This was yesterday’s lunch menu at the ‘Circolo dei Forestieri’ restaurant and bar in Bagni di Lucca Villa:
In case you weren’t sure what the items meant or looked like here goes:
Primi piatti = first course choices
Mezzemaniche alla pescatora = Mezzemaniche-shape pasta with fish sauce
Gnocchi ai formaggi = Gnocchi with cheese
Tortellini panna e prosciutto = Tortellini with cream and ham
Farfalle alla boscaiola (funghi, piselli, pancetta) = woodman-style butterfly-shaped pasta (mushrooms, peas, bacon)
Tortelli o pasta con ragù o pomodoro o arrabbiata = Tortelli or pasta (spaghetti) with meat sauce or tomato or angry (spicy sauce)
Secondi piatti = second course choices
Scaloppa di tacchino burro e salvia = Escalope of turkey with butter and sage
Filetto di merluzzo impanato con patatine fritte = Breaded cod fillet with chips
Polpettone in salsa di pomodoro e basilico = Meatloaf in tomato and basil sauce
Bistecchina di maiale o petto di pollo alla griglia = pork steak or grilled chicken breast
Salciccia e wurstel alla griglia = grilled sausage and wurstel
Insalatona con uovo tonno pomodoro mozzarella e mais = Big salad with egg, tuna, tomatoes, mozzarella and corn
Bresaola, rucola, grana, e pomodorini = Dried beef ,rocket salad, parmesan and cherry tomatoes
Contorni = vegetables
Patate prezzemolate = Parsleyed potatoes
Zucchine al funghetto = Zucchini and mushrooms
Sformato di verdura Misto lesso: patate, carote, zucchine, fagiolini = Mixed boiled vegetable flan: potatoes carrots, green beans, zucchini
Insalata mista = Mixed salad
Pomodoro con cipolla = Tomatoes with onions
1/4 litre of wine red or white
Still or fizzy water
Bread and schiacciata (Tuscan flatbread with added olive oil)
(Not all the photographs are mine: we couldn’t eat everything on the menu! The filetto di merluzzo impanato con patatine fritte is mine, however.
I’d booked a large table under a sunshade in front of the elegant building. The weather was lovely, the food delicious and the company very convivial. Without mentioning any names this included a gentleman who is a professional photographer who has contributed some wonderful photographs of ‘Lucca Comix and games to Debra Kolkka’s blog and is also the genius behind San Cassiano’s fb page. Another gentleman is noted for his increasingly fine wine above Ponte. Of the ladies one is the daughter of traditional figurinai (plaster-of-Paris statuette makers) who had immigrated to northern England and set up a factory there. The other is a designer.
What did I have to eat? After a delicious plate of tortelli (sometimes spelt tordelli here) con ragù I went on to devour a plate of fish n chips, Italian style. The breaded coating of the cod was a very satisfactory alternative to batter, and the chips were neither soggy nor too crisp. Only missing from the course were the soggy chips, the newspaper wrapping and the rain which I remember usually accompanied my eating of fish and chips (pesce e patate) on a park bench in the UK and…..the mushy peas.
Wine vinegar, tomato ketchup and mayonnaise ad lib accompanied the offering.
First course, second course, wine, bread, schiacciata, and coffee were all included in the price of euros 11 (£8.66 in sterling). You could have dolce (dessert) for an extra. But regrettably there was no room for it in my stomach. Tipping, of course, is optional in most places in Italy too.
The sunshine, pleasant mountain views and the conversation were all free, however!
To paraphrase what one of the lunch guests said, I sometimes feel quite Italian about food in the UK but quite English about food in Italy….
(Resolution: must perfect my crumpet-making technique.)