Clockwise starting from top left: broccolo fiolaro, polenta, sarde alla veneziana, frico morbido, folpetti alla busara, bacala alla vicentina (center), asiago cheese
Prepackaged heat-n-serve meals go against my line of thinking when it comes to italian meals, but sometimes the aesthetics of cooking takes a back seat when all we want is just a little taste. Over the weekend we dug into some foods purchased on our way out of Veneto and all I know is this – we just gotta get back to the region again.
To start: sarde alla veneziana (sardines, venetian-style with onions and vinegar) and young asiago cheese with onion compote. I love onion anything.
Polenta 2 ways: baccala cooked in milk and baby octopus in a richly-flavored tomato sauce. The polenta is sliced from a thick slab and warmed on an oiled skillet until heated through.
Vegetable: broccolo fiolaro (a local variety of broccoli) and hard-boiled eggs. Cultivated in the Vicenza province, it has a vague sweet note and you can also eat the leaves. Enjoy it steamed or boiled with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.
More cheese. And potato. All in a flat, hot, delicious little round. Who can resist anything that has potato and cheese? Frico morbido is actually from the Friuli region and one of the best things to eat on a gloomy spring day. Just make sure not to burn your mouth!
Yes. I cani possono entrare. Nine years ago at the Fasulin de l’oc event in Pizzighettone for the very first time, dogs weren’t included on the welcome mat. Fortunately for us at the time of our visit, someone took kindly to our plight and we were shown to a quiet section, far from the main dining area.
Well now things have changed. Dogs (cats too, if we are to take that sign up top at face value) and their peeps have a designated space at the very end in Casamatta 21. We had no idea about this, but again, a kind soul noticed our bewildered faces, pointed us in the right direction, and suggested that one of us could get the food while the other sat with the dogs. This event grows bigger with each year and I’m glad we took his advice – look at that line below.
While the wait may have been longer than expected (about 30′), the quality and quantity of the dishes still remain the same after all these years. Black-eyed peas (fasulin de l’oc) and pork skin (cudeghe) nestled in a thick, flavorful broth. A popular example of comfort food in Italy no matter what the weather’s like outside.
Sunday lunch for 30€: black-eyed peas and pork skin soup, raspadura cheese, cheese cubes and mostarda, lardo and salame, grilled polenta, bread and wine.
Macagn cheese stand at the sagra
Crocemosso (Piemonte) – Macagn is a cheese made from raw cow’s milk and has a pleasant flavor with a delicate smell. It’s perfect as a table cheese, turned into a sauce, or lovely when melted all over hot, steaming polenta. Owing its name to a mountain pasture at the foot of Monte Rosa, Macagn’s origins date back to over 150 years which earns it a solid spot in Slow Food’s cheese hall of fame. Slow cheese indeed; it came as a shock when I discovered that the sagra del Macagn was celebrating its 15th edition this year. Where have I been?
Ravioli, pasta, and 7 types of polenta combinations, but the best plate in our opinion – a juicy pork steak cooked in Bramaterra wine and slathered with Macagn sauce. Delicious food with a piemontese red to wash it down. Everything was well-organized and there’s also the option of making reservations by phone, guaranteeing a spot at the communal-style tables. Parking wasn’t too difficult and the dynamic duo were also welcomed in the covered dining tent.
For more information: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/prolococrocemosso
As with most small local affairs like this one, you’ll need to get in line to make your order. Take the printed receipt, nab a seat, and wait for someone to check the receipt and bring your selected dishes. If you make a reservation beforehand, see the person to the side of the order kiosk and he’ll direct you to your reserved spot.
Apple strudel with vanilla sauce