During my three weeks of eating out in Italy, one of my most memorable meals wasn’t dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant but at a charming, rustic, roadside farmhouse located in Ofena at the edge of the Abruzzo mountains at about 1,000 meters above sea level and bounding the Tirreno Valley with views of the olive groves and vineyards. It took about thirty minutes along winding mountainous roads until we arrived.
Agriturismo Sapori di Campagna is run by two sisters and their mother. They cook and serve typical regional dishes of the rural tradition with some measured reinterpretation while respecting the cycle of the seasons. All the produce that is served comes from their land or nearby farms. The food was genuinely delicious and creatively presented in a lovely setting. We ate outside on the terrace with the valley below and the mountains in the distance. Their restaurant is located in a historic house dating back a few centuries.
You can really taste and feel the difference when someone cooks with passion and with heart. Of the sisters, one cooks along with her mother, and the other serves. Eating was a sensory experience from the decor, the presentation of each dish, the flavours of the local cuisine, and the amazing value. This meal served anywhere else on our trip would have been five times the price.
Not to miss is the antipasto Sapori di Campagna. For 18 Euros you get served six unique courses that were all outstanding. From the pizza fritto, the chicory ball, the amazing bread soup – bread with mixed cheeses, pear, honey, and walnuts – to a local ricotta that won a contest three years in a row for best cheese, every dish we tried tastes like home cooking at the highest level. We accompanied our meal with a bottle of local Rosato for 17 Euros. As Agriturismo, they serve vegetables grown on their own land. About 90% of what is served is self-produced. I can also recommend the pasta – the two best pasta dishes I had while in Italy. One was a fettuccine with lamb ragu, and the other a tomato, and fresh ricotta cheese dish. There are a couple of lamb dishes on the menu as well as veal. For dessert, we had a local ripe peach with custard and a strawberry sorbet that was so pungent of a real strawberry flavour.
They also have a range of local produce for sale, such as honey, preserves, and pasta. This hidden-away haven was not only the best meal I had in Abruzzo but possibly my favourite meal in Italy. The purity of ingredients and the seasonality of the dishes made me swoon.
I think our entire meal came to 60 Euros for two including wine.
Highly recommended, if you are ever in this neck of the woods.
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