Roger L. Simon

Food blogging: Viva Verdi, Viva Verona, Viva "Enoteca della Valpolicella"

As Michael Ledeen so succinctly puts it in the comments two posts below, “The very IDEA of pizza in Venice, oy.” Right he is. Unfortunately, the pizza at Il Refolo, once we did get there the next evening, was nowhere near as good as what we get back home in LA’s Mozza or Seattle’s Serious Pies, let alone in Michael’s beloved Naples. In fact, the mediocre food reputation held by Venice is, for my palate at least, more or less true. We didn’t really have a meal there worth talking about (even though I did) in three days – and we tried. Hard.

Verona is another matter. We had our best lunch of 2009 today at the Enoteca della Valpolicella – about twenty minutes out of Verona in the Veneto wine country. We rented a car in Venice and drove straight to the Enoteca before checking into a Verona hotel to see Aida at the Roman Amphitheater. The Aida production, despite the fabulous surroundings, was only so-so. But the lunch was spectacular. And the wine wasn’t bad either – a Valpolicella Classico Superiore. For hors d’oeuvres, I went with the house made carpaccio, which I followed up with ravioli with locally grown black truffles (all three of us chose this – who could resist?) and then some tagliata of beef on a bed of spinach. It was all dreamy. Here’s a look at the ravioli: P8270067

I am typing this in bed, just back from Aida. Mediocre as the production may have been, there was still some great singing and, of course, that music. After the final blackout, someone way up in the top seats yelled out “Viva, Verdi!” The words gave me the chills in 90 degree weather. “Viva,Verdi” indeed. Is there anyone working today in any of the arts of the greatness and scope of Verdi, anyone close? I can’t think of anyone. And Verdi died in January 1901, as fans of Bertolucci’s 1900 will remember.