ROADTRIP – VISIONS OF ITALY ON THE CONNECTICUT COAST

Bufalina is a tiny wood fired pizza joint in Guilford, Ct owned by Melissa Pellegrino and Matteo Scialabba, chefs and co-author’s of the Italian Farmer’s Table cookbooks.  The small 325 square foot space in an old carriage house on Boston Post Road is just off of I-95, exit 59.  A quaint oasis amidst strip malls, fast food restaurants and a CVS pharmacy, and the perfect half way stop on my way home from Boston.  I’m a big fan of their books on agriturismi cooking which highlight the fresh, local, seasonal and creative farmhouse cuisine of Italy.   Matt and Melissa traveled throughout Italy working on sustainable farms with agriturismi, recording recipes and absorbing local and regional traditions from each location.  Yes, this is my dream job in another life!  In addition they worked at some of the best New York City bakeries and restaurants before settling in their hometown to bring a taste of Italia to the Connecticut coast. 

I arrived at Bufalina around 6:00 and Matthew was working the oven.  The space holds about 8-10 seats situated at a counter that surrounds the wood-burning oven.  They do take reservations and seem to do a good deal of take-out.  There are also tables out back along with planters of herbs and even a small fig tree.

I decided to go for the name-sake Bufalina which had a lightly charred crust, a bright tomato sauce and the ever-creamy buffalo mozzarella with torn basil leaves and washed it down with an aranciata.  The menu consists of 10 pizzas and one salad and for now is BYOB.  The special pizzas utilize local farms seasonal produce, sweet Italian frying pepper and sausage and orchard white peach, prosciutto and provolone.  This is a soulful place on a not so soulful looking strip.  My only regret is I forgot to get my copy of their new book Southern Italian Farmer’s Table signed……oh well, next trip.

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Carlita’s Best of 2010

Boxing Day Piedmont party, bagna cauda with cardoons, beef in Barolo, polenta, escarole and blood orange salad with air dried olives and fennel,  97 Barbaresco and Barolos, massive storm, very interesting people……..

Suzan Frecon at David Zwirner, elegant pared down paintings in red ochres and blues, the surfaces exist in time as they absorb and reflect the natural lighting in the gallery.

Tortilla soup at Ferrings in Dallas, TX.

Mark Olivier of Domaine de la Pepiere red cuvee from Muscadet, naturally made hand harvested wine from the cult Muscadet producer.  He makes a small amount of red wine and the cuvee percentages change slightly year to year with cabernet franc, cot, merlot and cab sauvignon.  I stock up on this as my every day wine, light, fresh with pristine fruit.

German Potato salad and boudin blanc from Schaller and Weber

Rouge Creamery Oregon Smokey Blue, an artisanal cheese producer from Oregon makes a roquefort like blue which is smoked over hazelnut shells.  Pefect with a chenin blanc or reisling.

Cooking my way through River Café Cookbook paying tribute to cooking guru Rose Gray. The pork loin braised in balsamic is inspired and simple, a great dinner party dish.

eggs from Meg’s chickens

Cookbook of the year: Italian Farmer’s Table, Mathew Scialaabba and Melissa Pellegrino, a culinary couple’s travels through the agritourismo’s in northern Italy.  I love the creativity and invention that happens with Italian farmhouse cooking, it doesn’t get any more local than this!  Look for the sequel focusing on southern Italy coming out soon.

Food court at the Brooklyn Flea…

Dylan’s Witmark Demo’s 1962-1964…….