Regensburg - Osteria Federico II
Regensburg is the residence of the Thurn und Taxis royal family, who were responsible for protecting the roads of what was the imperial postal service of the Holy Roman Empire and then the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire, and whose castle is now the center of Regensburg tourism, and home of its summer music festival.
In fact, Regensburg was founded by Roman legionnaires in 179 AD, protecting another empire from the free barbarians of Germania. Now that it is Germany, a little bit of Italy still stands, and not only the ruins.
So it was with great hope that I searched for an autenticoitaliano in this historic city. Osteria Federico II is just that ristorante, a medieval stone's throw away from the castle.
The menu has all the "hits" of Italian cucina, and though I was tempted to sample the homemade gnocchi, or the Roman saltimbocca, I settled for my favorites for that is how I would best determine the authenticity of the place, even on a sleepy Monday night.
The buffala caprese was light and fluffy, with ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. Not too much balsamico or oil, but the right balance of salt and pepper seasoning.
Homemade tagliolini with black truffles was a surprise in this part of Germany in July, but it was worth ordering to see just what they offered. Sure enough these were truffles from Alba. The chef, from Piemonte, showed me his stash of at least 10 large black truffles. Impressive. Come october, he will go home and the white truffles will be on the menu. But this was still good enough. The truffles were full of flavor, the pasta creamy, but not too buttered. Just right.
Finally, of course, grilled lamb chops.
The test of my favorite meat comes as no surprise and the chef understood my request for scotaditto style. He was even kind enough to wrap the bones in foil so I could eat them as any Texan would enjoy- by hand! This was tender, fresh baby lamb, grilled to perfection. With a side of grilled vegetables and a Nero d'Avola rosso, I was back on the Appian Way. At the end of the road, naturally, a tiramisu. I was not disappointed. As everything else was authentic thus far, so too was the marscarpone.
Complimenti Federico II! You may have not been Roman, but you were the most powerful of the HRE emperors, and after this holy meal, I'm certain you too would have been pleased to see autenticoitaliano in your old feifdom.
Osteria Federico II