Is it only people in the food industry that have in-depth discussions about the dishes that would be part of their last meal? Maybe. After one forkful of this dish, Ravioli di Pesce ai Fruitti di Mare, maybe even after one sniff of the dish, I knew it would forever be included in my last meal menu.
The ravioli di pesce (fish ravioli), black and white ravioli (the black coming from the nero di seppie), enrobe a flaky fish filling. The ravioli were good on their own, but what pushed the dish to "most memorable" status were the fruits of the sea and the sauce. The juices, released by the opening of the shellfish, were the main flavor of a sauce of pure simplicity. Only a little herbs, tomatoes and maybe wine were added. The waitress brought it to me in a covered metal bowl. The dish was recommended to me by locals, so I didn't know exactly what was under the lid. Scents of the sweet and salty sea floated up as I lifted the lid revealing ravioli mingled together with mussels, clams, calamari, and shrimp. It's a feast of all my favorite things; pasta, seafood, and the sauce brought it all together. I used all of the bread they gave me to mop up the last drippings of sauce.
The restaurant, Il Desco dei Fieschi, is in Lavagna. Lavagna is one of the coastal towns I visited in my attempts to find one as charming as any of the Cinque Terre. In terms of charm, Lavagna, which means slate and chalkboard in Italian, lives up to its name. Maybe that was a little harsh. Lavagna has its required stretch of an umbrella lined beach, grand old villas with flower box windows, ornate door and window trimmings, and Tromp L'Oeil facades. Placed anywhere else, Lavagna would sparkle. But, when it's next to gems like Camogli, The Cinque Terre, Portofino, etc. it doesn't shine. They do have one very interesting festival every August 14, the Torta dei Fieschi. It's a colorful medevial celebration through the streets and ends under the Torre Fieschi (Fieschi Tower). There a gigantic cake (torta) is sliced and handed out to those who have found the matching half of their tickets, to symbolize finding one's anima gemella (soul mate).
I have to thank the very kind people at Hotel Stella di Mare in Lavagna for suggesting I try out the restaurant and this dish. Even though Lavagna doesn't win in the charm category, I will return, if only for the ravioli di pesce ai frutti di mare. In fact I have to return again, because it’s now on the menu for the last meal I’ll ever eat.
Il Desco Dei Fieschi is located in Piazza della Liberta, 42 – phone: 0039 0185 392765
Lavagna is an hour train ride from Genova and a 30-minute train ride from Monterosso.
What dish would be part of your last meal? Where would you want to eat it?