Tonight I’ll be in Friuli (more on that later) but the weekend between the two working legs of this trip was spent in Padua, as a guest in the lovely home of my wonderful friends Sita and Steve, whom I’ve known since I was a junior at the Università di Padova (remember them [click and scroll down]?).
Sita knows how much I love and miss the horse meat of my beloved Veneto (more on that later) from my days as a grad student in Italy and so she prepared a wonderful dinner of horse meat for us on Friday night.
Steve knows how much I love the tannic white wines of Carso and so he grabbed a bottle of 2007 Zidarich Vitovska from his Eurocave. As it turns out, Sita’s uncle was the architect who designed the Zidarich winery!
The first course was horse meat salamino, ripe olives cured in olive oil, and taralli.
Next came my FAVORITE: sfilacci di cavallo, cured and shredded horse meat, dressed with olive oil and lemon and served with griddle-fried polenta. The horse meat bresaola and raw figs were equally delicious.
As the Vitovska came to room temperature and gently aerated in the glass, its tannic structure began to reveal itself. The floral notes on the nose and the mineral character of this wine blew my mind, so unbelievably good.
Sita really outdid herself with this spezzateino di puledro, pony and horse meat sausage stew, served over polenta (of course).
Horse meat became popular in Italy and France in the 1960s as an affordable source of protein for young families. Today, the Veneto is the only place I know of where it’s common to find horse meat butchers.
By the end of the meal, the Vitovska had opened up gloriously, the white fruit (apple and pear) singing to the rhythm of the wine’s acidity and tannin.
An acoustic guitar was produced and dutifully tuned and a chorus of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and some ubriaco brushed with Prosecco must made for the ideal coda to a meal of happy memories shared with good friends.