One day we will drink together, communally sharing the warm feeling of hot coffee, grappa, and cinnamon in our tummies. LA GROLLA DELL’AMICIZIA is this wooden carafe from Valle d'Aosta that stays true to its meaning of commensality. Its purpose is for all Italian friends or family to pass around and drink from, each from their own spout. What could possibly be more loving than this? Or maybe not so. Whats interesting about this vessel is that you open the top, pour in the liquid, and set it on fire. The alcohol must burn out before drinking, although the residual bit is still good too.
Fondu of Fontina Valdostana is, without ruining your desire to try it, so stinky. It's funky and I wish I liked it, really I do but I can't bring myself to enjoy. It's an important DOP cheese and it's made only from the black or red Pezzata cows in the alpines. Along with that, you have over sixteen varieties of bacteria helping aide the aging process for three months and then, whats more, it gets buried in rock with high levels of humidity. I think I have you sold right? It's a great cheese, truly, and it works well with crusty, fluffy bread to dip. Just in case you don't like, make sure the pot is in the center of the table.
The Raviolo di Uovo is not for sharing. Everyone gets their own. I get my own. I confess that I had two of these today, and it's one of the best pasta meals I have had ever. Chef Odette Fada has "perfected" the raviolo after two decades of trial and error. The ricotta so creamy and smooth, perfect saltiness, pasta dough tender and bright yellow, and then the egg yolk that creates a natural sauce had me wanting my second piece before I finished the first. Also, running up to get the second one was a bit sneaky. It's like a plump pouch of all evil- everything bad for the cholesterol- and I suppose good for my mood.
Every day we eat these large meals that end with a little something sweet. Baci di Dama (Lady's Kisses) are petite, delicate hazelnut cookies that have a little crunch and then melt in your mouth right away. Piemonte is famous for its nocciola spread- Nutella- and a little is smeared between these domed shaped baci for a quick treat. When Napoleon taxed chocolate in the 1800s, factories began to add hazelnut flour to their chocolate to stretch the quantity of their product. And so out of this came the Gianduia, the next thing I want to try! Nutella is so unobtrusive to anything you eat it with which is why no one ever wants to share it.