Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Day We Went to Castelnuovo - Part Two

Despite the nerve-wracking drive, we made it safely to Castelnuovo. After Gary unknowingly parked in the staff parking of the local constabulary, we ventured out to visit the market. The time was 1pm. Anyone who has been to Italy no doubt knows that everything shuts down at 1 (sometimes earlier) until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. The market was no exception, except that it was done for the day. What a letdown!!!!

So this is what my comments from the last post, about the mistakes made earlier in the morning, apply to. If we had left earlier, and if we had taken the route I originally expected to take, we would have arrived in time to see the market.

I felt so bad for Kent, because this was his "day". For our reunion we were pretending that everyone had a birthday and got to choose the activity for the day, and the foods (all prepared in our kitchen) for the evening meal. Kent is a real lover of food and cooking, so his day was falling apart.

But I had my book ("A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany") along. I quote from it: "You will find the perfect choice of local products at this small inauspicious bar/osteria at the entrance to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Owner Andrea Bertucci is called the Indiana Jones of the Garfagnana....for his excavating of food traditions and local produce...The place is packed with jars, bottles and dry goods....

...The major attraction is a huge mortadella sausage, looking like a ballistic missile and weighing more than 400 llbs upon arrival, lying on its own fitted table next to the hams and sausages in the corner of the tavern. Slice by slice it lasts about 3 months. Directly next to it sits a large prosciutto Bazzone...its juices almost dripping.

...On the board you find lardo di Garf, a thin slice of seasoned pork fat, a cured carpaccio called manzo di pazzo ("beef for the crazy"), various sausage samplings and some wonderful cheeses of the Garfagnana, all accompanied by thick slabs of farro/potato bread."

Okay, if we had to miss the market, we HAD to find Andrea's store. We arrived at the door to Andrea's, only to find it had a sign hanging in the window, saying that it was closed until Oct 11. Major letdown #2. 
Hunger was overtaking us, so we found a restaurant. When we asked for tap water, a man at another table called out to tell us that the tap water was very good here (we drank only tap water on our trip, with absolutely no ill effects). Then when this same man and his friends got up to leave, he told us "Please do not think that all Italians are like Berlusconi or are Communists." Then he left. We guessed that he might have been the mayor of the town. Berlusconi is the president of Italy and his going to the birthday party of an 18 yr old model, etc, makes for some entertaining, if not depressing, reading.

I pulled out my book again and was thrilled to read that there was another food shop named. We found this one to be open. Hooray!!

The store was jam packed with food!!

What a feast for the eyes this place was. The name of this food shop is L'Aia di Piero.

Liana loved this long multi-coloured ribbon pasta. Kent was busy buying up things to take back to Baku.

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