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Finding good food in Italy isn't hard to do. But, occasionally a special place is visited that is different from the rest.  And we found that very one on our recent trip to Pavia....at Erbaluce. Next to the Duomo in Pavia, we happened upon Erbaluce, a modern and warm restaurant owned by chef Antonia Plati. A self-taught chef, Plati was a lawyer in Milan when she gave it up to open her first restaurant in 2006. Her husband acts as wine buyer and server when not working as a doctor. The style of the food is a modern Italian interpretation with a French twist, and the dishes are inspired by her family home in Basilicata, near the sea.
Located 40 minutes south of Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, is the town of Pavia, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe (1361). And, just across the river from Pavia sits the region of Oltrepò Pavese, which means just that. It is “on the other side of the Po River from Pavia”. Because of its rolling hills, it is frequently called the “Tuscany of the North” but although the Oltrepò Pavese is one of the largest wine producing regions in all of Italy, it is still fairly unknown, which makes it a great "off-the-beaten" path place to visit.
Brachetto d'Acqui, a slightly sweet, slightly effervescent, red wine that is delicious to drink on its own, or pair with desserts or cheeses. But, as we discovered during a cooking class at The B. Ristorante in Nizza Monferrto, Acqui Terme, Italy, Brachetto can also be use to cook with.....and in cocktails. In the class, Chef and Owner Barbara taught both a sweet dish and a savory dish. Involtini - made with pork wrapped around lardo and prunes: