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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

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

All contents copyright 2004/2005.
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At 6:20 AM, Blogger Typesetter said...

Via mendicitĂ  istruita is a great name for the street. It means "educated begging street". ^_^

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Oh my all of this food looks enticing! I'd love to find those cardoons here in Vancouver because I love artichoke. However people here don't really even know how to eat artichoke. I was surprised! The foods look wonderful and a great way to spring up ideas for meals. Thanks!

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous J.Doe said...

Slow food, medium food, fast food....It's all the same to me. I eat anything and everything.
my motto is 'Just put it on a plate and I'll eat it!'
(I love the pictures too)

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Mona said...

Great great pictures. I've never heard of the slow food movement. I'm glad to be enlightened.

At 2:58 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Thanks for the review. My friend Corrie and I (over at our blog) are big slow food fans (she's a member in Indy!), and it's neat to see a restaurant from the home of it all. Whenever I see a snail sign on the door of a restaurant, I know it's a good place to dine. :)


At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

I don't have any photos from our visit as we broke the camera earlier in the trip, but Derrick and I both remember Bra and this Osteria quite well. We went while on our honeymoon a few years ago. :-)

At 2:44 AM, Anonymous www.huesca-3d.com said...

I believe everybody ought to look at this.


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