The 3rd day was a long haul. We headed further south on smaller country roads, lulled by the changing landscapes that ranged from large tracts of tilled earth to mountain plateaus. We needed to cross the regions of Molise, Campania, and a small section of Puglia before reaching Basilicata, but not without stopping for a proper lunch.
We have 2 small dogs, is it a problem?
It always goes like this: MotH calls to reserve a table, sets the time, then just before hanging up, he politely asks “Abbiamo 2 piccoli cani, è un problema?” A Slow Food guide restaurant along the way didn’t open before 1pm and dogs were okay, but I didn’t factor in 2 hours at the table.
Lunch at Ristorante La Pignata
When I think of the cuisine in Campania I think of pizza, mozzarella made with buffalo milk, and fried stuff. Head inland where Campania borders the other southern regions and the dishes are a cultural mix of flavors. As a complimentary tasting we were offered bruschetta with fresh mozzarella and anchovies.
Followed by 2 antipasti: prosciutto made from suino nero (local black pig) with artichokes and grated caciocavallo, plus a type of dumpling called pancotto all’arianese, a truly frugal dish using day-old bread, chicory greens, translucent strips of cured lard, and peperoni cruschi.
When the pasta arrived my stomach was already signaling my brain that it was getting full, but I was quick to tuck into this dish of wholewheat spaghetti with baccala and peperoni cruschi. MotH had tagliatelle with porcini and black truffle. It was definitely a leisurely lunch, but we had to get going and here’s the funny part – the waiter was surprised that we were leaving so soon.
An hour later we arrived at our b&b in Castelmezzano, a mountain-top village listed among the most beautiful in Italy. Its unique location and appearances in films and documentaries has brought more international attention as a tourist destination (there’s a zipline activity called Volo dell’Angelo – Angel’s Flight), but hopefully the remoteness of the area will keep things in check and prevent it from turning into a circus. More on Castelmezzano coming up, but first, time to get ready for Halloween! 👿