Join us for a historical and authentic dining experience, for the Feast of San Martino.
As the Bishop of Tours and the patron saint of vintners (wine-makers) - St Martin is typically celebrated Italian-style with traditional food and wines. The feast is all about enjoyment of the fleeting moments of our life and sharing the experience and joy with our friends and loved ones. This intimate event is for one night only and so availability is limited to 30.
This term comes from the famous tale of when St Martin met a poor man and had nothing to offer him except his cloak, which he cut in two to share. Immediately, the weather changed from cold and rainy to sunshine and heat, and so was coined the phrase
'San Martino summer'.
Also known as an Indian summer in some parts of north Europe, it is a reference to the last embrace of warmth, which usually occurs in mid November, before the final onset of winter sets in.
The 11th November was the period when the peasants would settle their dues following the harvest and establish again the 'sharecropping' contract for another year - (or not as the case may be)
'Per San Martì oca e vì' was a typical phrase heard at this time as they would eat a goose as a typical winter dish, not being able to take it with them as they move, or the traditional Cassoeula - a cabbage and pork stew - also prepared in the Po Valley with goose meat (also called bottaggio). 'Fare San Martino' also means 'to change place of work' or simply move house and is a phrase still common today .
Mid November is also the perfect time for chestnuts and novello wines which play an integral part in the feast for the community. An old proverb says "At San Martino every must becomes wine" - because in this period of the year the wine harvested between September and October is finally ready to be uncorked and shared with a toast and good company.
A sparkling wine from the Province of Brescia (Lombardy) with DOCG status. It is produced using the traditional method from grapes grown within the boundaries of the territory of Franciacorta, on the hills located between the southern shore of Lake Iseo and the city of Brescia. It was awarded DOC status in 1967, the designation then also including red and white still wines. Since 1995 the DOCG classification has applied exclusively to the sparkling wines of the area.
Starter of roasted chestnuts soup with grilled porcini and crispy guanciale bacon. Guanciale is a bacon that comes from the cheek of the animal, it is sweeter and tastier than traditional belly bacon. Grilled porcini mushrooms coming from the Bergamasco region are renowned throughout Italy for their exceptional quality and considered by many the best in the world.
To match the starter we have a glass of Colli Morenici Mantovani del Garda bianco - a DOC white wine. Its production is permitted only in the province of Mantua and a glass will fully enhance the creaminess of the chestnuts and porcini.
Sometimes Italianized as cazzuola or cazzola or bottaggio, this typical winter dish is popular in Northern Italy, mostly in Lombardy.
Usually, cassoeula is served with polenta and/or a strong red wine. It is traditional for this dish to be eaten starting 11th November after the first frost of the season, to let the cabbage be softer and tastier. The meat used in the dish includes mainly pork meat (usually least valuable parts like ribs, rind, trotters, ears, nose and tail), Verzino sausage, and sometimes other meats like goose for the San Martino feast. These are cooked in a casserole (hence its name) with ingredients such as onion, carrot, celery and black pepper for about three hours, after which the cabbage is added and cooking continues for a further half-hour.
To match the main course we have Barbera D’oltrePo Pavese - when young, these wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red cherries and blackberries. In the lightest versions of cherries, raspberries and blueberries and with notes of blackberry and black cherries in wines made of more ripe grapes. Many producers employ the use of toasted oak barrels, which provides for increased complexity, ageing potential, and hints of vanilla notes.
Cups of macaroons, chestnuts and mascarpone are delicious desserts flavored with amaretto liqueur. This autumnal dessert is composed of a soft and delicious cream prepared with boiled chestnuts, dark chocolate and mascarpone ... and to finish a handful of crunchy crumbled amaretti!
To match the desert we have a glass of Sangue di Giuda dell'Oltrepò Pavese DOC – Blood of Judas dessert wine. A deep purplish red, with intense violet reflections to the eye. With a nose rich in blueberries, black cherries and wild strawberries, overripe fruits and jam-like sweetness. Sweet and soft on the palate, vinous, medium-bodied and persistent, the perfect end to a feast. Worked in steel only and refermented in autoclave, it is a glass of Blood of Judas that takes us back to the most deeply rooted winemaking traditions of the Oltrepò Pavese lands, best appreciated with closed eyes.
(No Italian would ever drink cappuccino after 10 am...)