Monday, February 11, 2013

Guardia Sanframondi: Part 3 - Good Eats!

Macelleria in Guardia Sanframondi
Part 1 - Getting There
Part 2 - Around Town
Part 4 - Houses

It should come as no surprise to find that Guardia Sanframondi has plenty of good food. It's located in the middle of the area the Romans called campania felix - the fortunate lands. And a couple thousand years later it still is. This is the area that sometimes has as many as four separate sagre in the same week. We didn't have time to visit La Guardiense, the famed wine co-operative but we did drink plenty of the local wine made by the owner of Bar Orso, a short walk from Clare Galloway's ArtHouse Guardia.

Of course the sagre tend to happen in the autumn, so for those of us who visit in the middle of the winter (hey, it's when airfare is cheapest) dining is somewhat less exotic, but just as delicious and quite inexpensive.

La Meridiana

Your hosts at La Meridiana

We spent most evenings at La Meridiana a short, mostly uphill walk from the ArtHouse. It's conveniently located in Piazza Mercato, the prices are low, and the food very, very good. Clare walked us up on our first evening and introduced us to Giovanni (seen above).

They do a lot of pizza business, mostly carry-out during the week but they have a full menu with some rather spectacular items at exceptionally low prices (at least by Philadelphia standards). Our first evening in Guardia we had the seafood pasta.

Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, & Octopus
Pizzas are in the Neapolitan style of course, with a thin soft crust and puffed, slightly charred edges. They're priced from €4 so they make a cheap and filling meal.

€4 - that's about $5.35

The big winner of all the food we at at La Meridiana was the Antipasti La Meridiana. €14 or $18.75 for:

Charcuterie, Mozzarella, Olives
First out, the charcuterie plate.  Two types of sausage, mozzarella di buffalo, and (I think) three types of cured meat. As you can see we were hungry and started in before I could bring the camera to bear.

Octopus Salad

Next up, a simple salad of marinated octopus and alici marinati, dressed with lemon and olive oil.

Braised Baby Octopus
Octopus 2 Ways
The scary dish - baby octopus braised in a spicy tomato sauce. Just pop 'em in whole, they're delicious.

Steamed Shellfish
Finally! Last out: mussels and tiny clams in white wine, olive oil and parsley. Did I mention this whole spread was $18.75?

Lunch for €2.50

This is the place

Breads and more...
Sweets too

But what about lunch? Just walk up to Via Municipio from Piazza Mercato and hang a right. Then watch for that sign on your left. See those round thingies in the glass case on the left?

That's them right there. Each big slice cost just €2; add a €0.50 1.5 l. bottle of mineral water from the convenience store nearby and you've got a filling lunch for less than $3.50. Of course you could also buy some bread here and pick up cheese and sliced meat to make your own sandwiches. All delicious and amazingly cheap.

But what about breakfast?

Italians are not big breakfast eaters like we are here in the States. If you need something, just stop in any bar and order an espresso and a pastry. It'll be less than €2 total. The friendly Orso family operate Bar Orso (as well as a B&B) for example - hang a left on Via Municipio (also known as Corso Umberto) and stroll a few blocks (mostly down hill for once) until you get here:

Bar Orso
Of course, it's uphill and then steeply down hill to get back to ArtHouse, and that can be a challenge after spending an evening talking houses and drinking Luigi Orso's wine.


  1. The food was so awesome! Everything is fresh as opposed to the American supermarket where everything is processed or frozen for shipment accross the country.

    1. Here in Philly I pass by Reading Terminal Market on the way to the train every day. The only problem is I can never seem to get out of there with ingredients for just ONE meal. :-)

  2. I just love reading your blog... I was laughing the whole time. My husband and I are going there this fall to look at houses. :)

    1. Thanks! As you can probably tell we had a great time. We'll be heading back to Italy for two weeks sometime in Fall 2014 to look in Abruzzo and take a second look at Guardia.



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