Perfect Day Perfect lunch da Bruno

by Joelle

 

 To wake up with  a blue sky in Forte dei Marmi , a small charming town in Versilia, it’s a rare gift. If you take the beautiful day and decide to spend it at the Bagno Bruno with Rita  her dedicated children Daniele and Serena and the wonderful staff. Even more if you call the emerald green beach cabins establishment and manage to book two lettini , sunbeds by the water then you can bet your day will be one your years’ best!

On our arrival we park our bikes.  We are greeted by Rita herself  in a scooter . The owner of Bagno Bruno is the daughter of Vittorio and his wife Pina who have left her in charge of the beach and restaurant management since 2004.  Rita is on a rush  she must pick up some fresh fruit at the mercato and will be back at the time we will have lunch to make sure we will not miss anything as she does with all her clientele. She know far too well we are kosher and makes it always a point to instruct the kitchen herself about the different ingredient options available that day.

It’s a promising hot day. Serena smiles proudly, today’s catch is exceptional . After all her there must be a good reason why her customers have been coming back every Summer over and over again for almost 4 generations now.

 We have picked our fish and reserved a few antipasti and now ready to surrender to the some serious tanning between the sea and the Apuan Alps at our back. After a few San Pellegrino water , a long walk and a few dives into the mild sea water, my husband and I have the same thought.  We should follow the aroma brought to us by a light breeze of oven baked little flattened, with a fragrant darkened crust or even flavoured with olives, rosemary or extra virgin olive oil bread we have been craving for almost a year now.

We are not far from artisan bakeries  that produce corn, wheat, chestnut flour, spelt and potatoes, and mills that still employ stone grinding . Here in Versilia and especially at Rita’s kitchen it is possible to trace the ideal trail on a discovery of ancient flavours.

Daniele in a white impeccable apron and focused in meticulously scrubbing and rinsing  large black shells, locally called cozze.  The affordable  Mediterranean mussel will be soon sautéed in olive oil , a few garlic cloves, peperoncino (red pepper) and white wine in a dramatic presentation with spaghetti al dente and obvioulsy topped with fresh parsley.   Without getting distracted  from his task Daniele let us  know that our favorite table is set under the yellow shade of an ombrellone.

The old  wood Capannone where the family enjoys some deserved rest was kept in the same original wood it was build in 1900 . Wifi is an add-on. The family wants you to feel at home and part of that love they share with each other and with the culinary tradition of their ancestors.   Part of their hospitality is to surround you with staff that themselves have been part of the family for more than 20 years.

From the pretty menu with a picture of Vittorio and Pina and with a note  from the family wishing buon appettito  my husband picks his  primo , the starter. It’s called Spaghetti  alla Nerano . The Neapolitan specialty was invented in 1954 by Maria Grazia who owned a restaurant with that name.

I spy furtively the kitchen with the excuse of going to the restroom. While the pasta water boils, the zucchini are  being fried and the spaghetti cooked. A quick purée is then  quickly created out of some of the zucchini, some of the boiling water and then all tossed together with some freshly grated Provolone del Monaco parmesan cheese.

The result is an 18 euros masterpiece with two glasses of the sfuso della casa, the house white wine.  My dish is improvised. Being kosher I avoid  seafood and shrimps . Alessandra another  family member, brings a melange of red mullet, sea bream , scorpio fish, sole and anchovies pasta dish. Caprese salad  and basil for two, oven baked focaccia farcita  with delicious fontina cheese olive oil  and rosemary , affogato ai fichi with chocolate and rum,  fresh berries ,two expressos and we are in heaven until next year.

Photos credits: Jacopo Ventura

 

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