Italians can’t help themselves; they are slaves to their cravings. With an hour’s notice I once travelled 200kms to the coast because a friend was suddenly stricken with an uncontrollable craving for fresh seafood. Another time I spent three hours in the car because someone decided it would be a good idea to get a steak in a restaurant just outside
. Another friend even suggested we take a train to Florence because he fancied a pizza – luckily work commitments put an end to that particular excursion. Naples
A few days back someone suggested a trip to the mountains for polenta and wild boar stew. I should have seen that one coming. We are in the midst of wild boar hunting season here at the moment and Italian cravings tend to be seasonally dictated. From late autumn through to the end of winter everyone here is always talking wild boar and looking to get their fix. ‘Eat it while it’s in season’ - that’s what they say here.
So that’s how I ended up driving in convoy to an off-the-beaten trattoria in the pre-Alps in
Lombardy. We took three cars – wild boar has always been a popular choice here. It was a typical Alpine trattoria: rustic, hearty seasonal fare, a roaring fire, a warm welcome and a wonderful atmosphere. The polenta was local – a variety known as Taragna, a blend of coarse ground corn flour and buckwheat which takes about 45 minutes to cook. The stew was rich and moreish. Large chunks of wild boar cooked for hours in wine to the point where the meat simply fell off the bone. It might well have been a long drive but no one was complaining. Here’s to seasonal cravings!