Thursday, October 30, 2014

Verona, 2: da carello

Villafranca di Verona, October 30, 2014—
THREE CARTS came to our table tonight, but no menu. It's that kind of restaurant. You wouldn't have known it from the dining room: very big, seating perhaps two hundred, very high ceilings, ornate hangings. But this is one of those Italian answers to the Argentine churrasceria, very much a carnivore's paradise.

You see our waiter here, a pleasant, capable, well-informed boy who introduced us to the two sides of his carello di carne: bollito, boiled, includin chicken, tongue, beef, ham, and a cotechino sausage; arrosto, with veal, another ham, and pork. I had the latter.

With the meat, a tray of garnishes: green sauce made of parsley, garlic, and olive oil; mostardas (those savory Italian chutneys) of pickled melon or citrus rind; horseradish, red pepper sauce, minced shallot.

The vegetable cart offered spinach, onions, celery root, mashed potatoes, zucchini, and something else — I forget at the moment. I had spinach, of course, and onions — delicious braised cipollini. All these vegetables seemed to lack any added flavors — salt, sugar, herbs — they simply tasted of themselves, innocent, good.

Dessert cart: Tiramisù, apple cake, chocolates, hazelnut biscuits, crema di zabaglione, custards, almonds in syrup, and several bowls of cooked fruit: prunes, pears in red wine, sliced oranges, macedonia… I know that again I'm forgetting several. I had a biscuit and several prunes, nicely flavored with clove and red wine.

It was a long and pleasant dinner — not the sort you'd want every day; perhaps not even every week; but certainly once a month or so. I'd come back here any time. Not tomorrow.

Corvino, Masi, Brolio Campofiorin "oro", 2010: deep, fruity, sober

•Ristorante Cavour, Via Cavour, 40; Dossobuono (VR); +39 045 513038

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