Bruce White (Member of Slow Food Brisbane) offers us a virtual taste of Pescara, Abruzzo.
For more about Bruce’s tours and travel experiences please visit his site: www.wineandfoodtraveller.com
Slow Food Osteria’ d’Italia – Taverna 58, Pescara.
Taverna 58 is a very traditional Osteria, opened in1980, and has quite literally a wall of Slow Food awards.
What a find! This restaurant, in the old part of Pescara, is so atmospheric and offers a wonderful menu in the true tradition of the Slow Food Osterias, where the food is prepared traditionally and lovingly from the best local produce. The restaurant has a warm ambience that is evocative of a previous time. In fact, in the cellar of the restaurant there are some Roman structures, artefacts and mosaics dating back to the 2nd-3rd century B C from the town of Ostia Aterni, previously known as Aternum.
The menu finds the right balance between tradition and innovation. The antipasti that we tasted included I pesci di montagna (trout), La trippa alla Di Sipio (tripe in tomato sauce with shavings of Pecorino), Polenta di ceci e baccalà al rosmarino dolce (Castelvecchio chickpeas made into a polenta and baccala with sweet rosemary), or Il patè di papera muta (pate of Muscovy duckling). The strong ties with local tradition can be tasted in the main courses like La pecora della Majella al tegame (Majella mutton in the pot) and Le lumachel di terra alla diavola (snails in spicy tomato sauce).
The mutton used to prepare La pecora della Majella al tegame is from the Majella National Park. This dish is reminiscent, albeit in a more “appetizing” way, of the meals eaten by the shepherds particularly during the transumanza** from the mountains of Abruzzo down to the plains of Puglia and back. The story goes that the shepherds couldn’t kill the lambs because they were too valuable so they preferred to kill the older sheep that were probably nearing exhaustion from the journey, without much condition. In fact, this dish was considered a delicacy; it was simply simmered in water, with salt and aromatic herbs chosen along the wayside, until it became tender and tastier than lamb.
**The transumanza is an annual trek between the high pastures in summer and the low pastures in winter. In the 17th century there were five million sheep and thirty thousand shepherds that walked the paths from Abruzzo to Puglia! Today they use trucks!