Ravenna – a blissful experience at Trattoria al Gallo

Although I didn’t get to see the mosaics, it was worth going to Ravenna just to experience this restaurant. It’s one of my all time favourites for atmosphere, and the food is very good too…

Antica Trattoria al Gallo 1909 (High Intermediate A), 89 Via Maggiore, www.algallo1909.it

This place was recommended by a friend of Manu from Drogheria Rosa in Bologna but I think I would have ended up here anyway as it embodies two of my favourite things in life; good food and Belle Époque art and design.

Umberto the young owner and his forebears have been collecting Italian Stile Liberty and French Art Nouveau objets d’art for three generations and have used them to decorate their lovely trattoria.

You feel more like you’re in someone’s front room than in a restaurant.

With Umberto’s permission I had a wander around the other dining rooms and the garden snapping everything that caught my eye. Click on the gallery to go to slideshow view.

In between wandering around looking at all the eye candy, I ate some food. Proceedings commenced with their delicious Bignè con Formaggio Fuso e Tartufi Bianco, or deep-fried choux pastries with melted cheese and white truffle.

Bignè are called Beignet in French and they’re like savoury profiteroles which most people consider to be quintessentially French. However many Italians believe that a Florentine chef by the name of Pantarelli or Pantanelli invented choux pastry dough in France around 1540, when he came from Italy with the court of Catherine de’ Medici.

Here we have Cappelletti di Ravenna con Tartufo Bianco, or ‘little hats’ with white truffle again (I can’t resist it) which were fabulous. When I asked, the waitress gave me a little lecture on how Cappelletti differ from the Tortelli down the road in Modena and Bologna. I was told there is a ‘grande differensa!’ Cappelletti have a slightly different shape, use a thicker dough and are larger in size, and are only ever filled with ricotta cheese, as opposed to Tortelli which can have various fillings such as meat and mushrooms.

For the second course, I enjoyed the OssoBucco di Coscia di Vitello e Pure di Patate, or cross-cut veal shanks braised in a wine and vegetable sauce and served with potato puree. The bonemarrow is the best bit.

The red wine was a Sangiovese Superiore called Rondo’ from Tenuta de Steffanelli in the fairly local Romagna DOC. The sweet wine is a local Passito (usually made in southern Italian regions) called Albana by Campodelsole. Both were very servicable as I recall.

For dessert, the eye-catching Gelato dei Gallo con Amarene e Salsa ai Frutti di Bosco, or ice cream with a sauce of sour cherries and forest fruits, with a plate of Amaretti almond macaroons on the side.

For the road, Umberto had me try two local artisanal digestivi by Angelo Babini. The first was called ‘Feuilles de Cerises’, a Ratafià or bittersweet fortified wine (21%), made from a Napoleonic recipe where wild cherry leaves are infused in cabernet sauvignon and some pure alcohol and sugar added. It was really good but me being me, I preferred the stronger (40%) “Il Prugnolino della Salina di Cervia”, a type of Rosolio produced using hand-selected wild prunes in the late autumn along the canals of the Cervia salt pans.

In a nutshell then, this was excellent food served by nice people in beautiful surroundings, what more could you want? I’ll definitely be back…

You can find Trattoria al Gallo on my map marked in red.

More on local food in the next post…

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