Courmayeur, September 29—
IF YOU HAVEN'T traveled in Italy, and maybe even if you have, you may not understand the appeal of lardo. The word itself is somewhat off-putting, perhaps especially to those of us who remember cans of lard standing at the kitchen stove.
But lardo colonnato, as I' probably wrong in thinkiing it's called, is an extraordinary thing. Pure pork fat is salted and aged in a stone basin under a weight, sometimes with a subtle flavoring — a bay leaf, say. And the lardo d'Arnad of the Valle d'Aosta is not to be neglected.
As you see, it came with lightly candied chestnuts and a couple of slices of brown bread with honey. It was truly memorable: silky, solid, delicate. The waiter suggested it's the water here makes it so good; this lardo is allowed to bathe, making its texture piu morbido, its flavor clean and pure.
Afterward, a cotoletta valdostana, because it used to be a favorite thing for me to make at home: a thin boneless scallopine, covered with prosciutto, then cheese. I used to use Fontina; this tasted more like Emmental. It was first-rate and huge and came with lots of vegetables.
White wine in carafe
Ristorante-Pizzeria du Tunnel, via Circumvallazione 80, Courmayeur; 0165/841705