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