Pepe Rosso, Reutlingen – A Treasure Trove
I’ve gotten used to finding good Italian restaurants in Germany, and even finding those “special” kind of authentic Italian in small German cities. You know, the kind that have canzone Napolitano in the background and everyone in the restaurant speaks with a rather strong Sicilian accent. Indeed, in these places, the recipes are authentic, the service quite friendly and the atmosphere VERY mediterranean. But what I dont expect to find is a 1997 Sassicaia and a 1995 Ornellaia. That’s right: 97 and 95. Ordinarily, these wines can only be found in auction or on the highest rated wine lists, as 97 is quite simply the best vintage of the last 50 years in Italy, 95 being equally formidable. But there I was, in Reutlingen, conducting the Wüttembergischer Philharmonie and when I asked where is the best Italian restaurant, only the Italian taxi driver (from Rome no less) could tell me. On Hermann Hesse Strasse no less (Siddhartha my favorite book). So favorites applied: a walnut ravioli topped with a luscious creamy gorgonzola sauce and rack of lamb cooked in the real Italian style; that is, Lamb Chops Scottadito: Scottadito means finger lickin’ good. Grilled and crusty on the outside, pink and juicy on the inside, it bordered on the pornographic. I could not resist being the carnivore and devouring every bone in ecstatic fervor. And to end with a classic tiramisu, with a marscapone that melted on your tongue, even able to taste the egg white itself? I asked the owner how it was possible to have such wine and food in small Reutlingen, and he simply smiled and said, “Treasure can found even in the unlikeliest of places.” How true, this treasure trove was like the gold at the end of the rainbow.
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