Our favorite pick this year: cazoeùla at Le Querce.
…not who we were rooting for. Well, there’s always next year. La Cascina di Mattia took the trophy, bringing the 5th Festival della Cazoeùla to an end. Like last year, we had lunch at 3 (first time visits) of the 9 participating restaurants and our vote went to Le Querce. That’s a plate of their cazoeùla above. It was perfect: fork-tender pork rib, melt-in-your-mouth pork skin (cotenne), both green and white parts of the cabbage, excellent balance of flavors and not too salty. It was so good that it even warranted another photo after attacking the rib.
Coming in 2nd: Osteria del Km Zero. The odd thing about this place is that our plates came out less than 10 minutes after we ordered. Assembly line in the kitchen? The cazoeùla was good, but the experience was far from memorable.
Wiki wiki cazoeùla for quick eaters
And bringing up the rear: La Nuvoa Rustica. Pork rib so tough that I had to chew forever but it wasn’t enough, which made it impossible to get a balanced mouthful of cabbage and pork going down the hatch at the same time. I felt like one of those jaw-grinding dieters who chew in order to trick their minds (and stomachs) into thinking that it has had enough.
I am not full, I am not full, I have been tricked!
More cold days on the horizon? Bring it on! The 5th Cazoeùla Festival in Cantù is back in a contest of the best cazoeùla in the city. For those who may have never heard of this northern italian dish, one way to describe it is basically this: a casserole of pork ribs and sausages, pork skin, cabbage and seasonings. Variations go according to the town or area, for instance, cazoeùla in Cantù does not include the verzini or pork sausages.
At Osteria del KM Zero – excellent flavor, texture (tender pork ribs, cabbage not overcooked), and quick service.
The price of the basic menu remains at 13€ per person and includes cazoeùla, polenta, and cover charge. Beverages not included.
Nope, it’s not a line borrowed from last night’s Oscars, but the announcement of who took home the trophy for having the best cazoeùla in the 4th Festival of the Cazeoùla. We didn’t sit on the judging panel, but of the 9 competing restaurants, 3 that we dined at made it to the finals: Trattoria il Giardinet, La Cascina di Mattia and Trattoria Riposo. Criteria was based on visual aspect, adherence to specification, flavor, and matching wines, with points awarded on a scale of poor, good, or excellent. Surprisingly, the judges’ final decision was right in line to how we voted at home.
And the winner is…Trattoria il Giardinet! We also thought their cazoeùla was the best of all, even if the cabbage was overcooked for our taste (we like a little bit of crunch in the leaves). Perfect seasoning, and extra points for serving it on super hot plates.
La Cascina di Mattia took 2nd. We were in a party of 5, two of whom were partial to the Milan version (with small pork sausages called verzini), so there was some critiquing at the table. Apparently verzini is not used in Cantù’s cazoeula. Some of us felt that the meat on the pork ribs wasn’t tender enough, while others thought it lacked something in the overall flavor.
Trattoria Riposo placed 3rd. Just a tad too much salt in this one that brought on a huge thirst a half hour after we left. The bread, however, was artisan-style with wonderful texture and lovely uneven holes. I would return just for the bread alone! Big plus: they brought separate bowls of water for the pups!
Being the last cazoeùla to whet our appetites, we couldn’t resist ordering something extra at Trattoria Riposo (mouseover for details). Looking forward to the next festival in 2017!
Antipasto (crustless zucchini quiche)
13€ for a plate of cazoeùla and polenta – deal!