Simply put, good food that is good for us — and the planet.
Many men and woman have dedicated their lives with a particular interest and passion for the environment. These people, are devoted to either saving the primates, climate change, or clean energy. All are very important for our existence, but have you ever stopped to think about our diet, and our food system? I have, and fast food is harming all of us.
Let me introduce Carlo Petrini…
Carlo Petrini started a food movement (now in over 150 countries) back in 1986. It is known as the Slow Food movement which at first sight, you could say, is against the fast food culture. It can even save money and help the environment. What you eat should taste good, clean, produced (locally) in a way that does not harm the environment, and food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.
I decided to visit the city where the slow movement was born, in Bra, Italy
Bra is just 30 miles south of Turin. The city is filled with Baroque architecture and it would have to wait another time. We are here for food and wine of the region. It would have been fun to pack up a rented Fiat with goodies and drive there, but we opted for the train.The restaurant is walkable from the train station.
The authentic food experience of the Slow Movement was at Osteria Boccondivino, located in the historical city of Bra.
Boccondivino is divine!
The main dining room is on the 2nd floor, not at all where an American would think of eating.
It was not too difficult to find once you see the Slow Food sign. In a simple setting, tucked in the back with a tree-covered courtyard and very romantic. Just a gorgeous, unpretentious setting with foliage from small twisted trees woven around the wrought iron balconies.
We were so eager and excited to be here, and I felt as if we invited to a private home. After all, it is family-owned, and that means cozy and less formal. The natural setting goes perfectly with the local food here, and who wants to pay for the walls, I don’t.
We were escorted to a table that was agreeable…
I’m very fussy where I sit which I can give credit to my parents. The staff is friendly and lean toward the professional side, very little dialog. No one needs to know their name either. Our table was by a window, near a wall of wine, stacked from the floor to ceiling. I would have enjoyed climbing the ladder to read the labels. Many years ago, I had a short stint as a sommelier in Ft Lauderdale, and wine labels are intriguing, if not a work of art.
We had the tasting menu, or degustazione…starting with a typical Piemontese antipasto; Vitello – Tonnato. Luscious thinly sliced, cold veal – topped with tuna sauce. I even wiped my plate clean with bread! The veal comes from the local area, and no doubt the tuna not far away from coastal Liguria.
Next dish is asparagus with basil sauce. Just perfect as you can see in the photo below.
The Tarjarin butter & sage pasta (40 egg yolk) was heavy with butter, and the eggy taste was evident, nonetheless — delicious. Golden strands of luxurious tasting pasta that was new to me. I would have liked a couple more sage leaves…maybe even fried the way I make them at home.
We were drinking a decent Nebbiolo d’Alba wine for only 4€ per glass,
and I was saving my wine for the veal…methodically, we were putting the fork down between bites as this is what slow food also means to me; not to be in a hurry and gobble the food down, which I have been known to do.
I had to save room for the braised veal in Barolo that is served with small puffy fries, that I barely ate. What can I say?…Insanely delicious, fork tender, and melt in your mouth goodness – irreproachable!
It’s hard to describe great food in situ. Is it the pilgrimage, the train ride to get there, the anticipation when a plate arrives at your table, or just being in Italy? All I can say is they take their food serious here. The Piedmont area is a culinary haven. This is a region where people dedicate their life for the best local ingredients. In fact, this is the main reason to visit here — to experience the cuisine.
Mark had an fabulous starter of Lardo; salsiccia di Bra e carne cruda. Interesting to note that the butchers in Bra were appointed as the sole producers of beef sausage. Of course we share our food and nibble on each other’s plate, and the raw pieces were exquisite: melt in your mouth perfection.
With Potato gnocchi with asparagus.
Local grey rabbit Arnesis white wine.
Everything was fresh and adheres to the Slow Food movement manifesto. You might think that the 4 course meal seems grandiose, it wasn’t. Each item paved the way for the next course. Portions were rather small, yet adequate.
Finally, Panna Cotta – whole milk creamy goodness.
We succumbed to some bread sticks and pastries at the local bakery.
“We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods… A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life… May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.” (Excerpt from the Official Slow Food Manifesto, as published in “Slow Food: A Case for Taste” in 2001)
TIP: Take a slow pace; take time to cook, take time to eat. Save the countryside from industrial farming. I don’t see anything wrong with preserving endangered foods and saving our gastronomic traditions.
L’Osteria del Boccondivino di trova a BRA (CN) in Via Mendicità, 14