Come Travel with Lowell’s Through Italy!
For 2019, Lowell’s is embracing its roots and taking a seasonal stroll through the regions of Italy. Each month, our menu will feature dishes, ingredients, and methods from a specific region (or regions) in Italy. We’ll also be showcasing local winemakers who are growing Italian varietals.
Lowell’s very own Natalie Goble is back in the kitchen, and diners can expect her commitment to sustainability and seasonality to make everything she prepares an example of what makes Lowell’s food so special. You can make a reservation here and use our interactive map to see what regions we’ll be featuring.
A note from natalie
Throughout my childhood, my Nonna on my mother’s side could always be found rolling out biscotti and pasta during family get-togethers. During weeklong stays at her home in rural Mendocino County, she would send us out into the kitchen garden just off the front porch for sun-ripened strawberries. Holidays and celebrations revolved around shared meals, always punctuated by lively conversation with exaggerated hand movements carried out at a decibel many would consider yelling. Italian cooking is in my blood, to say the least.
While I was in college, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where I learned to cook with intuition and the seasons. Standing in El Mercato Centrale, I marveled at the baskets overflowing with beautiful—albeit foreign—fruits and vegetables, while in the background vendors chatted in the melodic cadence of the Italian language. Guided by the recommendations of the stall vendors, I would bring home different ingredients to experiment with in my tiny apartment kitchen.
I am often asked how I started cooking and if I went to culinary school. While I believe in the value of a formal approach to culinary education, my culinary journey began with a connection to the roots of who I am. So many things in life operate in cycles, from my Nonna’s kitchen garden to the way we develop daily rhythms and rituals. If anybody had asked me a year ago about returning to the kitchen at Lowell’s, I would have laughed. Loudly.
What once seemed so far-fetched has come full circle, a coming home to my roots. The idea of cooking through the regions of Italy at Lowell’s was proposed by a huge fan and dear friend of the restaurant; it felt like the perfect homage to the roots of Lowell’s, but also to the roots of the journey that first set me on the path into the kitchen. It feels like the anthem I’ll be singing this year as I re-commit to discovering anew all the ways in which I am connected to this community, this business, this partnership, and this journey through life.
March: Valle d’Aosta|Lombardy|Piedmont
We start in Northern Italy with hearty, warm food, perfect for the rainy weather! Risotto is a Lombardy regional specialty. Piedmont is known as one of the top Italian wine regions and the home of Barolo grapes, but their hazelnuts and Alba truffles are also popular and the region is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement.
While the coastal regional cuisine of Liguria makes good use of fish, both Ligurian and Tuscan food are known for their fresh, seasonal simplicity.
Sharing a border with Austria and Slovenia, it’s no wonder that the Friuli-Venezia region sees an Austrian and Slavic influence in its dishes. Veneto favors polenta and rice, but pasta dishes can still be found throughout the area.
Campania claims ownership to the famous Neopolitan pizza, while the cuisine from the island of Sardinia features fish and other seafood with a hint of Spanish influence.
Down in Southern Italy in the area of Calabria, hearty red wine shares the stage with eggplant, olive oil, and ‘nduja. In Basilicata, the fare is rustic and simple, from mountain cheeses to roast pork.
Along the Adriatic Sea, Puglia is known for the uniquely-shaped orecchiette pasta and deep-fried zeppoles and the small region of Molise utilizes vegetables like tomatoes, artichokes, and white celery as well as legumes and fresh herbs in its cooking.
Some of Italy’s finest exports come from the Northern Italy region of Emiglia-Romagna: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Romano, and Balsamic Vinegar are just a few.
October: Alto Adige
Another world-famous wine region, the mountainous area serves up cured meats, cheese, and dishes with Germanic roots.
Costly black truffles can be found in the Umbrian region as well as game meats like boar. Porchetta is a popular dish in the Lazio region, which is also home to the sheep’s milk cheese pecorino romano.
December: Abruzzo|Le Marche
Abruzzo cuisine is eclectic, with lamb and chilis used next to fish and saffron. In Le Marche, pork is turned into smoky sausages, lasagna is the primary pasta, and many varieties of salumi are available.
The island of Sicily is home to some of the most popular dishes of Italy: arancini, cannoli, pasta alla Norma, and of course thick-crusted Sicilian pizza.