by Alessio Giuliano.
There is an area between the provinces of Palermo and Trapani where every stone is a witness to history. Ancient history, Greek, but modern history as well, that of the Risorgimento, the 19th century movement for the unification of Italy. Just a short distance away, the Temple of Segesta with its Greek Theater, and the “Pianto dei Romani”, the tears of the Romans, a spot near the township of Calatafimi where one of the most famous battles for creation of the new kngdom of Italy was fought in the 19th century. Here Garibaldi uttered to Nino Bixio that celebrated phase “Nino, here we will create Italy or we will die”. In this area, one with an important tourist appeal, perhaps not sufficiently given its just due, we discovered the “Le Gole Ristò” restaurant, a bistrot just outside of the town of Calatafimi run by Nicolò Stabile, born in Alcamo but now a citizen of Calatafimi.
Upon entering into the restaurant, the glance cannot help seeing a rich display of meat and corners where the gastronomical specialties which distinguish the restaurant are shown, among them many items “protected” by the Slow Food movement. Nicolò, in fact, defines himself a Selector, while the work in the kitchen is entrusted to his partner, Giuseppe Parisi. Among the special items, the Ovaledde oranges, a citrus fruit which had almost disappeared and which he works as emulsions in various dishes. The bread is artisan-made with natural yeasts.
We draw your attention to the menu’s selection of cheese and charcuterie, which include a Ragusano, a controlled appellation cows’ milk cheese from the province of Ragusa, a Piacentino Ennese cheese from the town of Enna; a goat cheese of Girgentina wrapped in a fig leaf, accompanied by the honey of Sicilian black bees given an added fragrance from orange blossoms,; a marmalade of Giarratana onions, and the black mulberry jam of Enna. It is interesting to note traces of past dominations in the history of the island, for example the Piacentino Ennese is worked with saffron, brought to Sicily by the Arabs, while the technique of the Arabs included the habit of aging cheese in spices.
Moving on to the cooked dishes: the sweet and sour eggplant-based caponata, toasted bread, and the capers of the island of Salina; the fondue of smoked Provola cheese of the Madonia mountains, radish buds, meadow mushrooms, and an emulsion of extra-virgin Nocellara olive oil; a cream of fresh fava beans combined with roast beef cooked in a wood fire and grains of dried Ovaledda oranges; a cream of green peas with their buds, wine-macerated stewed meat, and summer truffles from Sambuca di Sicilia; the canapé of Biancolilla wheat bread with the Cosaruciaru beans of Scicli and the lard of the black pigs of the Nebrodi mountains raised by Agostino Ninone in Mirto (in the province of Messina); the soufflé of white broccoli worked with a fermented anchovy fish sauce and flakes of broccoli buds. To finish, a succulent T-bone steak of Cinisara beef.
In general, what is striking is the excellence of the raw materials used in kitchen and the attention given to the selection of local products. The wine list has 120 different choices. The prices are quite reasonable, approximately 30 euro for a complete meal, wines excluded.
Le Gole Ristò – Trattoria, Pizzeria
Via G. Cusmano – 91013 Calatafimi TP
Mobile. +39 3291072610
Closed on Monday
Closed for vacation: from 15/sept until 15/oct.
Credit Cards: yes
Price: 30 euro (excl. beverages)