It may have been the interior design. Or the serious wine collection that rests quietly in the back of the dining room. Or the wine list packed with Campania…packed with Irpinia’s finest. Maybe the books on the shelf…cookbooks by chefs with familiar names and faces. Or the menu, based on baccala…or in English-cod. Or maybe a combination of all of these things that had me return to Antonio Petrillo’s La Corte dei Filangieri less than a week after I shook hands with Petrillo in the garden of his wine restaurant.
La Corte dei Filangieri is located in Candida in the Avellino province. Petrillo’s hometown. And where he believed would be the perfect to set up a place where he could share a common passion...his love of wine and food. A love that led him to become a sommelier. Open up a wine bar with a small menu. And slowly, over a few short years, La Corte expanded into a wine restaurant. Petrillo added to the wine list…added to the menu. Evolving, evolving, evolving like the Taurasis that he has on the shelves behind the counter.
So back for the second time for lunch on the terrace in the garden alongside fragoline grapes. A lunch that would reintroduce me to baccala.
An introduction that began with a polpettina di baccala. Petrillo sits down and we share a brief conversation about Irpinia wines, about Irpinia whites. He steps away for a moment and then returns with a bottle of Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2008-Guido Marsella. He opens it up table side and pours me a glass of Irpinia as more appetizers arrive.
An insalatina di baccala, thin slices which shared a plate with olives, with peppers, with fresh lettuce. Then parmagiana di melanzane and frigitelli con patate. A small break from baccala, but we stayed in the region as I was served homemade fusilli. Fusilli made in Irpinia complete with a fresh tomato sauce and crema di bufala grated on top.
Antonio wants you to try another first, Karmen who along Lidia were on hand with Antonio that afternoon, tells me. So much for a ‘lite lunch’, I smile to myself.
Cechiatelli all’ortolana…once again fresh pasta, but this time served with sautéed summer vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes. Vegetables that after sautéed in a pan had been tossed with the warm pasta creating creaminess that only required a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top. And it was ‘lite’. Summertime on a plate.
Back to baccala. I could have chosen fried. Or alla petercanegna with sweet cruschi pepppers. I could have tried baccala arrechenato with tomatoes. Instead...baccala that had been wrapped in a lemon leaf and grilled. Then once again, that light touch of olive oil that did not cover the flavor, but complemented. Complemented, completed, and made whole my day at La Corte just like the interior design. Just like the wine list and cookbooks with familiar faces on the cover.
Just like this menu rich in baccala.
As rich as my chocolate mousse dessert topped with fresh berries picked not too far from my table in the garden.
La Corte dei Filangieri
Via Fontanelle, 4
0825 98 64 14