Tucked inside Alfedena’s central park, Il Chiosco is a small, family-run ristorante whose six sides are lined with windows. In the summer, leafy trees shade the local eatery, but now naked trunks line its border, allowing visitors a clear view of its warm and welcoming interior.
Luca, one of the brothers who runs Il Chiosco, greets my friend with a big smile. The Juventus football match starts in 20 minutes so he places the denim-covered menus in two seats next to each other opposite the TV screen.
My friend’s eyes are set on his favorite team’s opening ceremony; mine, on tartufi—truffles.
First up is the antipasti, tartufo crostini and affettati misti—baked bread with chopped truffles and cheese and an Italian meat plate. The crostini’s bottom is soft and steaming, topped with melty white cheese and truffles picked right from Alfedena in Abruzzo, Italy.
Next to the pizza-like starter is a spread of salami, soppressata, prosciutto and capocollo. To balance out the meat is semi-hard parmigiana reggiano and sautéed zucchini and eggplant.
We sip our Aperol spritz to wash down the first bites. Made with a splash of prosecco, a dash of bitter liqueur and an orange wedge, this Italian aperitif sounds summery, but it’s also refreshing on a cozy winter night.
Next, as we try to make room, is gnocca con orapi—gnocchi with wild spinach. Served piping hot, the homemade pasta almost evaporates in your mouth as the newly-picked greens give it a hearty kick. If you’re going to get your vitamins while in food country, this is the way to do it.
As I start to feel guilty for not squeezing in something sweet after our main course, I see Luca bring two servings of banana chocolate tiramisu to the kids behind us. Served in martini glasses, the cake looked fluffy and beautifully dropped into the triangular glass. How much space do I really need for such a delicate taste of cake, I thought. Not much.
Our spoons are clean, appetites more than satisfied and Juventus won, 3-1.
Now if only we could finish the few remaining bites of the meat platter, Luca would declare our visit a culinary success. As I meet his eyes from behind the bar, he raises his hand to his mouth, signaling that we can’t leave just yet.
Take me back to Alfedena
14 Piazza Umberto I
Alfedena Abruzzo 67030