After arriving in Italy we immediately drove south to the Basilicata region near the instep of Italy's "boot" and the quaint town of Bernalda where Francis Ford Coppola traces his roots and returned several years ago to buy and renovate Palazzo Margherita with his daughter Sophia (who was married here?). There are only 9 rooms and the "restaurant " is indeed the patio or kitchen of the palazzo and only open to guests. Last night it ws the three of us and another couple that were treated to top notch service in a most congenial garden setting.
Crusty awesome homemade bread arrived and we dressed with local olive oil, balsamico, and some red pepper flakes. Oro di Elena was a local Fiana Bianco grape from Basilicata wine from Masseria Cardillo that was dry and had a wonderfuly minerally and slight grassy taste. It was superb with the starters as I had the most amazing Cozze ammollicate or mussels baked with breadcrumbs and Will had the Calamari with fava bean puree with mint. Sam raved about his eggplant caponata, and I explained he can have it made every day a different way when we get to Sicily tomorrow!
The pastas were very good with Sam's Lucanian black truffle risotto and Will havinf the same with shrimp, and my divine Linguine alla vongole(clams) winning stars as well.
Sam tried the Zucchini/ALmond Pesto Pasta for his main course which he said was okay while Will and I both enjoyed the "Peasant" roasted sausage over a bed of rustic crispy potatoes but felt a bit over-carbed. A bottle of F. Negroamaro, Negroamaro Salenino IGT from Feudi di San Marzano was the perfect red, but the 90 degree heat (albeit dry) was killing us by the end the long day of driving and touring sent us right to bed!