Hospitality Sarno style

Ristorante Pizzeria Forchettone d’Oro aka Da Nello  (Intermediate B), 88 Corso Amendola, Tel. 328 78 95 32
I commuted to Sarno for a week from Caserta and was given great hospitality from the teachers at the school, Luana and Tina, who took me for lunch to this family restaurant every day. They made a good choice and conspired with the proprietor to try to kill me with multi-course meals.
Tina especially knew her food and gave me lots of good kitchen tips like, ‘It’s best to mix a salad with your hands when dressing it, but not in a restaurant!’ She was rightly critical of the restaurant’s version of Linguine ai Frutti di Mare because they hadn’t finished cooking the pasta in the stock from the seafood. Wish I could have eaten at her house one night.
I enjoyed nearly all of the dishes I ate here. Starters that I had were the Bruschetta (B+) …


…and the Mozzarella salad (A).

Mozzarella salad

The tomatoes were great in both. I was told they were the world-famous San Marzano variety, the DOP of which is in the Valle de Sarno, San Marzano being a village just over the next hill.

Another nice dish was the ‘halfsleeve pasta’ in tomato sauce with melted mozzarella (B).

Half sleeve pasta

The seafood grill was great (A)…

Seafood grill

…as was the Soute di Vongole (B+)…

Saute di Vongole

…and the mixed seafood fry (B+) .

Mixed fry

I wasn’t too keen on the Zuppa di Pesce though, not their fault, it’s just not one of my favourite dishes. It looks great on the plate but usually seems to be a way of using up the cheaper smaller fish, like Scorfino, which can be very bony (C).Zuppa di Pesce

They started to run out of fish options towards the end of the week so, rather than go for a snooze-inducing pizza, I tried a few of the meat dishes. The filleto was simple but great (B+)…

Beef steak

…as was the beef tagliata with rocket and scales parmesan (B+).

Beef sliced
I’d timed it right for the strawberry season and we had them for dessert nearly every day.

This is where I was first introduced to the famous Mela Annurka, a local apple that is particular to Campania and has its own IGP. Tina told me that her father used to make her family go through the laborious traditional process (video here) of turning the apples on a daily basis so they would ripen evenly as they lay on long beds of straw. Backbreaking work for all concerned!

Mele Annurca
Naturally they also make a potent digestive from the apple called Melanu (perhaps a brand name as another waiter told me it had another name ‘rossolio’, perhaps ‘red oil’?). However later research found that it is properly known as ‘liquore di mela annurca’.


Anyway it’s delicious when its ice cold, straight out of the freezer. It can be hard to get hold of but I have had it in a couple of other Campanian restaurants since. Gianni the friendly restaurant proprietor at Da Nello gave me nearly 1.5 litres of it to take home! A much appreciated gift and just part of the fantastic hospitality I experienced in this town. Thank you Sarno!

2 thoughts on “Hospitality Sarno style”

  1. I’ve had Melanu on the isle of Capri, and loved it. Nothing comes close to it in the U.S. How can i get some? is it in the states anywhere? can i have it shipped and by who?

    1. Hi. I’m from the UK so can’t really comment on how to get it in the States I’m afraid. However, having done a bit of research using the search terms ‘liquore di mela annurca’ I found several retailer’s websites in Italy. You could perhaps contact them, with the help of google translate, and see if they will ship to you. I’m sure they will. Good luck!

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