Bergamo part 2: La Colombina

Away from the main action of the Citta Alta along a pretty lane lacing the hillside, La Colombina sets itself apart. 

The neat trattoria with its deep honey walls,  comely wooden furniture and hot-pink potted flowers looks like an idyllic Italian family home, complete with hustle-bustle and cat. But the real treat, passing through the dining room straight ahead to the balcony, is the view. 

We arrived there late into the evening after a hard day’s lunch and afternoon doze, once more assailing the climb up to the restaurant with all the vigour of a pair promised dinner. We had booked a spot on the balcony and felt very pleased with ourselves for doing so. The vision of the lower Alps green and sloping off into the distance was interrupted only by terracotta rooftops and the grand city ramparts below. Not a bad start, I thought.

And then came the food.. 

The menu was short and we ordered almost all of it.

Cured meats came first with slithers of bresaola, prosciutto, lardo and an oddish swirly one that looked a bit like a lollipop crossed with spam.  Bresaola is smoked beef and lardo is lard – the italian ‘o’ at the end hardly adds to the romance of the dish but Well-fed was keen on a brief affair with it.  ‘It tastes like lard’, was his verdict and sadly I’d have to agree.

Then came a ‘ricotta muffin’ – not the English or American muffin I half expected – but more an Italian orb of dense souffley deliciousness. 

Then came round two: the pasta course.  There’s something a bit obscene about a country where pasta is a course casually slipped in before the main. Though when my taglitelle arrived, thick with creamy taleggio and salsiccia, I soon dismissed all thoughts of that. Well Fed’s dish wasn’t as good as mine. The casoncelli, Bergamo’s ravioli, stuffed with sausagemeat and topped with a sage and butter sauce – which sounds mouthwatering enough – was deemed not that flavoursome.. rich, yes but without a distinct taste.

I gave him some of my taleggio to help him get over it.


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