Where I come from, the wine I drink comes from somewhere else. Around here, the wine they drink comes from around here. Vineyards everywhere. Wine production is local, in small batches and large batches, quaffing wine, slurping wine, sipping wine, wines that go with your food just right, wines you want to contemplate and appreciate and gently guzzle.
Local legend has it that the Sangiovese wine (meaning “blood of Jove”) got its name from some monks in Santarcangelo di Romagna. Tuscans might take issue, referring to first mention of the wine in the 1590 writings of Giovanvettorio Soderini. It’s a quibble. Who cares? I love the idea of monks getting tipsy, and I love the ceramic billboard (shown above, “Sangiovese was born in Santarcangelo”) you’ll see when you walk around Santarcangelo di Romagna. Mostly, I love the pour.
A word about pronunciation: Sangiovese, san-joe-VAY-zay.
A few days ago in Santarcangelo we had lunch at Trattoria del Passatore. Our server offered us new Sangiovese, a young wine; not the novello, Italy’s version of the nouveau, this was a wine just a few months older than novello. He said in a few more months the wine would grow up and become the restaurant’s regular table wine–what comes by the glass or in a pitcher or carafe in quarter or half liter quantities–at a ridiculously low price.
Among other things, among MANY other things, we come to Italy for the wine.
We come to Passatore for the food.
The pasta, in particular. This day we ordered ravioli con le rosole. Rosole are leaves from very young poppy plants. Inside these delightful little ravioli pillows: ricotta, grated parmigiano, and nutmeg. The sauce consists of a little butter and a gentle saute of the greens. The grated cheese you see, formaggio di fosse, a sheep or cows milk cheese aged in a cave.
Also on the table, passatelli con crema di porcini e tartufo nero (passatelli with porcini mushroom cream sauce with black truffle). Like cappelletti, passatelli are served dry (asciutti) and in broth. Delicious either way.
So much variety. We swing both ways–pasta asciutta and pasta in brodo. You can look forward to a soup meal or two on the October 2020 trip.
Yesterday we chanced on a new place in Rimini, Osteria Io e Simone. How charming is that? Osteria me and Simon. We’ve walked past this corner many times in the past, noticing the wine bar and crowds of gioventu (young people) outside. As chance would have it, our wine bar of choice is closed and changing ownership, so we needed a new place. Inside, we had a long chat with the fellow in charge of the pour. A glass of local, for 4 euros. Very satisfying. And a restaurant recommendation, right next door. That would be Osteria Io e Simone.
Staying with the current theme, showing you “primi piatti” (dishes you start with) here are two more pastas we might find on the menu when we travel. First up, cappellacci di zucca al burro e salvia and second, tagliatelle al ragu di coniglio.
Cappellacci–the word means ugly old hats (whereas cappelletti are little hats). These cappellacci have a sweet squash filling. Served with butter and sage. Delicate and interesting.
With those tagliatelle (pronounced tal–yah-TELL-ay), immediately above, is a rabbit ragu. Hold on, now. I know Americans tend to recoil from rabbit as food. They’re little and cuddly and cute. You might think: It’s like eating a baby. Think again.. At this point in our trip, we are on our sixth pasta dish, and the rabbit wins paws down. I’m joking. But I’m not joking. Tagliatelle with rabbit ragu is amazing. I won’t make anyone eat anything they don’t want. But I hope you will consider trying a rabbit roast or a hunters rabbit (cacciatore) or a rabbit ragu.
Autumn time and the eating is easy. Shown below, Santarcangelo.