a la gigina = a la really great!

I wish Trattoria della Gigina was down the street from my house. Problem is, my house is not in Bologna....I would eat there every night, and it seems that many locals do. It is an elegant, but casual restaurant on the outskirts of Bologna where everything is just like mama would make - or at least you really wish your mama made. When we were there at the end of July, it was catering to businessmen and families with small children. Some of the businessmen engaged in a short conversation with us as they were leaving; they asked if we liked the food and told us this is the best place. Jeff said "like Ferrari", and they said like "Jacques Villeneuve!" They were very proud of the food at Gigina, and rightfully so. Now I don't know any mama's that make a balsamic flavoured gelee, but at Gigina the food is elegant as well as hearty. Our waitress was very excited to have us visit her restaurant....it was pretty obvious that we didn't live around the corner, but my Italian wasn't too shabby either. She took our order, and helped to make some suggestions which I feel were just and right on target. How can anyone go wrong with an order of truffled mashed potatoes? I can't complain with any place that serves gnocco fritto, the salty little fried pieces of soft dough, which are incredibly addicting although very rich. This was brought to the table a few minutes after she took our order. Every time we ordered a bottle of lambrusco in Emilia-Romagna; our servers eyes lit-up. Either they think we are crazy, or are excited that we recognize this wine is indigenous to the region... I cannot imagine enjoying this cuisine without it. It is a red wine with bubbles and this helps to cut the fattiness of the food perfectly. We've tried a few bottles here at home, but they were often too sweet and virtually undrinkable. As Italians say, everything (not just art) is better in situ. I had to try to the "Roast-beef della “Gigina” con la sua salsa di cottura", and it was really wonderful. Salty, and tender. Jeff ordered the "carpaccio di filetto con grana e rucola". The grana cheese was actually a little grainy; the crystallized salt would crunch in contrast with the butteriness of the beef. Melts in your mouth. We both ordered gnocchi con spinaci in fonduta di parmigiano e tartufo davvero. (Spinach gnocchi in a truffled-cream sauce) After Jeff ordered the world's best gnocchi at Arnaldo's we thought we might be let down. Although the gnocchi were a little less al dente in texture, this was the richest, creamiest sauce I could ever imagine for a gnocchi. It was not only rich with cream, but the amount of truffles made it all the more satisfying. Truffled mashed potatoes - need I say more? And there was a lot of truffle flavour too, no skimping here. Cotoletta alla petroniana con tartufo davvero. Just in case we hadn't consumed enough truffles yet, and although we were exceedingly full already - I devoured this dish. It makes me dream of the day I can eat it again, no matter how full my tummy thinks it is. It is lightly breaded and fried veal, which is then wrapped in prosciutto, and truffles and parmigiano-reggiano. These flavours seemed to layer themselves in your mouth, which was heightened by the silkiness of the sauce. The dish was incredibly salty from the prosciutto and the parmigiano, but certainly not in a salt shaker kind of way. It is one of the specialties of the house. Nearly every table had ordered it. Fabulous. While we would have loved dessert, there was no way that on an eating trip of Italy we could have handled another bite. Next time..... Trattoria della Gigina - via Stendhal 1, 40128 Bologna http://www.trattoriagigina.it/ tel. 051322300 fax 0514189865 | p.iva e c.f 02230100378 | info@trattoriagigina.it

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