Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Affetati Misti and St. Maure

In one of my nightmares, I am looking at a menu and I can't read it at all. All the words keep shifting around on the page and I'm horribly frustrated because until I can read the menu, I won't be allowed to order anything.

"It's very important that we start to learn all the names for the food," I said recently, in reference to an upcoming trip to Italy. "Extensive food research is necessary..."

I'm not planning on staring hopelessly at an empty plate just because I can't figure out what nepitella or carciofi con salsa d'acciughe is...

We recently bought a charming little guide called A Taste of Tuscany (one of those Eyewitness Travel guides that I like so much because I love the pictures) to help us cram.
"Cinta Senese pigs," I read from the book, "are a very old local breed with a long history in the area's art as well as its cuisine. Hmmm... mmmm... The pigs graze freely on tubers, roots, truffles and acorns... hmmmm... mmmm..."

A plate of lovely assorted salumi and cured meat is called "affettati misti"-- I'll be looking for that on the menu.

Meantime, here is our local version of the affettati misti with Fra'Mani Soppressata, some nice slices of Salame Gentile and a little bit of the Toscano in the back. Cheeses are Parmagiano Reggiano and St. George from the Matos Family.

We read that the young Vernaccia di San Gimignano is ideal with cured meats and lo! it's true...

For dessert, a St. Maure from the Pasta Shop in Oakland. It's still not the sinfully good St. Maure that oozed its way into our hearts at L'Ardoise in Paris.

"Oh, well, it's not going to be THAT," said the woman at the cheese counter who carved us a sample. "But it's not bad."

I poked at it experimentally with a fingertip, and sighed. Pasteurized probably. It had some give, but it wasn't ever going to be waterbed runny... Still, she was right, it wasn't bad. and the brainy wrinkled rind was quite delicious and not a hint of ammonia.

I grant you, it's all very tasty, but the kitties demand their young raw milk cheeses or they will become very cross...

Don't make a kitty cross...

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