What’s Cooking Around Lake Campotosto

On the site of the village schoolmasters’ home, stands the new Locanda Mausonium, Mascioni’s one and only restaurant in my ancestral home town.

MinoThe proprietor, Domenico Carissimi, whose parents taught every school age person in Mascioni for decades, is understandably pleased to host friends and travelers in his dining and guest rooms.  Mino works for the Abruzzo National Park and is an expert on the history and lore of the region and this town which slopes gracefully from the shoreline of Lake Campotosto and lies within the 778 square miles of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.

 When you dine in Abruzzo, you can expect to be verbally offered the few primi and secondi piatti available from the kitchen that day. On the early June afternoon when I took lunch there, cooks Flori and Darius prepared superb courses starting with local salumi including the famous lard centered mortadellina di Campotosto,  chitarra with ricotta and truffles, and a mixed grill of lamb, sausage and pork.

Salumi at LM

The important thing to note here is that the meats and cheeses Mino selects are local and even this point requires more description.  I have watched sheep crunch on grass, clover and erbe di campo in fields and roadsides all around the village including at the entrance to the cemetery.   The sheep and hogs EAT local. The DOC cheeses and salumi Mino serves come from the renown livestock breeders and cheese makers, La Mascionara, whose herds graze in fragrant wild thyme, chive, and dandelion filled pastures a few kilometers from the restaurant. Logically, what they eat enhances what we taste.

Sheep munching 1

Griddled Pecorino

One particular dish Flori and Darius made for us is one that Mino generously shared with me. It is delicious in its simplicity and essential ingredient – a 2 or 3 month old DOC pecorino.

You need a hot griddle and a large metal spatula. Slice the pecorino cheese about ¼ inch or a little thicker.  Mino says it is a “fast and easy” process, but one that requires careful timing as the trick is ‘to bake it, not fry it.” Above all, “turn it just once.”  You want a little crispiness on one side as you can see in the photo.

Garnish with grilled zucchini or eggplant, or plump anchovies.

Lunch, Dinner or Room at Lago Campotosto

mixed grillIf you find yourself taking a day trip to Lago Campotosto, think about having lunch or dinner at Locanda Mausonium.  Planning a photo shoot or hike? Book a room.

Note: La Mascionara’s website is under construction, but here’s their fb page.  You can call these numbers to visit the shop just outside of Mascioni. Cell 349/3184121 – 340/2334530

Entered into the Abruzzo Blogger Community’s competition – Delicious! Abruzzo’s Foodie Trail

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3 Responses to “What’s Cooking Around Lake Campotosto”

  1. Top 10 things to eat in Sulmona

    […] Abruzzo is a cheese-lover’s heaven and there are many to choose from locally. It is the Pecorino however that is perhaps the most noteworthy and usually plays the lead role on the platter. Made with sheep’s milk it was the favourite of the shepherds making the long Transhumance journey to market from Puglia though Abruzzo and up to the markets in the North. It is excellent served with honey and paired with a good glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. You will taste plenty of different varieties when joining us on an Aperitivo Experience, or try your hand at this fabulous and super easy recipe of pan-fried Pecorino from Hang on to the Vine.  […]

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