This is a Pugliese seafood speciality restaurant in Piedmont which in geographical terms is the vague equivalent of finding a Cornish pasty shop in Aberdeen. It is in the small village of Pecetto in the hills above Turin (which claims to produce the best cherries in Italy).
The establishment is run by a family from Puglia (more can be gleaned from their website also see more about the tradition of Pugliese cooking.)
The fish and seafood is claimed by the locals to be very fresh and fresh it certainly was. Oddly enough, in Northern Italy, fresh fish apparently does not come flopping in from e.g. Genoa in the West or Venice in the East, but oddly enough from Milan of all places, where there is the Northern Italian version of Billingsgate market.
The service by the young daughter was charming and we dived into a sort of seafood antipasti which did not disappoint. This was followed by various other mixed seafood dishes, which I prefer to straight fish and were absolutely delish, if somewhat filling.
The establishment actually produces it own wine, although I tried some Pugliese in keeping with the cuisine.
As the evening progressed, we were approached by the lady of the house (see website) who wore a strange hat and a full-length shroud-like garment. Her stern demeanour and glistening eyes suggested that she could gut a shark using no hands at 40 paces. As this 'angel of death' approached, I waited with some apprehension until she drew up to a gentle halt in front of her table and broke into a beautiful smile. She then purred in a lovely soft voice, enquiring about our preferences for dessert.
Maybe it was the copious draughts of earthy Pugliese wine that I had been quaffing; maybe it was pure relief at not having been filleted alive, but my attention turned towards wondering just what lacy Italian weapons of mass seduction she bore beneath her mysterious shroud. Swiftly rapping my mental knuckles, I addressed the question at hand and bade her halt when she got to the ice cream. I asked for 'tutti' (not as in 'tutti-frutti', but as in 'gimme one of each please, doll'). Miraculously understanding my sparse and well-wined Italian, she smiled disarmingly and replied 'Mista' (not as in 'Geezer' but as in 'Mixture').
She returned shortly thereafter bearing the work of art in the photograph.
Wow! Nuff said
If that is Pugliese cuisine, my next trip takes me down South to check out more.
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