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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 us.
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 "real life."

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.


PESCE FRESCO
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 eyes closed...

This was a remarkably good meal and a delight!

I was due on the other coast by night-fall and I made tracks for Cir˛ 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 Cir˛ Marina.

I 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 Cir˛ Marina.

Tel:  348 762 2299
or
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 called "Efeso."
And then all sorts of seafood appeared...


Neonato with pepper.


Neonato without pepper.


White fish with fava beans.
Simply delicious.

Fried Neonato.


Octopus and Peppers.


I think that's a spinach stuffing for a fish 'mash'...Sort of a seafood 'meatloaf.'


Fritters.

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.

Dessert


Many thanks to the Librandi family for a lovely dinner in a great, down-home trattoria.
Tante Grazie!

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