Mario Batali’s joke on Bill Clinton (and great charcuterie in La Jolla @ArriciaMarket)

Yesterday, Bobby Pascucci (above) shared some of his excellent porchetta di testa (below) with me at his new Ariccia Italian Market in La Jolla.

His testa (pig’s head) brought to mind a salacious tale often retold in New York restaurant circles about President Clinton’s first visit to Babbo.

It’s a little too racy for Do Bianchi but my editors at the Houston Press didn’t bat an eye when I asked them if I could post it there.


Holy cannolo (and Franco’s thoughts on EU reform of the Italian DOC system)

Miracles appear in the strangest of places…

It may be hard to believe but I had what was probably the best cannolo I’ve ever had in… yes, you won’t believe it… in Little Rock, Arkansas where I was traveling for business (cannolo is the singular of cannoli, btw). For me, the cannolo is all about the buccia, the shell. It needs to be firm but light, crunchy but consistent, sweet but not too much so, with just the right amount of savoriness to balance the richness of the cream filling.

I’m not quite sure how they got there, but Santo Sacca (left) from Messina (the front of the house) and chef Rosario Patti from Palermo run a fantastic little Italian restaurant in Little Rock. Some may come close, but their cannolo cannot be beat.

Rosario seasons his excellent pasta mari e monti (sea and mountain) with saffron. It was delicious.

Vesuvio Bistro
1501 Merrill Dr
Little Rock AR 72211

Holy cannolo Bill Clinton! Now it’s time for me to get my butt back to Austin for some holy mole at Polvo’s.

In other news…

A lot of people have asked me about upcoming EU Common Market Organisation reforms whereby the Italian appellation system will be absorbed by the EU, to take effect on August 1. The names and classification of Italian appellations won’t change but the power to issue new appellations will pass from Rome to Brussels. I’ve translated and posted Franco’s editorial at VinoWire, including some useful links. Other alarmist bloggers have claimed erroneously that the CMO reform will wipe out the Italian system. The real question is how EU bureaucrats will deal with requests for new appellations starting in August.