Rediscover Il Fornaio


While working so close in proximity to Il Fornaio for nearly nine years now, the restaurant has become a main staple for quick grab-and-go sandwich from their lunch window, or from time to time a nice sit-down leisurely meal. On a recent weeknight, I had the opportunity to dine in and I was reminded of their clever regional menu approach, delivering food and wine samplings from different regions in Italy, characterized each with their own locally inspired delicacies.

From now through November 18, Piemonte (Piedmont) is the focus region on the menu. Located in Northwest Italy, Piemonte is the region at the top left of the boot, anchored by Torino and bordered by the Alps and France. My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Piemonte in the 1930s and I still have cousins (by the dozens) who live in small towns throughout the region.

From the Menu Della Cena, I quickly found familiar offerings from the region decorated throughout – from porcini mushrooms in salads, soups and sauces, to soft cheeses, white truffle accents, Bosc pears and rabbit ragu. (Rabbit – or coniglio in Italian and “cunee” as my grandmother called it in Piemontese, the Italian dialect of the region – was one of her favorites and served only on very special occasions. I’ve tried rabbit once and let’s just say I plan to reserve the samplings in the same way my grandmother did!)

I selected the Risotto con Porcini e Gamberetti, rice with shrimp, porcini mushrooms, baby spinach, shallots and a touch of cream. I learned from the menu that the rice from the region is considered by some to be the best in the world, and the area produces more rice than any other Italian region.
The full line-up of wines from Piemonte included four whites and three reds, which you can conveniently sample in a flight of three-half glasses, if you’re having trouble choosing just one. Other special offerings include a 3-course tasting menu where you can select one item per course for your own special regional tour.

With so many delectable choices on the menu, I plan to find another Piemonte dinner opportunity before November 18th!  And next up, from December 5-18, enjoy their Best of Festa menu, where you can select from dishes spanning the regions for a sampling of authentic food and wines from throughout Italy. Buon Appeitito!   

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