11:31 16 October 22, 2014 La Rovina Farm, Italy by GS Jade Barrett CsbNews.org correspondent
“I would like to see people more aware of where their food comes from. I would like to see small farmers empowered. I feed my daughter almost exclusively organic food” – Anthony Bourdain
During our time away from the bridge table, Dr Donna and I toured the countryside to the north of Padova, IT in the care of our friend and guide, Paolo Clair. He takes great pride in his knowledge of the food, wine and history of his home – and deservedly so.
We began our day with a visit to Arqua, home to the Father of Humanism – and to a few, Father of the Renaissance – Francesco Petrarca. An amazing researcher and author, he is occasionally credited with being the world’s first tourist, visiting the known world in search of almost everything. His house in the Euganean Hills is now a museum well worth visiting.
Later that afternoon, we found ourselves sitting around a table with Paolo and his friends, tasting the salami of the farm La Rovina owned by Franco Griggio.
Freshly made just 40 days ago, the product is delightfully seasoned with garlic, though Franco believes that 60 days of aging creates the best product. Some wine and pane biscotto – the dried bread that is a staple of the region – support the tasting of the salami, capicola and pancetta until the arrival of his friend, Roberto, who brings fresh walnuts from his tree.
With the pleasure and joy of young men, there are jokes exchanged as they slap the walnuts against the table to break them. What started as a quick visit – «only a few minutes» Paolo assured us – becomes an hour and a half as the second bottle of wine is uncorked.
While the family still grows asparagus and cherries, the organic specialty meat business continues to grow rapidly. With the quality of his products, it is no surprise that the demand for them outpaces the growth of his inventory. Ask Paolo to take you there!