When I arrived, the shop was bustling with activity. No problem, I made myself comfortable and sat on a wicker chair in the corner...the one with the soft red pillow...and soaked in a bit of la vita quotidiano, everyday life. A housewife picking up a few cuts of meat and a few recipe tips. Another customer interested in making meatballs that evening waited patiently for freshly ground beef right on the spot. The door continuously opened and closed by Carrabs' s clients; regulars, and first timers like me who didn't mind spending a little time Saturday morning shopping.
But why here?Why not? Mario smiled as he showed me photos on the wall dating back to 1913. Photos of animals including a special breed known as mucca podolica. Mario shared with me that Gesualdo was (and still is) famous for their animal fairs that lasted from may all the way through September. Merchants, customers and onlookers would come from nearby regions to purchase the best livestock around. He took me outside and pointed to an apartment house down the street. It used to be one of the many taverns set up for travellers who needed a place to stay and something to eat. Each had its own Irpinian specialty on the menu; lambs brain, mugliatelli which is a cooked little 'package' of lamb intestines, and soffritto
Villa Assunta. Salamis and cheese. My eyes couldn't help but go to the side of the shop where Mario had his specialty hanging. Guanciale di maiale all'Aglianico, pigs cheek cured with Aglianico wine.
Mario left me for a moment to cut some more steak, but not before a mini lesson on Irpinia's amazing cheese. Virginia prepared three for me to try...
With all this tasting going on, Mario suggested I open up a bottle of wine. Carrabs, a sommelier for a little over 10 years, has a small but fierce selection of wines from Irpinia and nearby Basilicata. He handed me a glass, a corkscrew, a bottle of Antelio Aglianico del Vulture 2008 by Azienda Agricola Camerlegno, and went back to work.
Macelleria Mario Carrabs di Mario Carrabs
Via Campo S.Leonardo, 1- 83040 - Gesualdo (AV)