the magnificent maremmana cow. (i dunno why this photograph looks fake — at least, it does to me — but it is, in fact, real, taken by yours truly on sunday evening.)
it is just one — but perhaps the best — aspect of
my very first business trip.
or: this is how we do it over here.
or also: i could really use some vegetables.
when we go on business trips, we go to places like
maremma (aka tuscany’s wild west, with butteri [cowboys] and everything.)
and on these work trips, we do a little drinking:
and way too much eating:
way, way, way too much eating. and apparently tuscans are only into eating things that can run, crawl or swim (with the very rare exception). top row: gran pezzo (roast beef) with potatoes; chicken liver crostini, veal tongue, prosciutto, frittata; braised heritage breed chicken; braised goose and duck. middle row: stuffed heritage breed rabbit; the densest onion soup ever (served on a plate, best eaten with a fork); the most delectable and expensive beans ever, from zolfino; pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup). bottom row: little fried fish; bottarga di cefalo (grey mullet) from orbetello; fried gamberetti; whole grilled grey mullet. (this is a mere sampling of just 3 meals we had over the 4 day trip. i’ve left out 3 or 4 other equally lengthy, protein- and fat-heavy meals.)
tuscan bread sucks. i take that back — it sucks as bread, in and of itself, but it’s not bad for sopping up the tomato liquid in, say, panzanella or pappa al pomodoro. i have a theory, however, that the non-use of salt in tuscan bread somehow translates into oversalting everything else. i’m exaggerating, of course. tuscan food is delicious. it exemplifies the best feature of italian food: it is honest.
tuscany, however, is achingly beautiful. frances mayes and loud, fat american tourists can’t spoil it, no matter how hard they try. we came here for a meeting and to visit some of the tuscan food producers we work with who raise rare breeds or specialize in very unique productions, like
bottarga (cured fish roe) and
tarese, or a type of cured pork.
i personally can’t think of anything that is more unforgettably, jaw-droppingly, mind-blowingly, literally awesome than driving into the maremma and witnessing a 150-head herd of maremmana cattle running full speed across the plain:
(a static photo just cannot do this justice.)