"Not by bread alone does a man live...." Jesus Christ told us (Gospel of Matthew, 4:4). However, in the Lords Prayer, we were instructed to ask, "Give us this day our daily bread." Jesus Christ turned water into wine for a wedding, said farewell to his apostles in the Last Supper he organized and multiplied fish and bread. Eating can also be an experience that is both beautiful and brings us closer to the people we love. Good eating is nothing a pilgrim should be shy about. Eating is relevant!
Under the arches outside what once was
Il Palazzo della Ragione,
A young man came over to our table. "What can I offer you?" I answered, "Bring me something to eat I could only find in Mantua."
"Anything?", the young man seemed to challenge me.
Tris di Gnocchi, White, Green and Orange.
This was Estela's, my wife, pick for lunch.
The Green Gnocchi are made with Spinach,
while the orange colored gnocchi
are made with pumpkin.
"Anything, as long as if it is a typical dish from the cuisine of Mantua or the local area around Mantua."
"Ok!" was all the reply I received as the waiter walked away, with something of a smirk on his face.
That day I had maccheroncini freschi al torchio, a homemade pasta, rolled and cut short. It is a hearty dish.
Maccheroncini Freschi al Torchio
Afterwards, another dish came, or what the Italians call il secondo or main dish. Stracotto di Somarino. What is that? Literally, mules cheek. It was served in a red Lambrusco wine sauce with Polenta as a side dish. What does Mules cheek taste like? Something between beef and liver, made heavenly with the sauce.
Stracotto di Somarino, Mules Cheek, with Polenta.
"Signore, ti posso offrire un dolce?" the yound waiter asked me if I wanted something for desert. "As long as it is something typical of Mantua," was my reply.
If you go window shopping in Mantua, and you look into a window of the pastry shops, the wine stores, the chocolate shops or the pastry shops, you will always find the Sbrisolana. At this restaurant, they served it with Zabaione sauce. Sbrisolanas are a crispy desert, with a texture similar to the crust of a crumb cake, but stiffer. You can slurp them in your cappuccino.
Sbrisolana con Salsa Zabaione.