Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ciasa di Gahja

So I'm sure you've heard of the traditional Italian lunch
and how it is course after course of
incredible food that can span 
over hours of non stop eating
and drinking.

I kid you not- it's real!

Husband and I got to experience a traditional Italian lunch at
Ciasa de Gahja in Bodoia, Italy.

It is a quaint dinning room with enough to seat 60 guests
just off to the side of a beautiful in ground swimming pool
shaded by trees and flanked by another
dinning area and a fully stocked pool side bar.

The staff is comprised of students who 
either just graduated from
or are still attending 
IAL Scuola Alberghiera di Aviano.
Which if you didn't know, 
is a culinary school perfectly situated on the
hill top overlooking the entire city of Aviano. 

I think it's awesome that this local restaurant chooses to hire
people from their local culinary school. 

Personally, I think because you hire "in-house" customers are more likely
to receive better customer service because 
the staff want to represent their hometown in a way 
that entices us visitors to return with our friends and family.

Anyway, enough with the technical mumbo jumbo. 
Let's talk about FOOD!

It was a set meal so we didn't have to fuss with figuring out what we wanted to order. 
Usually it starts with an antipasti that consists of cured meats and cheeses
but we skipped that and went right into the Primi.

First course:

It may look simple and that is the point. Italians are simple cooks- they take the BEST 
of whatever the ingredient may be and prepare it just enough
to highlight what is incredible about the ingredient in the first place. 

On the left is a simple risotto with peas and carrots. But it was the most
delicious risotto I've ever had in my life. The penne on the right 
was just tossed with fresh tomatoes and fresh cracked pepper. Boom- INCREDIBLE.

Secondi, the meat course:

Husband and I both chose the sea bass. It was grilled to perfection 
then braised in tomato sauce. Along with the sea bass we had
grilled zucchini and carrots. I thought it was weird
that they rounded out the course with a heaping mound
of good ole American mashed potatoes. 
(I think it was their way of 'comforting' us.)

I wasn't a huge fan of the mashed potatoes (but not because it wasn't good, just
because I don't like it in general) so that went untouched.

 Scroppino or Grappa:

So it's believed that drinking spirits after your meal aids in digestion.
Here in Italy your choices are either
Scroppino or Grappa. 
Scroppino is a delicious drink made with lemon gelato and vodka.
It's blended together and served in a champagne glass.
If you venture right around Aviano you'll find other restaurants that
experiment with their scroppino flavors such as 
mango, pineapple, or green apple. 

Grappa on the other hand is not for the faint of heart.
It's around 70-120 proof.
It is made by distilling all the left overs (the skins, seeds, stems, etc.) of the grape 
after being pressed for wine.
I will not be trying grappa anytime soon.


Here is a sampling of their desserts. 
Starting on the top right is semifreddo. 
Semifreddo is a half frozen ice cream cake. This flavor happened to be strawberry.
Then a slice of pineapple for the health conscious. 
(I think it was a humorous stab at my husband)
To the left of the pineapple is a simple yet scrumptious
apple tart that I could have eaten the entire pie of.
And lastly on the top left is panna cotta with mixed berries. 

Dessert is always my favorite course so I was sad when my plate came up empty.

And finally the cafe:

Or in my case, "Uno cappuccino"
The best cappuccinos on the planet are found in Italy.

The little boost of energy at the end of the meal is meant to 
give you enough strength to pull yourself
off the table and into your car, bicycle, 
or on your feet to take you home just in time for
RIPOSO or nap time!

Yes, Italians stop their work, close up shop for 3-4 hours every afternoon
to eat their 3 course meal and take a nap.

Personally, I see no problem with this. =)

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