Roccamorice is famed for its low & high meadows of dry stone walls and tholoi, the small huts that the shepherds took shelter in at the time of the transumanza. These were a little hidden by the snow mantle that had hugged the area when we visited, but we still nevertheless got to see one in all its splendour, sat next door to Roccamorice’s Agriturismo Tholos.
Attracted by the review Gambero Rosso posted on its website, this bio-dynamic agriturismo lived up to all its delicious expectations fortunately as we’d invited friends to drive up from Chieti to meet us there for lunch. There are 3 dining rooms here, but they’re conveniently placed so you feel as if in each area you are in a small little intimate farmhouse, on the walls of which has been a perfectly selected display of farming regalia and photographs of village life from the past.
Antipasti were a delight. Alongside a piquant cauliflower giardiniera, sat in a small earthenware pot was what looked at first glance to be ricotta or formaggi fresca, it’s taste soon put you right; this was aged, almost smelly Crema di Pecorino that had been made with goats & sheep milk and aged for nearly a year, divine when eaten with green spicy fig like marmalade salsa, great on their moist Solina bread ( a type of wheat naive to Abruzzo that grows well up high and they are 700 masl) – a simple dish but perfect to think about taking on a picnic or to eat when you’re having one of those bored of everything moments.
This was followed by the tastiest, thinly-sliced pancetta that I have eaten as part of a salume selection whilst in Abruzzo; beautifully lean without losing a hint of flavour. Next there were slices of a basil mousse stuffed pie and, hot on its heels , meat-packed fruity sausages that were incredible – one I need to get a recipe for. Hot antipasti provided a dish that dated back to Roman times, farro served on a plate drizzled with peperoncini oil followed by a local dish that was a mixture of polenta, farro and sweet pumpkin, deliciously light and something I am going to try as the nutty farro and sweetness of the pumpkin worked superbly.
Primo dishes consisted of a softened cauliflower & ricotta-stuffed pancake sealed and sprinkled with walnuts, next came chittara with sugo. The scripelle (pancake) is again something to try rustling up to persuade a cauliflower hater to become a cauliflower lover and is a lovely light winter dish.
Mains were grilled lamb with lots of rosemary a wonderfully flavoursome goat peppery stew accompanied for those who could make room crispy jacket potatoes. We struggled but still went onto dessert, all having a mixture whose combined deliciousness managed to be wolfed down like a shot. House wine carried the fruit theme that seemed to run through the meal perfectly.
Price – €23 per head per 3 courses not including wine
Value for money – 10/10
Quality of food – 9/10
Contrada Collarso 105 | Roccamorice | 65020 (PE)
Telephone: 085 8572590