Molino Cofelice is in Matrice, the next hamlet over. Dionisio and his daughter, Martina, showed us the workings of the old stone mill wheels and their more modern equipment and explained the different kinds and grades of flour. they produce.
Anarita also showed us how to make another local specialty, cornmeal pizza, which is closer to polenta than to conventional wheat-based pizza. (Note how elegantly she's dressed for the task of making pasta. That strikes me as very Italian.)
The uncooked cornmeal is mixed with olive oil and salt, then patted flat into a pan. It's baked for 20 or 25 minutes--first sprinkled with cheese, if you want to be fancy--then topped with cooked greens, typically a mix of chicory, savoy cabbage, and broccoli rabe. The resulting dish is called pizza e minestre.
We'd had a version of it at Zia Concetta, a wonderful slow-food restaurant in Campobasso, where little chunks of cornbread are mixed into the greens. It was the highlight of the meal. I couldn't wait to try making it myself.
We left not only with some basic pasta skills and about five pounds of fresh pasta, but also Molino Cofelice aprons and an armful of various flours and pastas that they insisted we take with us.
The church is simple and lovely and a bit grim, as befits a medieval pilgrimage stop. Life was tough, and then you died, and then you probably went to hell.
That last was disappointing, because although I boiled up the chicory as Annarita had instructed, then drained it and stewed it in olive oil and garlic, it ended up being too bitter. Later, my friend Maria told me that's because after I boiled the chicory, I'd neglected to soak it in cold water overnight before sauteing it. The thought of leaching out still more vitamins from the greens shocked me. But then Maria made us a gratin of chicory, using greens she'd gathered out in the fields this past spring and stored in her freezer. The flavor was so smooth and satisfying that I decided vitamins aren't really all that important.
Indeed, we seem to be letting a lot of things fall by the wayside. Like any attempt to watch what we eat. Despite our late and large lunch, a few hours later found us at the only sit-down restaurant in town, The Garden of Bacchus, a pizza-and-karaoke place. We indulged in the former (excellent) but not the latter (fairly excruciating).
That's Steven's mum, Janice, with the kids. (I should note that we haven't completely lost our senses--Fanta here is a much nicer, less fluorescent drink than the version they sell in the U.S.)
Lina ordered a Napoli pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies) and was thrilled to discover that for just one euro more she could have it shaped into a heart, with her name spelled out on it in pizza-dough letters. I'm hoping they let her use this photo on her new Italian ID card, when the time comes to get one.