Stew In Summer? Why Not?


Imagine putting together a nice summer day, the desire to taste something authentic and yummy, a restaurant listed by Michelin, Slow Food and Gatti-Massobrio and your Sunday is served!

But in our case it happens to be a Saturday, a clear sunny Saturday in late August. From Oltrella we get to the nearby Varzi, we then head towards the pass of Brallo di Pregola and within a few kilometers we reach the village of Bosmenso where we find Buscone, our restaurant-destination.

Getting there without a navigator is perhaps not easy, and the restaurant admits it in its website, citing the Michelin guide. But it can be a little adventure, and today it is a very nice one: the landscape is full of light and colors are saturated, especially the green meadows.

At the entrance of the small village, a wooden engraved sign directs us to the car park on the left and the restaurant on the right. We park and head into the village.

In the small terrace of the restaurant Buscone, our Buttafuoco Fiamberti 2012 is waiting to be tasted.

In the small terrace of the restaurant Buscone, our Buttafuoco Fiamberti 2012 is waiting to be tasted.

There’s a sunny and clear silence. The houses, made of stone or plastered in dazzling white, seem part of one large and articulated building where every piece fits together with the next: roofs, courtyards, alleys, balconies, porches, all appears to be the work of a single architect. At the window sills and on the balconies, cascades of red and pink geraniums overflow their pots. Another wooden sign, perhaps a remnant of the summer festival just ended, welcomes us “good evening everyone”. A spick-and-span village.

As we walk and look around to find the restaurant, a resident driving a quad slowly overtakes us. On the quad’s rack is a laundry tub made of light blue plastic, full of fruits and vegetables. The quad proceeds, then stops in front of a gate, opens it, enters, and everything goes back to quiet.

In a few steps we reach Buscone. We are among the few customers expected on Saturday and we can have lunch in the small shady terrace in front of the restaurant, beyond the alley. From the garden nearby, a Lagerstroemia tree in full bloom occasionally sends us, thanks to the breeze, a few small pink petals.

Two first courses so different must both be tasted, no?

Two first courses so different must both be tasted, no?

The atmosphere cannot be better and the welcome is just as lovely. The menu is written on the blackboard at the entrance, and offers seasonal dishes and ingredients; the only exceptions are the salami(home-made) and game.

But I say, is it the case to be enticed by venison stew in August? I mention this to the waitress,  confessing a bit of shame. “do not worry, the stew is in demand throughout the year.”

Ok, shame vanishes quickly so we order, then consume slowly among the hushed chatter. We enjoy a hearty appetizer with salami filzetta and cucito, coppa, pancetta, seasoned melon machine-sliced and served in curly tufts, rice cake, egg salad. Follows a risotto with pumpkin flowers and summer truffle and ravioli with game. Then a tender and tasty venison stew with baked potatoes. Not content, we end with an ice cream with almond crumble, coffee and final Bargnolino. All well-watered by a Buttafuoco Fiamberti 2012, that we completely drain (damn it!).

As often happens, we are the last to leave the restaurant Buscone. We get up from the table feeling light, perhaps we could walk longer and complete the visit to the village of Bosmenso, but Oltrella awaits us … our apple and pear trees are loaded with fruit to pick … we certainly cannot let them wait.