This weekend Radio Popolare combined forces with Sovversivi Del Gusto to bring quality products right to the heart of Milan. The event was held in a beautiful old theater and was filled with “smart consumers” ready to load up on the essentials. As always, part of the quality comes through by the people who make them. Here were a few that I had to the pleasure of talking to.
Argalà is the name of this brilliant homemade Pastis which means “very satisfied. In dialect “argalis” also means licorice. People here in Piedmont sometimes drink this licorice-flavored drink as an aperitivo, traditional in the nearby France. The story of these two young entrepreneurs sparked my interest. They are from the mountains near Cuneo and decided last summer to start up this new business after experimenting with making different beverages at home each summer. Pastis came out the best, and now with a strong friend following they are trying to carry it on. Pastis is something you either love or hate. It is a strong aperitif which turns cloudy greenish white when you add water to it. Although I am generally not a fan, I appreciated the artisanal quality which included 35 different types of natural herbs and spices. Good luck to these young guys!
And then you can’t forget about the cheese! Whew! It doesn’t happen so often to find creamy and organic fresh 100% raw goat’s milk cheese this GOOD! Le Ramate brings it every time and offers up these creamy bites of goodness, and they are organic too!
Also providing cheese and salumis was Pian del Lares from the Varese area. They were even selling a unique triangular shaped type of “cotechino” made from pig called “cappello del prete”. This means priest’s hat, resembling this shape. One of the girls explained that you have to boil it on a low flame for 2 hours! The skin around the outside was the actual thick pig’s skin, sewn by hand.
A bite of cheese in one hand, and naturally there was a glass of wine in the other. The rich coating of cheese in my mouth was gently washed down with Rapalino’s Barbaresco, Cantrina’s Ribo, and of course Cascina Carpini‘s range of barbera and timorasso. Nothing better! I loved riding up with Rapalino who seemed like a reserved hard working Piemontese. However, little by little, with his soft voice he started asking us about our families, and openly talked about his children, love, and the important things in life. Although he doesn’t officially work for the family run winery, he helps his sons work in the in the fifth generation winery!
The best part, was that Milanese came back for the third time in a row (this was the third date) just to pick up these amazing products. Once you taste this quality, you will never go back...and this was the proof. Personally, I came to this event with doubts. I was tired, and honestly did not feel like getting up at 5:30 on my Saturday to go all the way to Milan. However, I am glad I did because these people reminded me not only of the sacrifices that they make to create genuine products, but also of a life philosophy, to slow down and let time take its course. This is exactly what I needed to put a stop to my stressful week!
The next dates: