It wasn’t until day six of my first trip to Italy in more than a year and a half that I was finally able to sit down with my bromance Giovanni Arcari for a proper dinner.
We went to our favorite restaurant in Franciacorta, Dispensa Pani e Vini, where we literally laughed so hard that we cried. Man, it had been so long since that had happened. It felt great.
The next morning we headed up to Lake Iseo for an aperitivo before I headed back to Piedmont to teach the next day at Slow Food U.
And it was there that Giovanni turned me on to one of his favorite spots: Darsena 21, a converted boathouse (darsena means dock in Italian).
Those are anchovies from Cantabria, Spain. They are all the rage at the moment in Italy. Nearly every day I’ve been here, I’ve eaten them in one form or another.
Darsena 21 owner Daniele Scotti prides himself on using olive oil-cured Cantabrian anchovies. He said that most of the filets you get are cured in sunflower oil. I have to say that these were the best so far. He served these with a side of stracciatella di Andria, the chunky filling used for the famous burrata of Andria, Puglia. Wow… That dish was incredible.
The “Pès and Chips” is made with fresh cod (pès is Brescia dialect for pesce or fish).
I’ll probably never be able to wrap my mind around the fact that the American club sandwich has become ubiquitous in northern Italy. The difference between theirs and ours is that they use much higher quality ingredients. The bread, bacon, and mayonnaise alone would be worth the price of admission!
Delicious. Great hangover comfort food (not that we were hungover!).
And dulcis in fundo, some geese stopped by to say hello and forage for a French fry or two.
Daniele is a legendary mixologist around those parts. The next I’m up that way, I plan to hit up the brunch and his Bloody Mary.
If and when you make it to Lake Iseo in Franciacorta (and I sincerely hope that you’ll make the trip because it’s worth it), check it out. You won’t regret it. Tell ’em I sent you!