folks in Bra and was very nice indeed. As we say in Italy, "Ho mangiato bene.", which translates to "I ate well." We will be headed back next season to see how them make use to Spring's ingredients.
Osteria del BoccoDiVinno
Via Mendicita' Istruita, 14
Bra, Italy 10240
Ph: 0172 42 56 74
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