Delicious locally-cured pork products, stuffed pasta glistening in melted butter, wild game cooked to tender perfection, cow’s milk cheese and of course a good serving of stick-to-your-ribs polenta (and lots of it). This is hardly the meal of the moment given these current summer temps, but in the mountains and valleys north of Bergamo anything less would be unheard of.
Taverna di Arlecchino is a new addition to Osterie d’Italia’s 2011 dining guide but we already knew about this quaint locale from a visit to nearby Cornello di Tasso (noted among the most beautiful villages in Italy and an easy 30-minute forested walk away).
The house antipasto plate (17€ for 2) included a small plate of assorted breads, cured meats, some cheese, and pickled mixed vegetables (not shown). We then moved on to first courses of gnocchetti in melted strachitunt cheese and casoncelli, a typical stuffed pasta of this area in melted butter with sage (18€ in total). We should’ve stopped right here and gone straight to dessert but wait – did our waitress just say cervo (deer) braised in red wine and polenta taragna? (buckwheat polenta that also had melted cheese in it). At 18€ for this 2nd course, I regret not being able to lick the plate clean even if we split it between us. Very filling stuff. Cost: 62.50€ – half liter of house red, water and coffees included.
Taverna di Arlecchino is tucked right next to the museum of the same name.
If you’re vacationing in this region and looking for an authentic local festival experience (read: traditional eats), head over to the village of Gerosa (28 km northeast of Bergamo) for their annual Ferragosto celebration. Get there early! We arrived late during the dinner hour and were told that it would be about a half hour wait until tables cleared out for more. This was communal dining and people were probably pouring in by 7pm. Grab a seat(s) while your partner goes for the grub. A lunchtime serving is also held. Information poster