I just spent two hours writing up this thread only to have it disappear. I will attempt once more.
Leaving Ascoli Piceno after three nights, we headed by car to Sulmona, intending to pause for lunch at SAPORI DI CAMPAGNA, near Ofena, which we had booked about two weeks prior. After weaving through many unpaved farm roads, under and above stone bridges, and feeling totally lost, we arrived in time for our 2pm lunch reservation to find the restaurant shut tight. No one answered our knock, the doorbell, or the phone call. More than slightly annoyed, we drove on toward Sulmona, mindful that aftef 2pm, lunch was just about finished.
As fate had it, we found a promising venue online and headed up the narrow winding lanes to the hilltop piazza in Capestrano, and the restaurant IL CASTELLO. Success! We were warmly greeted by the surprised hosztess, and seated at a table on the terrace adjacent to two retired Delta airline pilots from the US who had purchased a home in the town two decades previously.
So far inland, I foolishly ignored the list of dishes from the "fiume," not knowing that this town was known for superb riverine seafood. Fortunayle, my primi of ceci puree came topped with five cleaned and peeled river crayfish; a perfect rendition of this dish. The toast onn top was, in itself topped, with strands of saffron from nearby Navelli, whose saffron is prized in Italy and beyond. For secondi, I chose the typical Abruzzese roast lamb, also excellent.
The partner was very happy with his paparadelle with porcini and black truffles. From my single alloted taste, I thought the noodle was exceptionally good, obviously made in house, and the dish was excellent althouogh, as at previous establishments on this trip, I found the black truffles lacking in flavor and that singular truffle aroma that I so recalled from previous visits.
All in all, recommended! with a half carafe of white wine and a bottle of water= 38 euro.
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