Each region of Italy has its own way of preparing food. The traditional dishes of the Abruzzo are different than those of Lazio or Tuscany, for example. But a region—or even a sub-region like la Lunigiana—can have a whole different way of eating. The antipasto course consists of a single plate in many regions, and is almost nonexistent in others.
The Antipasto course as served in the Lunigiana is flat out the best in Italy, according to my taste buds. And those at Hotel Ristorante da Remo might be the best of the best.
You see, in the Lunigiana you don’t look at a list of “small plates” to choose an appetizer. No, the “waitperson” comes over to you and usually asks if you’d like antipasti or if you’d like to hear about the pastas being prepared that night. If you say you’d like antipasti, you’re done with ordering that course. You needn’t say more. The table will start filling with plates upon which are set the most delectable morsels of local delicacies imaginable. First you’ll get some cold food, then tepid, the fried, then hot…
And this will continue for quite some time. Plates will be removed and more plates and platters will come to replace them.
Which is why we don’t have pictures of the entire deal.
It all stops when you are full to the brim, but then you remember you’ve ordered a pasta or a secondo piatto.
That’s the second plate I ordered. Beautiful, no? It’s not a tasteless chicken breast; it’s a slab of young pecorino cheese grilled with lardo and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I know that makes you feel a bit woozy, but it was quite tasty. Not a bad lunch at all.
Except now it’s dinner time now and I’m not hungry a bit…