This time Stefano Tesi takes the stand, and his title begs an explanation: In Italian slang farsi una pera doesn’t mean to have a pear, but rather shoot up heroin.
There were three suspects. Actually, four, and to identify the culprit, and doing so was a waste of time, took the entire trip back from the Val Venosta.
The first in order of appearance was Martin Aurich of Castel Juval, who, with the epiphany he had the other day regarding the second edition of Eccopinò at Scarperia (coming up, a post on the nice overview of the Appennino Toscano’s Pinot Noir), made me think of an intersection on State Road 38 in the Val Venosta, the one leading to the Val Senales between Naturno and Ciardes, and the “Bottega Contadina” at the foot of the hill.
The second, repeat offenders, are Jorg and Sonya Trafoier of Kuppelrain di Castelbello, which is not just my favorite restaurant in the Alto Adige (I’m awaiting the bistrot they plan to open next spring), but also where I was going for the presentation of the renowned white marble of Lasa, and especially to taste the new dishes with Venostan asparagus, dishes practically to kill for (gastronomically speaking).
The third was my friend and colleague Sebastian Marseiler, author (Athesia 2011) of the delightful guide, “Alla ricerca dell’arte – percorsi artistici per il Sud Tirolo” (In Search of Art, Artistic Explorations in the South Tyrol), a superb manual that accompanies the visitor through the lesser known folds of a complex, delicate, and surprising region: it is thanks to this book that I discovered the extraordinar church of San Procolo, at Naturno, with the earliest Germanic frescoes in Europe and the enigmatic “Saint on a Seesaw.” A jewel not to be missed.
In short, all the roads, and perhaps destiny too led there, to the Satale Venostana, and the intersection for Castel Juval (home, if you didn’t know, of Herr Reinhold Messner). With the Bottega dei Contadini, Vinschger Bauernladen in German: a producer’s cooperative with exclusively local products. An excellent idea, but nothing revolutionary, if not for the fact that within its doors, among the many good things, I found her.
Soft, blonde and creamy. Seductive. Strongly scented. Inebriating, complex flavors, spicy enough to bite, but with a progressive, enveloping so sweet finish, a powerful temptress.
It’s the Luggin Family’s organic pear mustard, produced at almost a thouand meters above sea level, in the Maso “Kandlwaalhof,” directly above the town of Lasa.
Where the marble is, proof that the circles of destiny inevitably close.
I tasted it by chance, unenthusiastically, even, dipping a hot dog taken from the store’s buffet into it, and was gob-struck: Never had I encountered such a mustard. And for just 4.95 Euros for a 200 gram (half pound) jar. To die for. No need to say more, It’s A Drug.
The Luggin Family makes four more mustards, all excellent (sweet apple, apricot, aromatic herbs, and farmers’ mustard), but this is unbeatable.
If you have occasion to go and stock up before the end of May, I suggest you also take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Church of San Procolo and its wonderful museum, and also go to “Il tempo degli asparagi”, the Asparagus Kermesse the Castelbello and Ciardes area dedicates to its top vegetable. The program’s participants include wineries, growers who sell direct, restaurants with specially thought out dishes, and guided visits to the farms, including Burkhard Pohl’s famed organic “Maso del Castello.”
You’ll find info an more at http://www.kastelbell-tschars.com.