Monday, May 15, 2017

Casale Monferrato, Lunch on the road to Vercelli

As we drove north on E25 to Vercelli, Estela and I realized again that we would arrive too late to have lunch there. So we took the exit to Casale Monferrato. In the back of a shopping center, we found a "ristorante" with a very exotic name: "I Templari".
From the outside of "i templari", we were not sure if it was a nursery for plants or a restaurant. Then we asked the cashier if we could have something to eat. Without saying a word, she just gestured: "Take any table you want!"
Prosciutto crudo with a bottle of
vino bianco Roero Arneis Casale

Wholesome food and delicious wine, together with warm and friendly hospitality, have helped Pilgrims for centuries experience that unforgettable moment along the Via Francigena in Italy.

Prosciutto cotto.

Food, Wine and hospitality are all forms of art, that even the simplest of Italians seem to dominate. But this dexterity of the Italians is by no means an improvised skill.

Salume fatta in casa.

I have been reading this month Cato's "De re rustica", part of his masterpiece, "De Agri Cultura". This work, written by the Roman Praertor, is a simple handbook, on farming, cattle raising and cooking.

Homemade bread, homemade salumi, and a bottle
of wine from the local vineyards make for a
delicious antipasto.

One of my favorite chapters, is Cato´s instructions on how to knead dough. Italians are social conscious, and everyone understands his station and position in life.

Agnellotti ripieni con carne
bianca: tacchino, corniglio e pollo
 (agnolotti filled with three types
of white meat: turkey, chicken
and rabbit).
However, at mealtime, the lines dividing social class disappear, as a new hierarchy takes its place: those who know about food and wine, those who know how to cook, and the rest of the universe.

Agnolotti are smaller than ravioli
and are usually made with meat
fillings, whereas raviolis are
filled with cheese. Raviolis are
flatter than agnolotti. Agnolotti
are originally from Piedmont.
Marcus Porcius Cato was profoundly proud of his native Tusculum (very close to Frascatti, one of the Castelli Romani, about 15 miles southeast of Rome), of its fields, its olive trees, its livestock, and its vineyards.

Estela poses by the fireplace.

The owner of the trattoria made
us feel at home.

Estela had pesce spade
(swordfish) cooked over a
charcoal grill.

Arrosto di Maiale al Forno
Maiale di Verona di Pelle Nera

Vanilla ice cream for desert. 

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