After a few nail-biting weeks I finally got the boxes of goodies that Adriano Liloni sent to me. I called him in celebration of this happy occasion and had a great time talking with his brother Franco, a chef (head chef?) at Trattoria Pegaso and a scholar of Celtic culture and language as they have affected their section of Lombardy. (Well, it's fascinating to Franco and me.)
Back to business. Here is a partial inventory; as we consume more of this stuff, I will be reporting it to you. The great thing is that most of the items are rare to nonexistent on the American market today, so we will be eating and drinking a little bit like real Italians.
And if the Trevisani wine we tried last night is any indication, these are going to be pretty damned nice voyages of discovery. (More about that later.)
Welcome to New York
What arrived unscathed
* a big chunk of Bagoss, a cheese from the Garda region that looks like a high-quality Gouda, dark golden and firm (it's still vacuum sealed, so no sense of the smell or taste yet)
* a mammoth chunk of 50 month old Parmigiano
* a large soppressata, air-cured of course (by whom, I do not know--Adriano, tell me, old boy)
* three kinds of artisanal olive oil, one from Garda (Martelli), one from Calabria (Timpa dei Lupi) and another from Sicily (Candilia, with a hang tag telling me "good with fish")
* Zaccaria riso di Sant'Andrea -- a kg of organic rice that Adriano implored me to make with melted Bagoss
* Gianni Caloquiri vincotto, a condiment with a strong orange flavor
* and wine, baby, wine: Trevisani's Due Querce and their Bali' (chardonnay 80%, rest sauvignon blanc), Albani's Vigne della Casona 2001 (made from Barbera and some Croatina and Uva Rara) -- DOC Oltrepo' Pavese, which simply means "on the other side of the Po from Pavia"
* Grappa from Traminer grapes by Francesco Poli (interesting distinction, from Traminer!)
* Liquirizia di Calabria -- liquorice aperitif by Distillerie Franciacorta
* a can of Italian Coke (ah ah ah, Adriano)
This was a well-timed care package, I must say.
What arrived scathed
A couple of items got a bit messed up in transit. The main problem was the onion mustard by Luccini, which somehow became unscrewed. This in turn irremediably stained several of the dozen "slow food" t-shirts (new edition! sea food on the front, the same damned hamburger on the back) that Adriano used to wrap the goodies in. But I will be handing some of the unscathed ones to lucky members of my inner circle.
In my next post I will tell you about the lovely Trevisani Due Querce 2004, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Note that Adriano and his fellow "Subversives of Taste" have a goal: to bring high-quality foods and wines to people at a reasonable price. More details to come on what these items cost in Italy and, I hope, what they might cost in the USA.
Note too that Google searches don't yield a lot of information about most of these small, often family-run "aziende agricole." We're among the first to discover them in the States.