It’s all about the pig at Al Pompiere in Verona, Italy. This is a restaurant that has an entire page of the menu devoted to different types of salumi. Al Pompiere is tucked away in a little laneway just off the Piazza Delle Erbe and it has to be one of the most charming and atmospheric restaurants that I have ever eaten in. The walls of the cosy room are lined with so many framed black and white photographs that it acts as a form of wallpaper while each of the dark wooden tables is set with checked green and white tablecloths. Look up to the ceiling and you will see large salami hanging along with a collection of miniature dolls that looks like witches and a pompiere (fireman’s hat).
Photos literally wallpaper the walls of Al Pompiere
Our waiter does not speak much English and obviously tired by our ham fisted Italian she sends one of the chefs out of the kitchen who speaks English fluently. He stands before us in his chef whites and hat diligently taking down our order before translating it all back to the waitress. Of course we cannot go past the page of cured pig. We ask for the chef’s selection of salumi for two. The platter that comes out would quite easily feed a family of six. The chef who has made the selection comes out from the kitchen to describe the contents of the platter to us however I am only able to pick up a few of the words I recognise such as bresaola, salame and prosciutto. It doesn’t matter what the name is though, we are in meat heaven and it is a tribute to the quality of the salumi that MTV boyfriend and I manage to work our way through most of the platter despite the physical obstacles to this achievement such as the size of our stomachs. We ignore the bread basket in favour of savouring as much of the salumi as possible. People speak of having a dessert stomach however I think I may have discovered a salumi stomach.
The salumi platter
After overdosing on pig we decide to eschew meat and order the risotto of the day which is only served for two. Today’s risotto is mushroom and the butter, cream and wine has worked its magic to swell the grains of rice into plump little creamy pillows bursting with earthy flavour. This is the sort of stuff that should be sold by the jar so you can take it away and eat it whenever you feel in need of comfort.
We are almost sweating after eating so much salumi and risotto so that recovery in time to order dessert is impossible. We console ourselves by drinking another glass of the excellent house red before heading off to a night at the opera in Verona’s amazing Roman arena.
Details: Vicolo Regina d’Ungheria 5, Verona, Italy (Ph 045 803 05 37)