Thanks to Fabio, our excellent concierge at the Bisanzo, we booked lunch at Ca' de Ven. Other than wanting a good meal, I needed help in learning about Sangiovese di Romagna and he urged us to book at Ca' de Ven. My interest in Sangiovese di Romagna began several years ago but I had not been in a venue where I could learn and taste. Soon after we sat down the owner, a lady, introduced herself and I explained that I was a student in search of a teacher. "I am Rita and I will help you." Nicola our waiter took our orders: pisatelli (fresh clams and courgettes) and ravioli filled with old cheese and a light meat sauce. While we waited we had a glass of light Albana di Romagna that woke up our taste buds. Our meals arrived with the first glass of Sangiovese a 'Reserva 2009' followed by a parade of four more Sangiovese. Each was distinctly different. Although the restaurant had filled up Rita came over after each glass was poured and explained to me how the wine was made, what tastes to identify, where and when the finish began and why it lingered. A table of Italians across the room watched me, smiled and nodded encouragement. Perhaps they understood I was having my "Zorba teach me to dance," moment. I kept jotting notes, swirling, smelling, and learning. Rita and I talked about other wines, I gave her some addresses in France, and we talked recipes and cooking, and where the wine industry is going in Emilia Romagna. Why would we want to return? An excellent selection of regional wines proposed by a competent staff who are willing to teach and share their knowledge. Our meals were solid trattoria fare: fresh ingredients, nothing pretentious, full of flavour and good value. Why go? Because you can learn a lot, it's fun, and it tastes great.
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