Food, Wine & Friends Page 169
A DAY IN CALABRIA
I flew to the Lamezia airport on the west coast of
Calabria, rented a car and set out for a couple of winery visits.
The wines of the Odoardi family are a recent discovery for
Most red wine is produced in the appellations of Scavigna and Savuto. They
are the sole proprietor of Scavigna-designated wines and make about 60% of the
Savuto appellation wine on the market.
The Odoardi brothers have about 95 hectares of vineyards and even more land
devoted to olives.
Gregorio Odoardi's schooling was in medicine and he's a radiologist in
Gregorio is mighty proud of the vineyards and winery. And he's
totally smitten with the lab...
We got into Odoardi's wagon and he drove around the various
terraced hillsides, showing off their vineyards.
We're quite close to the sea.
"ARE YOU HUNGRY ??"
Gregorio posed this question and so we motored down
the coast road through a couple of small towns to the town of Gizzeria.
18 Via Nazionale Strada Statale
88040 Gizzeria (CZ)
Tel: (0968) 466 200
This is one of those places where the locals dine and tourists might pass up.
We stepped inside to find a rather formal dining room and the place was, at 2:30
on a Tuesday afternoon, quite busy.
Gregorio ordered a bottle of his white wine...
We opted for a main plate of pasta with seafood (Pesce Fresco, remember?) and
then a small seafood marathon of antipasti arrived.
Calabria, it turns out, is a mecca for red onions...
Some seafood "fritters"
And, finally, the plate of seafood pasta we ordered.
But, of course, in Italy, pasta precedes the main course.
Some sort of fish...Neonata (baby fish...anchovies? Sardines?)
Our waiter is Fabbio Vescio and he explained each dish to us.
Gregorio was anxious for me to try a Calabrian "tartufo" and this and
some other dessert arrived along with his sweet wine.
Fabbio is so good, he can make a dynamite espresso with his
This was a remarkably good meal and a delight!
I was due on the other coast by night-fall and I made tracks for Cirò Marina on
the other side of Calabria.
The drive was delightful, the GPS machine directing me through a Parco
Nazionale called Sila.
There was even a bit of snow still on the ground, despite temperatures on either
coast being in the 70s!
I found myself driving up the coast as night fell, crossing
through the Val di Neto, into the town of Melissa and then Cirò Marina.
was meeting Paolo Librandi of Calabria's esteemed Cantina Librandi.
We were meeting a couple of fellows from Librandi's American importing company,
Winebow, along with Paolo's Pop, Nicodemo and his future sister-in-law.
The venue was one of those particular, sort of off-the-beaten-path locales which
might not be in the guide books, but it's well known to the neighbors.
Sasa is a fisherman himself and there are a half a dozen fish mongers along the
same street (adjacent to the marina).
If he or the neighbors catch some fish, he'll open the restaurant.
If they have bad luck that day, you're out of luck, too.
The restaurant is closed.
In searching for the precise address and information on the internet, you'll likely
come up empty.
That's how below-the-radar this place is.
It's on the Via Lungomare in Cirò Marina.
Tel: 348 762 2299
339 585 8796
We sat down at the table and Paolo Librandi immediately
filled everyone's wine glass.
We began with Librandi's white wine made of Mantonico
And then all sorts of seafood appeared...
Neonato with pepper.
Neonato without pepper.
White fish with fava beans.
Octopus and Peppers.
I think that's a spinach stuffing for a fish 'mash'...Sort of a seafood
The chef then presented us with a plate of simply cooked fish...
Things got "serious" when bottles of Magno
Megonio were opened...
Mikey from Joisey knows Librandi is Numbah One.
Frank from Winebow knows Leonardo Locasio as "Number One."
Meanwhile, Paolo says it's his Pop who's Numero Uno.
The Pescatore, Bevitore, Mangiatore & Venditore.
Many thanks to the Librandi family for a lovely dinner in a great, down-home
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