A local reappraised dish from the ‘cucina povera’ or ‘poor kitchen’ is pigs’ foot. Piera Spalla from the restaurant Selvatico in Rivanazzano Terme made it as a kind of roulade stuffed with small pieces of liver. She wrapped it in breadcrumbs and baked it in the oven. As a side dish, I got stewed monk’s-beard or agretti and grilled potatoes. The finishing touch are a coulis from cooked fresh peas and black truffle. It was great!
Piera works together with the Slow Food Movement and gives cooking lessons, thus bringing back forgotten recipes. Her ‘Selvatico Albergo Ristorante’ has been in the family since 1912. Together with her daughters and grandchildren she keeps running the business. In the restaurant you can taste the most authentic regional food, everything prepared in house, even the bread. The wine cellar is also very impressive!
Piera is somewhat the patroness of Oltrepò Pavese and was therefore the most ideal person to guide me in a relatively unknown area in the south of Lombardia. “Oltrepò Pavese is like a foreign country, in between many things. Between Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria. But for us it’s not between anything,” says Piera. “This area occupies a geographical position with different regional realities. So the gastronomic tradition of Oltrepò Pavese has assimilated and blended the different specialities and qualities,” explains Piera.
It was a beautiful and interesting travel trough the nature and hills of Oltrepò Pavese! I took the picture of Piera under her favourite tree at the monastery Sant’ Alberto di Butrio.
Address: Albergo Ristorante Selvatico, Via S. Pellico, 19, 27055 Rivanazzano PV