Some may like it hot, but these are not. Bunches of them hanging at Al Balcone delle Dolomiti b&b here in Castelmezzano (Basilicata). Use them in pasta dishes, on cooked vegetables, as a garnish, or just plain snacking. Also great crumbled over melted caciocavallo cheese on toasted slices of local bread.
Not that it’s raining NOW, but with the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing this month, today’s sunny skies and 85°F could just as well go back to last week’s wet and 60°. The first 10 days of May felt very much like early spring – a lot of showers to bring on the flowers. During that period we opened the last bag of heat ‘n serve cassoeula from La Cassoeula del Togn. It’s a new start-up business that takes an old family recipe and markets it with home delivery service. Brilliant!
We didn’t actually get delivery since we wanted to check out the restaurant and pick up our order at the same time. We left with 5 bags at 10€ each which is a great value considering how much work goes into making this traditional winter dish of pork ribs, skin and cabbage. Each vacuum-packed portion is a generous 500 grams and wrapped in a jute bag. Add to a pot along with a small amount of water, heat, and serve!
We’re a bit critical when it comes to the quality of any cassoeula other than my late mother-in-law’s, but I have to say that La Cassoeula del Togn’s is really, really good. I mean, just look at how gorgeous it is. Makes me wish that it would rain some more.
As I mentioned earlier, the temps were chilly in early May but the dogs had their own way of keeping toasty. Place a pillow on the dachshund and the westie will climb right on top like it’s her damn right.
Castiglione della Pescaia – And on the 4th day, there was a fish sagra.
The evening before heading back home, we considered the idea of dinner service offered by the agriturismo’s hosts (the owner is a fisherman and cooks up these fabulous, multi-course meals), but then I had to spot this fish festival poster above. OH yes!
Regular readers know of my mad enthusiasm for traditional food events, and there was no question about where we’d dine that night. Held at a sports camp in the neighborhood of Casa Mora, we got there early before the crowds rolled in.
The menu was primarily fish with a couple of meat options thrown in for carnivores.
It doesn’t look like we ate much but there was still some cheese, salumi and wine back at the cottage. Prices were a tad higher (altogether we spent 34€ which included service and a cup of beer), but that’s the norm for fish dishes in Italy anyway. The sagra was also open to dogs, so there wasn’t a problem with our two.
The following morning it was goodbye to our donkey companions (the westie saluted them with a woof!) and a promise to return soon. In October, not far from the agriturismo, there’s a festival serving mushroom dishes, chestnuts, wine, polenta, and wild boar. Che bontà!