When I leave the Lunigiana for home, I’m always sad. I miss making lunch plans, then zipping down the windy country roads, darting to the verge to let the big marble trucks pass, skittering off the road to get shots of the little villages as you see below (Fosdinovo, if you must know), then up a big hill to a castled hill town (Castelnuovo di Magra) and finally sitting down to a menu degustazione at Trattoria Armanda, seven courses of pure bliss (€35)
Here’s the menu:
Lardo di Colonnata cone pane di castagne (lardo with chestnut bread)
Frittelli di baccala (cod fritters)
Verdure Ripiene (stuffed zucchini, the best I’ve ever had)
Lattughe ripiene in brodo (lettuce stuffed with meat and herbs in little balls floating in broth, the hit of the show: “Food of the rich from Sarzana and Castelnuovo de Magra,” says the waiter.)
Ravioli di boragine con burro e salvia (ravioli stuffed with a green not unlike nettles, in a butter and sage sauce)
Coniglio disossato e farcito (A deviation from the normal Italian philosophy of few ingredients, boneless rabbit stuffed with three herbs, new potatoes, ham, and lardo with a moistening of wine sauce)
Parfait al limone con salsa di fragola (lemon parfait with strawberry sauce)
Martha reminds me that we ate also two dishes not on the printed menu: Rabbit liver pate on brioche bread with fig jam, and crespelli con asparagi, crepes wrapped around asparagus and melted cheese.
The meal was great. I’m stuffed, ma non troppo. The Map of Castelnuovo shows all, and has information on the Trattoria Armanda. Go, you’ll even like the drive.
We did, and we even got lost…