Tag Archives: Opera

Ristorante Redibis – dining in an ancient Roman arena

Ristorante RedibisRistorante Redibis
L’Orto degli Angeli
Via Dante Alighieri,1
Bevagna
39-0742-361-756
http://www.ortoangeli.it

This restaurant belongs to the elegant Orto degli Angeli, an elegant “Residenza d’Epoca” in the heart of Bevagna.  It is situated in the cavernous remains of the curved, barrel-vaulted ambulatory that once supported the cavea of the ancient Roman amphitheater, dating to the 1st century A.D.  The food is extremely good, yet simple fare, as the chef adheres as faithfully as possible to recipes that date back to medieval times.  I chose a tasting menu that followed family recipes, originally created by the Mongalli family’s nonna.  These dishes, with an emphasis on the freshest vegetables and herbs, demonstrate how simple ingredients, when placed in the right hands, can be turned into recipes worth repeating and recording.  Thank goodness, grandma did.   Indeed, Julien, our waiter explained, using no more than four ingredients is the key to the success of these cherished recipes.

Although there are remains of ancient Roman amphitheaters in many parts of the world, in Bevagna, these intact stone galleries are incorporated into the medieval dwellings and are still “lived in” today, something that occurs nowhere else in the world.  So to sit at table in this 2000 year-old stone corridor, where the music is soft and the food simply good is a once- in-a-lifetime experience.  The Latin name, “Redibis,” however, wishes otherwise, as it means, “You will be back.”   I certainly hope so.

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

Buca di San Francesco – Echoes of the Past

Buca di San Francesco
Buca di San Francesc
Via S. Francesco, 1
52100 Arezzo
39-0575-23271
inbuca@tin.it
www.bucadisanfrancesco.it
Owner: Mario De Felippis

 

 

Echoes of the past… An ancient road, left behind by the Romans?  The Etruscans?  How many individuals have tread across these timeless paving stones that make up the flooring of this 14th century structure?  For the past eight decades, these worn stones have been polished to a warm patina by the tread of diners at the Buca di San Francesco.  Opened by Mario De Felippis’ father-in-law, Buca di San Francesco is now owned and managed by Mario, who is proud to announce that they have been in business for over 80 years.

Upon entering, I am drawn through arches from one intimate dining room to another, each one with walls that are frescoed and softly lit, inviting one to linger at a table and sample the traditional Tuscan cuisine that has made this such a popular place.  As we sit and sip their house wine, the rooms quickly fill with locals who know good food better than any of us.

The tables are set simply, graced with rustic table linens calling to mind a farmhouse kitchen.  The menu is extensive and the offerings are pure homemade goodness – the kind of fare Nonna would have made for a Sunday lunch.  The heart and soul of this restaurant, Mario moves swiftly from table to table, and I am amazed by his energy.  Is it fueled by three espressos, his natural good will or simply his passion for what he does?   Perhaps all three.   Running the restaurant is a family affair; son, Davide, is one of the chefs in the kitchen and his daughter is waiting tables.  Like her father, Barbara ensures that each diner feels welcome and leaves satisfied.

Pampered first with Pappa al Pomodoro, we move with ease from mixed antipasti to a sampling of “Bringoli fatti in casa condite con le briciole,” homemade noodles with a sprinkling of crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs.  Good is better when it is pretty, and these are garnished with one green and one white heart-shaped spinach ravioli.  Everything that comes to our table is prepared with care and a bow to the time-honored cuisine of Tuscany.  Bravi!

 

 

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

 

Eating good in the neighborhood – Cortona’s Ristorante La Bucaccia

 

La Bucaccia

 

Ristorante La Bucaccia
Via Ghibellina, 17
Cortona
0575-606-039
info@labucaccia.it
www.labucaccia.it
Owner: Romano Magi
Chef: Agostina Magi

From Cortona’s main square, it is a steep descent down Via Ghibellina to La Bucaccia, a uniquely charming local restaurant. It is well worth the effort, because here the cuisine of Tuscany rises to unbelievable heights. This cozy restaurant was carved out of the ruins of a 12th-century palazzo, a painstaking restoration that took the owners, Romano and Agostina Magi, almost two years to complete. The stone walls resonate with history and with the Magi’s passion for preserving that history and its architecture.  They have incorporated the remnants of the old well, the cellars, the animal feeding trough and the old camino, into the décor of the intimate dining room which seats no more than thirty people.

Romano Magi is justifiably proud of this multi-tiered accomplishment and of his wife, the chef responsible for La Bucaccia’s famed cuisine.  One is not likely to meet a man more passionate about Tuscan cooking or cheese-making, in particular, so it was with immense pleasure that we got to know Romano over a lunch that literally burst forth with flavor, one course after another.  Romano entertained and educated us as he made fresh cheese at our table, one of several cheese offerings that he produced and presented throughout our meal.   There is nothing like newly made ricotta drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and cracked peppercorns.  Or a plate of cheese arranged in a circle, that invites one to taste in clockwise fashion the stages of its aging, each accompanied by a different garnish or marmalade.

But, oh, the pastas!  Romano introduced us to a sampling of three different kinds – boasting that over the course of the seasons, they alternate between no less that 67 pasta dishes.  The pici, made green with fresh herbs rather than spinach, topped with porcini mushrooms, was the stuff of celestial banquets.  We were content, but Romano insisted we sample Agostina’s bistecca of the local chianina beef.  Mamma mia!

Agostina and Romano’s daughter, Francesca, has been learning on the job since she was six.  She smiles an angelic smile from behind the bar; she de-corks the wine, and can explain anything on the menu.  She is as sweet as any dessert Agostina can create!

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

Italy - The Beauty and the Feast

To my friends and readers who love Italy as I do, I announce with great pleasure the publication of my newest book “ITALY – The Beauty and the Feast” along with a free shipping offer from Blurb.

“Has Italy captured your heart and your imagination? In this travel journal, Ginda Simpson captures the essence of the country, not through the usual highlights of a whirlwind tour of the peninsula, but through leisurely travels to the cities and countryside, often off the beaten path and during the quieter seasons. Festivals that ignite the imagination, banquets of tables laden with Italy’s abundant harvest, shepherds and farmers toiling their land, opera divas that sing in a way that almost breaks one heart – these are the experiences that inspired the title: Italy – the Beauty and the Feast. Ginda invites you to travel along with her. For your own planning purposes, she includes contact information for the various hotels, restaurants, and festivals mentioned in her stories. This is the sequel to her first collection of travel stories to be found in the book entitled: Italian Wanderlust.”

 

To order you copy today and get free shipping, click here:

http://www.blurb.com/b/6482161-italy-the-beauty-and-the-feast