The mystery of the White Lady resolved

When Céline, the band, and I returned to La Dama Bianca on our way back to Venice to lunch with our friend Marco Fantinel, we were served these delicious paccheri (homemade ring-shaped pasta) with shrimp and squid.

My post the other day on La Dama Bianca in Duino (Italy Day 7) generated a tide of comments, including a number of messages from fellow fans/lovers of the the restaurant/hotel: it’s one of those truly magical places and once you’ve been, you count the days until you can return (Céline Dijon liked it so much that we decided to stop there for lunch on our way back from Slovenia).

Céline (left), the band, and I met Marco (right) on our way back to Venice. The weather was beautiful and the food… ah… the food at La Dama Bianca always puts you in a good mood.

Pierpaolo from Trieste wrote:

    The name “Dama bianca” came from a legend, inspired by a white rock that, seen from the sea, it seems a female figure wrapped in a long veil. The legend tells of the evil owner of the old castle of Duino (today only ruins) during the Middle Ages, who threw his wife from a precipice and God, moved to mercy by the shouts of the “pure” lady, transformed her into stone before touching the water.

Thanks, Pieropaolo, for resolving the mystery.

Simona author of Briciole also pointed me to this Wikipedia entry on Duino.

I’m not quite sure the origin of paccheri (see photo at top), although I know that some believe the pasta shape was created to smuggle garlic cloves. Maybe Simona can help us to resolve the paccheri mystery…

Italy Day 7: Words cannot describe the way I feel…

…about La Dama Bianca in Duino near Trieste.

Scallops on the shell were divine. Note how they chef left the scallop’s tasty “foot” attached.

On Monday, April 7, Céline (vox aka Verena Wiesendanger), Bonnie (vox, violin aka Emily Welsch), and Jean-Luc (vox, bass aka Dan Crane) arrived at the Venice airport and we headed north to Duino, a little lost-in-time village just south of Trieste along the Adriatic coast. We had a reservation for dinner and an over-night stay at what is simply one of the most delightful hotel/restaurants I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

La Dama Bianca (The White Lady) is a family-owned seafood restaurant with just five single rooms on the second floor: the father does the fishing, the mother does the cooking, and the son serves as sommelier (and his list is a wonderful romp through Carso, Collio, and Colli Orientali).

Lost in time: the Dama Bianca has remained seemingly unchanged since the 1960s, as has the village of Duino. The rooms, each with a sea-view terrace, were spartan but immaculately clean and after six days of traveling and wine fairs, the gentle rhythm of the tide against the breakwater lulled me to sleep like a baby.

One of the chef’s signatures was the combination of two types of seafood in every dish, like these sautéed shrimp served with baby sea scallops.

When I told Dario that we wanted to drink a Vodopivec Vitovska with our our main course — scorfano (scorpion fish) in cartoccio (en papillote or in parchment paper) — he produced no less than four vintages. On his recommendation, we drank the 2003, which was beautiful, oxidized, with fruit notes as golden as the color of the wine (below).

2003 Vodopivec Vitovska.

It was dusk when we arrived at the small breakwater and harbor. A gentleman was fishing and enjoying the “golden hour.”

An auto-timer of Jean-Luc, Bonnie, Céline, and me (Calvino di Maggio, detto Cal d’Hommage).

Albergo Dama Bianca
Frazione Duino, 61/C
34011 Duino Aurisina (TS)
040 208137

Stay tuned for Slovenia Day 1!