Rustic Restaurants, punctures and snow in Southern Italy

Il Brigante, Sieti (SA)

The name of this restaurant is “the robber”, but it won’t run away with your money, honest! This was one of the very first restaurants I came to with the Italian boy and friends, and where I first experienced a group meal “the Italian way”, that is to say with a lot of gesticulating, shouting across the table, good natured banter and free flowing red wine.

rustic red wine
Homemade red wine in chipped ceramic ware...

If that sounds like your thing (and to be honest, it it isn’t then Italy isn’t really your thing either) then look no further than here. Even if it is a pain in the proverbial to get there and back. More on that later…

One of the first things you notice about this place is the bread. Now you pretty much always get bread in restaurants in Italy, and it is viewed as a “sign of civilisation” for said bread to arrive immediately and for free. Not all bread is made equal however, and the bread served here is unusual and very unique to this part of Italy. It is pane biscottato, and yes that is exactly what it sounds like… biscuit bread. This is essentially stale bread re-baked to become crunchy. Yup, that’s right. It’s not mouldy though, it’s just VERY hard. As in break-your-teeth hard. So how do you eat it? Dunk it in water of course. Duh.

biscuit bread
Crust overboard!

After munching on some (read: far too much) biscuit bread, which has a lovely flavour…if a flavour could be described as “golden” this would be it.. odd way of putting it but I’m tired and can’t explain it better, we moved onto the starters, basically an assortment of roasted vegetables. Sorry, no photo, got distracted.

Following this we had:

pasta with chestnuts and sausage
pasta with chestnuts and sausage
pollo alla brace
chicken roasted in ashes
grilled scamorza and ceps
grilled scamorza and porcini mushrooms

These liquers have inspired me, in particular that red one which is made with annurca apples… I’ll be trying that recipe out shortly!

home made liqueur
I want to try to make the red one...

The drama happened after the meal however. We walked out of the restaurant to find…

snowfall in southern italy
SNOW!

SNOW!?!? Here?

Wow.

Thus ensued:

Snowball fight in Italy
Snow fight!

The first snowball fight my friends have probably ever had (despite there not being much snow to fight with), and a drive home in the freezing weather. This would have all been fine… had the road not split open at some point, resulting in a flat tyre for the car in front of us, us, and the five (!) cars behind us.

Even this would have been fine if the boys had managed to stop arguing soon enough to realise that the bridge point for the jack under that car was broken before the other cars left.

changing a car wheel
Trying to change the wheel. At 3am. Up a mountain. In the snow. Fun...

As it was, we got home at 4.30 am, freezing cold and with a towing and repair bill twice what we paid in the restaurant. It was still a good night… despite having to go pee in a cow field while we waited for the tow truck!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post and great photos! Stop by and say hi 🙂

    1. Hi thanks! I will do!

  2. This is my favorite of all your wonderful posts so far! When we lived in Colorado (midwest USA) the snow is so dry we couldn’t make snowballs.

    1. It was so strange to see snow… I hadn’t seen it in over two years, and didn’t expect to see any this year either after not having seen any over Christmas in Scotland

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