Anne's Blog

In L’Aquila, a Family Shares Abruzzo Cuisine

Date: May 14, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

Heading to L’Aquila is always a ride of stunning splendor as we head through the mountains in southeastern Umbria into the region of Abruzzo.


And on a recent trip, splendor awaited us in L’Aquila at lunchtime:  of a gastronomical sort.  The sizzling meats on the grill near the entrance were the sign:

Massimo Madama and his family cook up the goodness here at La Brace (“the grill” or also – and selecting your meats from the entryway glass case with Massimo is first stop on arrival for many:

As Massimo sliced and chopped, he and Pino talked about the tastiest meats for the mixed grill which Pino had eyed on the menu:

I knew I’d skip the secondo, though, for just a pasta dish….so we headed to our table.

But passing the antipasto display on our way, changed my mind on “just the pasta”….

….and a buonissimo mixed antipasto started off our feast:

And then, a pause: into the kitchen with proud Massimo to meet the magician of the goodness, his mamma, Vanda (at the burners for over fifty years!):

Massimo introduced me to his sister Maria Pia, too, about to serve up grilled meats….

Jovial brother, Nello, was in the dining room serving up a tempting pasta dish with mushrooms to a long-time, favorite client:

Nello made sure I saw all the portraits on the wall of their father, now deceased but once alongside their mamma at the burners:

After my “tour” to meet all the family,  back to our table as my pasta had arrived, as well as Pino’s grilled meats.  Vanda had sent me out two “half-portions” (so called!) of pasta as I knew their amatriciana would be a winner but their pasta dish with saffron and guanciale (pork cheek) tempted:

(Pino helped me out…)

Pino relished his mixed grill and Vanda dropped in from the kitchen to make sure…! 

The young people (from the Veneto region) at the next table savored mixed grilled meats and a local specialty, arrosticini (skewered lamb tidbits):

And Massimo wanted a photo of us with his mamma Vanda and the two men who supply their meats and cheeses:

Before bidding our arrivederci, I asked Vanna where she found the energy to continue cooking lunches and dinners, six days a week. She touched affectionately Massimo and smiled as she said, “Loro sono la mia forza” (“They are my strength”, i.e., her four children).
Vanda, forza e avanti!  We look forward to feasting again at La Brace – and seeing you at the burners (or dropping in on guests in the dining room).
Read about the L’Aquila earthquake (2009)
PS  Countless other articles on L’Aquila and the region of Abruzzo on the blog (use the SEARCH bar to locate)

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