> SlowTrav > Italy > Restaurants > Reviews > Basilicata

Laurenzana: A` Camastra

SS 92 n.10 (Potenza) , Phone: 0971.961393

Reviewed by: valerie from Italy, review #2708

When: 2007

Fantastic fare. Old World food where absolutely everything is hand made and served with pride.

Directions: On the main street in Laurenzana; it's the only restaurant in town

Taking its name from the Lucano word for the large cooking pots that hung over wood fires in days gone by, this restaurant preserves the cuisine of that era, preparing traditional Lucanian fare without pretense. Everything here is prepared in-house, including the rose` wine and after-dinner liqueur. The bread, the pasta ... everything! This is down-home slow food at its best.

The owner and his young daughter tended our table, Our hosts - my cousin and his friends - instructed them to give us a sampling of all the local specialties and the owner complied, proudly presenting us with a multitude of plates that just kept appearing from the kitchen.

Six antipasti which included the "usual" prosciutto and salami samplers (as if home-cured meats of this quality can really be considered "usual"); peperoni cruschi (canít get me enough of those); frittata squares; and a tasty morsel Iíll not soon forget ... spicy cherry peppers stuffed with a tuna paste that set off sensory signals in my mouth. The combination of olive oil-cured pepper, heat, salty and smooth tuna turned out to be a wonderful mix.

Three pastas, because why stop at one, says my cousin. Three pasta dishes that made me swoon and filled me up. Orecchiete with broccoli rape (rapini) and pungent pecorino, cavatelli with sausage and mushrooms, and tagliatelle with tomato ragu. Three ways to spell "yum" and "love" and "welcome." Ah, la famiglia.

Just when I thought weíd be safe, another round of forks appeared, signaling another course. Meat. How could we not try the local lamb? With roasted potatoes that were seasoned to perfection. Now I was beyond full. No more mangia, I pleaded.

No problem, Italians have a cure for overeating called the digestivo. Normally I donít much care for them as they are strongly alcoholic and a strange brew of bitter herbs heavily sweetened. Here, however, they create their own from coffee that is utterly heavenly for anyone who is a coffee drinker. (It did the trick, too.)

A` Camastra is high in the hills south of Potenza in the pretty little town of Laurenzana, and serves authentic, hearty Basilicatan cuisine for lunch and dinner. (Pizza is available only at dinner.)

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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