As our stay lengthens, Troy and I fall into the rhythm of Due Papaveri. It is full of shared conversation, culture and laughter.
Guests typically find themselves at Due Papaveri because they are attending a week-long cooking class, traveling through the area or enjoying a typical dinner service. They all seem to be happy food lovers and we become friends with many of them.
The gourmet restaurant seats up to about 50, available by appointment. There is only one menu each night and it is based on the whims of Charlotte and the season. That is my kind of dinner.
During our stay we cook for butchers, vintners, chefs, graduation parties and other people simply enjoying dinner. This Saturday, there is an intimate group of nine guests.
The Ognibene family is particularly special because they are friends of Charlotte and Willie. Antonio Ognibene and his family also happen to be award winning winemakers from Bologna, and Charlotte serves all nine guests his highly-rated Naigar Tén.
Our kitchen team is busy preparing tonight’s feast. We begin by serving guests a dry bubbly Prosecco to wet their palates as we get cooking.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Charlotte, Willie and Luca went to Sicily to meet some former wwoofers (by the way, Luca’s family is from Sicily and his sister and her family currently live there). They had a ball and brought back a few tastes of Sicily. Luca is excited to recreate his favorite bite from that trip which he sampled during a wine tasting.
Amuse-Bouche: Taste of Sicily
This palate teaser is made of thin toasted bread, doused with fresh olive oil and topped with a full anchovy, slice of lemon with the rind and a sprig of mint. The flavors knock your socks off—they are so vibrant and bold. Apparently it tastes just like Sicily (I’ve not yet been, but I can imagine). We pass around this amuse-bouche so our guests can savor the flavor of Sicily.
Antipasto: Tomino Topped with Truffle Butter and Salt
How did I live my life without knowing about Tomino? Tomino is a fresh, mild cheese that is cylindrical and sweet smelling when it comes out of the oven. It is generally produced in the province of Torino with raw milk into rounds of 4-5cm (goat, cow or a combination of the two). In this case, it is cow milk. It melts perfectly in its natural rind and when you cut into it, it oozes creamy goodness. Baked brie—watch out.
We bake the Tomino pouches for about four minutes at 180c (about 350f) and Charlotte tops them with a pad of fresh truffle butter and a dusting of truffle salt! She makes her truffle butter with fresh butter from her local Parmigiano-Reggiano factory and truffle salt to taste from Appenino Funghi e Tartufi (click if you are interested in visiting their site).
This is by far Troy’s and my BEST antipasto at Due Papaveri. It is insane.
Primi Piatti: Capello del Prete Pasta with Shaved Pecorino
I am proud to say that Troy and I helped make the pasta we serve for this course. Charlotte offers pasta making courses that are a complete blast (see our PASTA PARTY blog post for details and how to make five types of homemade pasta).
This Capello del Prete pasta is made into square shapes and filled with Mortadella, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The filling is spicy, meaty and hearty. The flavors of the pasta are free to be explored as the pasta is topped only with olive oil and aged Pecorino.
Secondi Piatti: Seared Rabbit with Polenta
To prepare this dish, Charlotte rubs the rabbit with Sale di Mima (fresh rosemary and garlic made by Willie’s mother, see our recipe and blog tabs for more info) and then sears it on both sides over a hot flame. Then she throws it in a pot with homemade tomato sauce from her cantina (see the inside of the cantina on our CSP-TV tab), white wine, chili powder, red and yellow peppers and onions to cook for at least two hours. It comes out tender and rich. To get an idea of proportion, you need two rabbits (use all the meat), one onion, three bell peppers, one cup white wine and one liter of tomato sauce for four people.
We bake the polenta in the oven until it’s crispy and serve a slice with each plate. Charlotte always garnishes her meat courses with fresh herbs and olive oil. This dish tastes like the countryside. The rabbit has a smooth and gamy flavor, and it is falling apart with tenderness. The sauce is rustic, complex and finishes with heat, while its wine shines through.
This hearty course pairs perfectly with Antonio’s thick and luscious Naiger Tén. Michelin gave this wine a highly-rated 17/20. It is made with Negrettino grapes, which are indigenous to Bologna, to give it a peppery robust flavor.
Dolci: Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Vanilla Rum
As you can see from our previous posts, Troy and I LOVE Charlotte’s carrot cake. We posted the recipes for her carrot cake, mascarpone cream and vanilla rum on the site. This is our BEST dessert at Due Papaveri. Moist yet dense and not too sweet. Perfect with sinful mascarpone cream and vanilla rum.
As the guests finish dessert, we take their plates and bring them after dinner liquors including Grappa, Limoncino and Nocino (traditional walnut liquor from the Emilia-Romagna region). Next we serve coffee to order as the guests complete their evening.
As the guests leave, we share hugs and comment on how much we adore Charlotte’s food and Antonio’s wine. We hope to visit his winery and restaurant during our stay in Bologna. Click here if you would like to take your own visit to the Gradizzolo winery.
This dinner is typical for Charlotte and Due Papaveri. It is decadent and full of love.
Stay tuned, An outdoor light lunch is next.