Four of us had a really wonderful meal at Osteria Ardenga , Via Maestra, 6, tel/fax 0524 599337, in Diolo di Soragna near Busseto a few weeks ago. We had been to Campanini, nearby in Madonna dei Prato closer to Busseto ten years ago and still think of the meal often, particularly when we have eaten way too much; but they were not open for lunch so we looked on Slow Food and found Osteria Ardenga. It is out in the country and the building has been a restaurant for 300 years. They have a good wine list but recommend the local fizzy wine because it goes with the local food.
We started with antipasti of really good fried polenta cubes, pickled zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, haricot vert, celery, chipolini and red peppers. Also a plate of the local procsuitto, salami, and culatello; all of which were just perfect.
They really wanted to show off all their pastas so we got tasting plates which seemed like 4 half portions instead of quarter portions. They included pumpkin ravioli which were the best Ive had, perhaps a tad too sweet but one would expect that at this time of year, green ravioli filled with forcemeat and in a walnut sauce, chestnut gnocchi with chestnut and truffle sauce, and some simple cheese and chard ravioli in butter. We were dazzled.
When it came to the secondi they insisted that we try everything, again. First I had house made cotechino, a slice of sausage served hot that was delicious. The deboned guinea fowl lined with a thin slice of I believe salami and then filled with a completely homogenous stuffing of cheese, egg, and white breadcrumbs was really good. The goose stuffed with forcemeat which included proscuitto was even better. Lastly there was Stinco or ground veal shin that was stuffed as well an unfortunate name but delicious.
Not much room for dessert but we split a torta di frutta fresca which turned out to be a minced dried fruit crostatta or pie, and a semifreddo, and a lemon ice.
2 antipasti, 4 primi and 4 secondi , 3 desserts, 1 bottle of wine, two bottles of water and 3 coffees, a , 3 desserts, 1 bottle of wine, two bottles of water and 3 espressos, a few complemetary lemon cellos , and the bill came to exactly 100 euros. I told them they werent charging enough. Evidentally the chef feels that a man should be able to take his family out to dinner. His wife told us everybody who works there is family and that they are satisfied with what they make. More on Antica Trattoria il Duomo in Fidenza, which is on the train line to Parma from Milano, another day.