Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Agriturismo

When you go to another city, there's usually one meal in particular that you remember. Maybe it was super-delicious, maybe you had great service, or maybe the venue was spectacular.
The local ristorante agriturismo at Paderno del Grappa had all three of those qualities.
If you're not familiar with the term, a ristorante agriturismo is a combination of agriculture and tourism that provides people with lodging in a rural area and food that's predominately from the establishment's farm. Think of it as a bed and breakfast with incredibly fresh food.
I was eager to experience this unique part of Italy's dining and tourism culture, so at the end of our first full week of classes at CIMBA the entire group dressed up and piled into a Tonka-sized bus for a harrowing ride up the Italian mountainside. When we arrived at the top of the hill, we walked inside a little brown house and immediately soaked in the warm atmosphere and the smell of sausages being grilled.

Heaping piles of bread and liters of water and wine awaited us as well all took our seats. After meeting the owners and the grillmaster, we had a little bit of downtime before the courses came rolling out of the kitchen.
Our first round was a deliciously creamy pasta with cheese and vegetables...

Shortly afterwards we were treated to the most mouthwatering gnocchi I've ever had in my entire life...

In a light sauce with mouthwatering veal, this melt-in-your-mouth dish is something I would buy a plane ticket back to Italy for. I wonder if they cater...
After a quick few courses of salad and french fries (paying homage to our heritage, I expect), the meat trays started to appear.

Piles of grilled polenta, ribs, steaks, and sausages. 

It all tasted delicious, but the sausage was my favorite part. 
Since some members of the party chose to fill up on wine early in the meal, Emily, Patricia, and I ended up with three full trays of meat at our end of the table. Which was perfectly alright with us!
After everyone had their fill, the owners brought out three bottles of Prosecco and a huge cake to celebrate the four birthdays that were occurring during the two-week trip. The rest of the evening died down with drinks and laughs.

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