There are also healthy and virtuous “criminal associations”. These are the ones you create with friends who basically really enjoy to eat and drink. I frequent more than one of them (I wouldn’t want to miss any opportunity…).
The one of more recent constitution, but that since its debut is giving immense satisfaction, is called Ghosts Share. The name came to us after a few bottles, so don’t ask yourself too many questions about the meaning and origin, but the concept is rather intuitive: a group closed to teetotalers, vegetarians and vegans, anonymous (but up to a certain point…), with people who share the pleasures of the table. Six men, one woman. One chooses the place in turn. And who picks, pays for all.
I’ll tell you about the first stop some other time, today I’ll tell you about the second: Castell’Arquato, Restaurant “Da Faccini”. The place really deserves a stop, both for its charm, a real trattoria like those of the past, but especially for the quality of food and the wonderful wine list.
Faccini has a long history which began in 1932 when it was born mostly as a store where to find local and genuine products. Over the years the store was transformed and acquired notoriety thanks to the great attention that the family pays to the raw material: products whose origin is known, certified and perhaps with growth, seasoning and aging at home. Today the restaurant is run by three siblings, Massimo in the dining room, Barbara and Paola in the kitchen and Alessandro, Paola’s son, AIS Sommelier.
Lunch or dinner can only start with a taste of cold cuts, really tasty, served with burtleina a kind of flat bread, made with water, flour (Faccini uses the very good one of Molino Belforti – www.molinobelforti.it) and salt. The recipe, ancient, belongs to the Piacenza tradition. Accompanying the cured meats are delicious porcini mushrooms in oil, an excellent “giardiniera” and a wonderful homemade Russian salad. I am not a Russian salad lover, but you cannot give this one up!
The menu includes traditional dishes and also new proposals, but the historic dish of the house to try absolutely is the guinea fowl cooked in clay, attention … available ONLY ON RESERVATION!
The type of cooking makes the meat of an absolute softness, the treatment in the kitchen fragrant and tasty but without excess.
Pleasant and cured is also the mise en place that immediately makes one understand that nothing is left to chance or chosen lightly.
And the wines, a discovery. I admit that I have always been very skeptical of certain types of wines such as bonarda, gutturnio, lambrusco, often served in their “sparkling” version. Curiosity, a certain open-mindedness and the help of many people who know about them, such as Massimo, made me understand there is a lot to discover even in their “still” version. With Ghosts Share we tasted Apogeo 2017, a red IGT from Cordani winery (www.marcocordani.it), which produced 1600 bottles of it in that year and, again from the same winery, an organic 2018 obtained with Barbera grapes of which 800 bottles were produced in that year (the production data are written on the label, something I greatly appreciated). In any case, at Faccini’s you will find a really accurate selection of wines, especially local ones but not only, always in the perspective of a wine list built by tasting the wines and thinking about their possible combinations with the dishes on the menu. Looking more to quality than to fashion, to innovation than to name. Let them advise you and you will surely taste something unexpected that will surprise you.
The desserts are also delicious…. Made with the same care put into all the dishes that come out of the kitchen and the hands of Paola and Barbara. And to end on a high note… ask for the Malvasia Grappa made in Castell’Arquato.
And finally, the prices, like those of a real trattoria, are in some ways too low compared to the quality of what you eat and drink.
Do not miss, before or after the stop at Faccini’s, a nice walk in the medieval village of Castell’Arquato. You can leave your car in the large parking lot that you will find a few minutes’ drive from the restaurant and then walk up to the main square and the Rocca Viscontea built between 1342 and 1349. Once at the top, walking through the narrow and characteristic streets of the village, you will enjoy a wonderful view of the Val d’Arda.
In the village, which is about 30 km from Piacenza, 42 km from Cremona, and 45 km from Parma, were shot in 1985 some scenes of the movie Ladyhawke starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Visit the GALLERY to see all the photos of Suggerimenti.
Ristorante da Faccini
phone.+39 0523 896340
Closed on Tuesday Night and Wednesday
QUALITY/ PRICE: 10
THEFOODRIVER MARK : 9