Anne's Blog

On the Island of Elba: Anchovies to Octopus… and Not Only

Date: August 31, 2017 - categories: , - 2 Comments

On one of our meanders on the island of Elba, we followed twisting roads skirting wooded mountains, ending up in the tiny port town of Rio Marina on the eastern side of the island.

rio-marina-a-good-one

It was lunchtime. No better time to arrive in Rio Marina: we’d heard rave reviews about Trattoria/Pizzeria Mambo, across from the port where boats rocked at anchor.

Across the street from Tratttoria Pizzeria Mambo, the port and a beach

mambo-accross

Umbrellas shade the patio of Mambo

mambo-on-left

The owner’s smiling daughter, Claudia, resolved my curiosity on the choice of the name “Mambo” before seating us. “When I was a little girl, it was the name of a pizzeria in one of my favorite cartoons…so when Papa’ opened in 1987 and asked me for the suggestion of a name, there could only be one answer…”

Claudia laughs as she tells me how the name “Mambo” was chosen.

smiles

We met papa’ Claudio as soon as we were seated: he brought us a basket of the breads and focaccia he bakes in his wood-burning oven (“where I also roast the fish we serve,” he told us).

Claudio offers us tastes of his breads and focacce

pino-and-owner

We chatted with Claudio about his passione for the baking of pizzas, breads and focacce. The dough counts, he affirmed, but so do the ingredients of the topping: “for example, our capers here are not as tasty as those tiny Sicilian ones growing on the island of Pantelleria.”

Claudio talked pizza and fish with us on the restaurant patio, sitting in front of the small shed with blue wooden doors where his father once kept his fishing equipment. His father had worked the land by day, fished at night and sold the fish in the early morning at the port. One of his boats is in a place of honor on the Mambo patio.

Claudio talks about pizza goodness, pizza ingredients.

claudio-says-you-need-small-tiny-capers

His father’s fishing boat, on the Mambo patio: a tribute

mambo-boat-out-front

These days, Claudio buys the fish for his trattoria/pizzeria from the fishermen selling off their boats in the port. We knew the seafood would be tasty here but Claudio’s “pizza enthusiasm” had me curious: I asked him if i could order a “baby pizza” for an antipasto as a full pizza would be too much as I’d ordered the day’s specialty: pasta with octopus. He agreed with a smile, asking me if I’d try his specialty: pizza topped with fresh tomatoes, mountain origano, Pantelleria capers and slices of garlic. Si, of course.
But daughter Claudia served up far more than one type of pizza:

claudia-and-pizzas

pizza-tastes

……and Claudio had sent out slices for Pino, too, but he could only manage a couple of tiny bites. He had chosen a Claudio seafood antipasto special, anchovy carpaccio. An enticement to the eye as well as the palate, the halved fresh anchovies on a bed of arugula were topped with rounds of baby tomatoes, Pantelleria capers, a squeeze of lemon, and drizzled with olive oil.

carpaccio-splendor

pino-happy-with-his-antipasto

While Pino relished his anchovies, I enjoyed the pasta al polpo – and mamma mia, what magic Claudio works with octopus, too:

pasta-with-octopus.

I should have known from the sign outside the restaurant:

mambo-octopus-sign

The octopus pasta and Claudio’s pizza tastes had been a full meal for me but Pino carried on with la frittura mista – as soon as Claudio had told him that he could include red mullet in the fried fish dish:

Server Violetta brings Pino his frittura mista

frittura-mista-e-violetta

Claudio’s frittura mista includes a Pino favorite: red mullet

frittura-mista

A satisfied Pino squeezes lemon on his fried fish

fritto-misto-with-lemon-by-pino

After that fish feast, just an espresso. We’d thought. And then Violetta offered us a taste of the Mambo liquore. Made by Claudio of Elba mountain wild herbs, Violetta told us the ingredients are a secret. We didn’t learn the ingredients but we bought a bottle of the liquore in any case: a taste of Elba to take home.

Violetta offered us a taste of Claudio’s liqueur made with “secret” ingredients.

Violettta-tells-us-the-liquore-ingredients-remain-a-secret

“Che buono questo liquore!”

liquore-pino
liquore

Pino nursed that liquore and read the daily paper but how to resist that sea across the street? I couldn’t – and went for a swim before we headed out of Rio Marina.

Small beach right across the street from Mambo

rio-marina-beach

Mambo, across from the beach, outside of the seaside village of Rio Marina

mambo-out-front

When I headed back after a swim, I found a “legend” in the kitchen: Marika, the 80-year-old mother of Claudio. He’d learned seafood cooking from her and had told us about her culinary skills, adding “now and then we serve a dish she makes with stoccafisso (dried mackerel) – and Mamma comes in to make it. Only she can do this dish.”

She was just starting on her famous mackerel stew for the evening dinner.

Elegant Marika, at age eighty, cooking up her special dish in the Mambo kitchen

marika-smiling-and-elegant

But we had to get back to Marina in Campo – and who had room for dinner?
Next trip to the island of Elba, perhaps………

The view of Rio Marina as we head back to our Elba apartment in Marina in Campo

rio-marina-as-we-live

A stop for a meal in Rio Marina will be on our agenda.

me-and-pino

Read more here about the magical island of Elba
Read about seafood goodness in the port city of Piombino (enroute to Elba)
Read about our second time in Piombino for good-eating
Read about – and see – the joys of Elba
Read about last year’s summer vacation on an island (in Latium, not in Tuscany)

2 Comments

  • Janet Eidem says:

    I’m so happy to read about this wonderful vacation you and Pino have taken. It must refresh and excite you. The food looks wonderful!!!

  • james Giambrone says:

    I can only say that your food experience in Elba at rattoria/Pizzeria Mambo will be my inspiration for serving great Italian food at Jacaranda Bistro, here in Kathmandu. The port town of Rio Marina on the eastern side of the island looks divine and a place to visit one day soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website www.annesitaly.com
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
TYPE OF DATA TREATED
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address anne@annesitaly.com

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)