Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to Barbacco – Twice More!!

To paraphrase Stuart Mackenzie's comment about Colonel Sanders in “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” the folks at Barbacco Eno Trattoria must be putting a addictive chemical of some sort in their ‘nduja Calabrian salume because I am definitely craving it – and more often than fortnightly!

After sampling Barbacco’s ‘nduja for the first time on my first visit on their opening day the week before last, I was back again twice last week, once for lunch with Jeff and the second time for a glass of wine (hurray – the got their liquor license!) and some snacks with Antonio. We had it both times and it is excellent – just a tad spicy and with a wonderful smoked flavor. Plus the toasted bread that they serve with it is just right.

At lunch with Jeff we also tried a couple of Barbacco’s soups – a borlotti bean minestra and a broccoli rabe with farro, both of which were very good. During my visit with Antonio we also tried their arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella and peas) and their ascolane (a dish of fried green olives stuffed with a pork mixture that originated from Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche) - I believe both dishes are only found on their evening menu.

Both were superb and paired perfectly with the Il Mio Malvasia from Camillo Donati in Emilia-Romagna that Mauro Cirilli, the Wine Director of Perbacco/Barbacco, recommended. Orange-hued wine? -- why not if it tastes that good!

Seeing the selection of food and wine offered at Barbacco makes me think of a kid with a brand new toy. Having refined their presentation of Piemontese and Northern Italian cuisine at Perbacco, the Perbacco/Barbacco management seems to be having a great time at their new restaurant exploring the cuisine of the rest of the Italian peninsula as suggested on the following map by the origins of the three dishes Antonio and I enjoyed.

We also went to Perbacco last night for dinner with some friends and found that with the opening of Barbacco, the Perbacco salumi misti platter has become both more Piemontese-focused and more extensive. One one hand, it appears that some non-Piemontese selections formerly on that platter (for example the Mortadella and Finocchiona) have moved on to Barbacco, while, on the other hand, the number of products with Piemontese roots has expanded. Here is the impressive lineup we enjoyed:

~ Coppa al Barbera
~ Lardo di Cavour
~ Salam d’la Duja
~ Salame Cotto d’Asti
~ Salame Cuneese
~ Salame della Valle Tortonese
~ Salame di Capra
~ Salciccia di Bra
~ Testa in Casseta di Gavi

I have to do more background research on those, but one real standout for me was the Salciccia di Bra, which I had never heard of before, but is veal-based and similar to a steak tartare. It was really exceptional (in fact I found that it has its own promotional organization and Facebook page!), in particular paired with the wonderful Domenico Clerico Trevigne Barbera d’Alba suggested by Mauro. Bravo!


connie said...

Why stop now? Perhaps a fourth visit is in order when we're up next weekend.

gastronomichael said...

Hi Connie - actually, I have to confess that I have been back twice more this week! Yet another new favorite is their crispy brussel sprouts. We will have to try it! Mike