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September 15, 2019 | Rome, Italy
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Terre di Conca

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Via Piantoli
Conca della Campania, IT-CE 81044 Italy

Country dining is near the conch hollowed out by the blast of the defunct volcano, Roccamonfina. Bernadino turns out one superb dish after another. His idyllic land supplies capons, fresh vegetables, traditional peaches, and the nero Casentano black pigs that are transformed into lardo and prosciutto — tender and less salty than most (in Rome sold at Roscioli’s gourmet shop).

The antipasti showcase local vegetables that are grilled, roasted, raw or pickled. A frittata was fragrant with miniature zucchini. Bernardino grilled steak on the patio while a Neapolitan accompanied himself on guitar and sang of past loves. Our four wines with dinner were all from the Trabucco Winery, of which my favorites were the refreshing and very aromatic Donnarosa rosé made from Aglianico grapes and Rapicano, a spicy red Falerno (Aglianico Taurasi 80 percent, Piedirosso 20 percent), perfect with the steak and aged cheeses that followed.

My companions loved the tiramisú, but my favorite was a bowl of wine-soaked fresh peaches from Bernadino’s orchard. Open for lunch and dinner by reservation. Dogs and cats roam freely and the mynah bird is a polyglot. Outdoor dining until the weather turns, then the action moves inside. In Caserta near Lazio.

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