A feast to remember

15 Nov


Ristorante La Conchiglia in Viareggio, Provincia di Lucca, Toscana.

Where one goes to understand the meaning of fine dining in the true sense of the word…with a price tag to match.

Being a restaurant that resides by sea side, what would one expect other than the very best in seafood produce?! We were a group of 7 in total, including Giorgio & Francesca, Luca & Helena, Alessandro & Claudia and myself. On entering we handed the waiter our coats then sat down in the private dining room surrounded by artwork and the kitchen in the background. We were then greeted by the chef, Patrizio, who ran us through the program he’d created for us today. We would only have to select the wine, the rest we would leave up to him.

We were left in fine hands. Giorgio chose a Franciacorta from winery Alice to start with with our tartare and pane appetiser. We followed on from that with an assortment of dishes, all with some form of seafood and drank Trebbiano from Abruzzo 2007 then Pinot Noir from France.

Two hours later we arrived at dessert which began with Castagnaccio (a delicious local cake using flour from chestnuts, pinenuts and not much else then you put some olive oil and rosemary on top once it’s finished). Followed on by three offerings on a long plate of semifreddo with a fresh concoction of chocolate sauce, creme custard with rasperries, and panacotta…which Giorgio later recollected was like a woman’s boobies, soft with movement but not too hard…that’s Giorgio for you. Caffe’ was drunk by all and then we took our well-feasted selves our for a walk. The portions and the lightness of the food meant we didn’t feel so stuffed that you felt sick, but more the fact that you knew you weren’t going to be eating dinner that night for sure!

Afterwards us girls took off in the big Land Rover and drove along the backstreets towards the gorgeous town of Petrasanta in the province of Lucca also, swiping off a mirror of a blue Renault parked a little wider than normal. The mirror of the Land Rover was in the same condition…decapitated. We didn’t stop…though I suggested we should. Typical Italians for you.

At Petrasanta we arrived to find some sort of festival taking place involving lots of food, cheese and other produce…we didn’t touch a thing. Instead we took a look around the town then stopped for a drink at a bar which played music that reminded me of bars in Melbourne. In other words, modern.

After a long hard day of nothing we all drove back to Grattamacco, this time taking care to drive a little wider when passing parked cars, then watched ‘Italians’ on the big screen at home. It’s like ‘Manual of Love’ for those of you into Italian movies, entertaining, and always unpredictable. That’s one thing I can say about Italian movies in comparison to typical American ones. You can generally guess where the story line is headed with other movies, but with this one we were taking stabs during the film and of course nothing ever eventuated like we thought it would! Great movie though.

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