Jenny Auriemma, sommelier and part owner of La Locanda di Bu…a Michelin star Restaurant located in Nusco (Av). Mesáli, I learned, is an association of restaurants in Irpinia who have teamed together to promote the territory through its products and fantastic cucina…Jenny handed me a guide about a year ago when I met her and husband Chef Antonio Pisaniello for the first time. A guide packed with the names and addresses of some of the top restaurants in the Avellino region.
Fast forward about 13 months. The Mesáli Association has a new guide packed with professionals ready to introduce me to my Campania-Irpinia style, through recipes, culture, and customs. Once again, Jenny steps in, asking me if I would like to attend an event which would focus on not only on the book, but on the territory that I have become affectionately attached to over the last few of years.
The scene, Country Sport Complesso in Avellino. Poolside…Twelve restaurants ready to share their stories, their culture, their dishes in a grande buffet on an unusually cool summer evening.
Between assaggi of appetizers, first courses and desserts, I did my best to get around to everyone…say hello, try a dish, and enjoy the spirit of the evening. The spirit of the evening…a spirit that wasn’t meant to last for only few hours. A spirit shared with Amazing Appetizers such as Axx 150 3 colori per Italia-a tomato tartar with a basil sauce and topped with pecorino ice cream-La Locanda di Bu. A Parmigiana zeppola on a bed of tomatoes and basil by Oasis Sapori Antichi. Other dishes that I managed to get my hands on were La Ripa’s Regno delle due Sicilie-an eggplant timballo with Vesuvius tomatoes and melanzania perlina. A hamburger crudo, raw, with montoro onions, carmansciano cheese , star anise, and guanciale
all’aglianico-Villa Assunta . Fantastic firsts? Fusilli rustichelli con baccala, spring onions from Oasi Sapori Antichi. A canneloni bean soup by Valleverde and Cannazze Calitrane by La Locanda del Arco. And when it came time for desserts, there was a little space for il croccantino from Antica Trattoria Di Pietro, a Bianco di yogurt and rosa amarena-La Locanda di Bu, Dolcemara arancia-L’Incanto, Magnum di Ravece-Villa Assunta, and a final ‘toast’ with Rocco Rafaniello’s mini chocolate cake from La Ripa.
That evening I discovered that Mesáli’s guide is not just a list of restaurants. It is an invitation. An invitation to Irpinia. A region that I know well for its wine. And here it was …inviting all me to discover its recipes, prodotti tipici, its chefs.
A challenge? It’s nice to discover that there is a lot to discover…
And why not?
Antica Trattoria Di Pietro dal 1934
Corso Italia, 8 // Melito Irpino (AV)
Ristorante La Pergola
Via Freda, 4 // Gesualdo (AV)
Oasis Antichi Sapori
Via Provinciale, 6 // Vallesaccarda (AV)
Tel. 0825/97444 – 97021
La Locanda di Bu
Vico dello Spagnuolo, 1 // Nusco (AV)
Tel. & Fax 0827/64619
Antica Trattoria Martella
Via Chiesa Conservatorio, 10 // Avellino
Ristorante La Pignata
Viale dei Tigli, 7 // Ariano Irpino (AV)
Osteria del Gallo e della Volpe
Piazza Umberto, 1 // Ospedaletto d'Alpinolo (AV)
Via del Municipio, 30 // Sant'Andrea di Conza (AV)
Via Pianodardine, 112 // Atripalda (AV)
Villa Assunta Ristorante e Cantine
Via Capo di Gaudio // Mirabella Eclano (AV)
Tel. 0825/476169 Cell. 3392515010
La Locanda dell'Arco
Via dell'Arco di Zampaglione, 1/3/5 // Calitri (AV)
Tel. 0827/310951 Cell. 346 7235766
La Ripa Ristorante Museo
Borgo Medievale // Rocca San Felice (AV)
Tel. 0827/215023 Cell. 347 2389097 – 393 9453762