We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Regarding gelato, all you have to do is point at random. It's all good. The rule is just one gelato per day.
A friend is visiting northern Italy for the first time, in a couple of weeks. Great time of year to go. Asked for food advice. Here are a few of my suggestions (bearing in mind that no menus will be in English):
- Any norceria platter - Any crostini - every place has its own versions - carpaccio - delicious. Usually served on dandelion greens. Sprinkle a little oil on top.
- pappardelle al funghi - Any gnocchi - Any polenta, but especially al tartuffo - Any risotto - Sometimes you can find a Spaghetti alla Bolognese - it's nothing like the American version - Bean soup/stew with pasta - Pasta e fagioli - in springtime, Risi e Bisi if they have it on the menu (rice and fresh peas in broth - a Venetian classic primi)
- Tuscan steak (they are very proud of that Bistecca alla Fiorentina, generally grilled on a wood fire with lauro or rosemary - rare is best) - Venetian-style liver (fegato) - Brasato - Braciole (stewed beef) - Veal with tuna sauce (vitello tonnato) - Ossobuco - Cinghiale (wild boar) - however they make it is great - Fish and seafood. Easy to forget that Florence, for example, was a major seaport before the Arno silted up. So was Pisa. (One way Florence became wealthy in the Renaissance was by importing shiploads of wool from Britain and turning it into nice stuff. Also, from being a financial center, of course.)
Another tip: Order one antipasto, one primi, and one secondi - and share them. That's really all you need. They are used to people doing that these days. They understand "to share."
Another: If you want a vegetable or green, like spinach with garlic or asparagus, or a salad, it's a separate order as a side dish. In Italy, a secondi is never contaminated with random vegetables on the plate. Except, sometimes, roast potato. You are supposed to savor just one taste at a time.
Another: Barbera is the local and popular table wine up there. Cheap and pretty good.
Feel free to add your northern Italian favorites in the comments -
Just got back from a week in Rome. Even an ordinary pizza is head and shoulders above what's in the US. And don't forget saltimbucco (veal with ham). And when you order mixed fried fish, they are whole fish that are skillet fried. Yum.
"Yum, yum, yum.. Let's go to northern Italy next year!
You would love the gilato. It is so dense and creamy. It is the best form of ice cream on the planet. Unless.. you want to consider the ice cream in France.. then they win for sure. It's the happy dairy cows there." ;-)