- How does the festival take place?
- Why does the Festival de la Cazoeula start on January 17th?
- Legends about the origin of Cazoeula
- The recipe according to the official specifications
- Our gastronomic experiences during the Festival de la Cazoeula 2019
- The Cazoeula of the Giardinet restaurant in Cantù
- Cazoeula tasting at Crotto del Lupo, Como
- The winner of the Festival de la Cazoeula 2019
The best Cazoeula in Lake Como
We couldn’t miss the annual appointment of the Festival de la Cazoeula, in 2019, at its seventh edition.
The festival has grown over time and this year has seen the participation of 39 restaurants in Lake Como area.
Not just the participation of restaurateurs was high, but also the one of customers. About 15,000 cazoeula dishes were served halfway through the festival.
Claudio Bizzozero, founder of the Festival and president of the Cazoeula de Cantù association, is certainly delighted with this feedback.
We already know him thanks to the Gastrolario festival, that celebrates good Lake Como cuisine.
How does the festival take place?
Participating restaurants, from January 17 to March 17, proposed Cazoeula in two ways:
- tasting dish of Cazoeula, served individually at a price of 15 euros;
- menu with a price range between 25 and 35 euros.
Once customers tried Cazoeula dishes, they expressed their opinion by filling in the paper coupon of the restaurant or on the official website of the Festival.
Categories to be voted on are:
Given the large number of restaurants participating in the edition, the way of choosing the best has been revised.
In previous editions, the final evening was unique and held in the previous year’s winner’s restaurant.
This year there are four evenings or semifinals in which to vote for the best dish.
During the final evening, held at Cascina di Mattia, winner in 2018, the best Cazoeula was awarded.
It took place on 20 February at the Osteria del Km Zero in Mariano Comense where the restaurants challenged each other:
- Rosso di Sera di Drezzo;
- Altegroane di Lentate sul Seveso;
- Agriturismo Cassinazza di Orsenigo;
- Trattoria La Scaletta di Cantù;
- Trattoria Carlito’s di Cucciago;
- Ristorante Tarantola di Appiano Gentile;
- Trattoria Edda di Inverigo;
- Crotto del Lupo di Como;
- Ristorante Sant’Anna di Como;
- Trattoria Riposo di Cantù.
Appointment on February 27 at the Rosso di Sera restaurant in Drezzo where the Cazoeula dishes of the restaurants were tasted:
- Osteria del Km Zero di Mariano Comense;
- Ristorante Arcade di Grandate;
- Trattoria Da Guido di Alzate Brianza;
- La Cascina di Mattia di Cantù;
- Trattoria Vecchia Fornace di Mariano Comense;
- Gnocchetto di Tavernerio;
- Ristorante Al Torchio di Carimate;
- Ristorante Grillo di Capiago Intimiano;
- Beef Cafè di Anzano del Parco;
- Ristorante Albergo Sole di Mariano Comense.
The third semifinal took place on March 7 at the Gnocchetto restaurant in Tavernerio, where the restaurants challenged each other:
- Capanna Cao di Brunate;
- Agriturismo La Fattoria di Mariano Comense;
- Trattoria La Nuova Rustica di Cantù;
- Trattoria Capanna di Lurago d’Erba;
- Osteria de Marian di Mariano Comense;
- La Ghironda di Como;
- Osteria Acqua Ciara di Brunate;
- Crotto del Sergente di Como;
- Park Hotel di Figino Serenza;
- Ristorante Giardinet di Cantù.
The last semifinal took place on March 13 at the Giardinet restaurant in Cantù. The participating restaurants were:
- Cascina Mirandola di Albese con Cassano;
- Ristorante Osteria del Pain di Como;
- Ristorante Castello Comi di Cermenate;
- Trattoria Bassone di Como;
- Il Capolinea Bistrot di Brunate;
- Ristorante Le Querce di Cantù;
- Hotel Castello di Casiglio di Erba;
- Gesumin 1976 di Como;
- Ristorante Il Garibaldi di Cantù.
Why does the Festival de la Cazoeula start on January 17th?
The day set for the start of the race was not chosen at random, but coincides with the anniversary of Sant’Antonio Abate, protector of pigs.
It is also the best time to eat cabbage after winter frosts.
Legends about the origin of Cazoeula
Love between an Italian servant and a Spanish soldier
Given the spread of the dish, many rumors and legends are related to the origin of the dish.
One of these tells of a Spanish soldier in Milan in the late sixteenth century.
This falls in love with a young Milanese woman who worked for a noble family. When preparing an important dinner, she realized to had the pantry empty and didn’t know what to prepare.
The soldier helped her by teaching her the preparation of Cazoeula with the few ingredients present. The young woman fell in love with the soldier.
The Celtic origins of the cazouela
The dish, according to some, instead would have Celtic origins. The festival of Samonios takes place in early November, that is, the Celtic New Year.
During the festival a dish prepared with cabbage and pork was eaten very similar to our Cazoeula.
The recipe according to the official specifications
Cazoeula canturina is different from the Milanese one. In fact, verzini are absolutely forbidden, which are, according to the Canturini: “Milanese stuff”.
The verzini are small salamis very similar to salamella but smaller.
There are many variations for the preparation of Cazoeula. In addition to ribs and rinds, many add pig scraps: feet, nose, ear and and pigtail. Nothing is thrown away from the pig!
The recipe of the Cazoeula made official by the specification, already in the first edition, belongs to Mrs. Elda Borghi, a native of Fecchio who today is a member of the jury by right.
Mandatory ingredients are:
- rack of pork ribs;
- winter cabbage;
- red wine;
- tomato concentrate;
- salt and pepper.
Not many variations other than spices are allowed, in fact it is specified that any other ingredient not foreseen will result in the exclusion to the Festival.
The main ingredient to ensure a good dish of Cazoeula is definitely cooking.
- cabbage must be well cooked, soft and sweet;
- the ribs, soft;
- the rinds must not be discarded.
Although accompanying, polenta is also of yellow craved corn.
How Cazoeula is plated
Cazoeula also has a precise way to be plated. In the dish there must be:
- a tablespoon of polenta;
- a tablespoon of cabbage;
- a rib;
- a rind.
Wines paired with Cazoeula
Finally, in order to start the dinner, it will be necessary to accompany the dish with exclusively Lombard wines with precise characteristics:
- lively and / or sparkling and / or sparkling red wine;
- vines barbera, bonarda, buttafuoco, croatina, lambrusco mantovano, pinot nero;
- production areas: Oltrepò Pavese, San Colombano al Lambro, Colli Mantovani and Garda Bresciano.
Our gastronomic experiences during the Festival de la Cazoeula 2019
During the race we also went to taste the Cazoeula.
We chose two restaurants:
Two long-standing restaurants that we wanted to rely on for their experience!
The Cazoeula of the Giardinet restaurant in Cantù
Let’s say that for the choice of this restaurant we wanted to be on the safe side. This is because the Giardinet restaurant was the winner of the 4th edition of the Festival.
In addition to this, however, the location and the excellent ratings on the web, inspired us.
The restaurant is located in the center of Cantù, not immediately visible, but 2 steps from the main square. In fact, we parked in Piazza del Mercato and walked about 200 meters.
The restaurant has an 80s essence. After passing the entrance with the small bar they took us to the main room which has a beautiful glass window overlooking the internal garden.
Everything is paneled with polished wood with black finishes.
The rooms are very elegant and well cared for, especially the glass room where we had dinner, which certainly in the summer with the tables outside is even more impressive.
No more talk, we immediately slung on the menu to order the Cazoeula. In this case we also wanted to taste the whole menu. Fortunately we took a complete menu and a plate of Cazoeula because it was truly abundant (let’s say that the coup de grace gave us the Cazoeula!).
We started with a mixed appetizer of bacon with Boretane onions and cotechino (also called vanilla) with lentils.
Following the dish of Cazoeula. Truly abundant and with an intense aroma that filled the whole room.
The ribs were very soft, there was no need even for the knife to separate them from the bone and the rind had such a soft consistency that it melted in the mouth with the polenta.
But the real winning flavor in this dish was that of cabbage. At first you expect the usual sweet taste of cabbage as you are used to eating it, but then it has a completely different taste in the mouth because it is full of the flavor of meat, spices and tomato.
If it wasn’t so heavy, you would want to eat it in kilos!
Although we were really full, we finish our glass of bonarda (obviously as the disciplinary wants) and move on to the dessert.
We could alternatively choose the cheese platter but we wanted to taste the chestnut pie with persimmon sauce.
Really particular, not too sweet and of the right consistency even if it is not exactly like that of a pie.
This dessert allowed us to give one last taste to the seasonal chestnuts.
We left happy and satisfied with the restaurant, in fact our rating on the restaurant was really good.
We should go back to taste the other dishes since, having a look at the menu, there are some typical dishes not to be missed!
Cazoeula tasting at Crotto del Lupo, Como
Crotto del Lupo is located on the Cardina hill, very close to Switzerland.
Recognized by the Lombardy region as a historic place, the crotto boasts 150 years of history.
As soon as you arrive, after a few bends, you can park comfortably in a reserved area. From the outside it doesn’t look exactly like a traditional crotto. You can immediately see the terrace and the entrance that seem to lead to a house.
The crotto is in fact inside and is used as a cellar for storing wines.
The setting is very traditional, dark wood furnishings, a small bar counter at the entrance and 2 separate rooms. It exactly reflects the characteristics of a place a few generations ago.
There are many people on Sunday for lunch, especially large families.
We take a seat and immediately take a look at the paper even if obviously we already know what to order.
In addition to the Cazoeula we take a crepe with artichokes, as we are in season.
The crepe was very good, but let’s move on to our main course.
Our steaming Cazoeula arrives here too, as required by the disciplinary of polenta, ribs and savoy cabbage.
The only difference was that the polenta was not corn but taragna.
It seems strange, but although the dishes compared to the garden were identical, the flavors were completely different. This Cazoeula is also good.
We liked the first one more, but they are tastes and we invite you to taste them both!
The evening of the First Semifinal at Km 0 Osteria, Mariano Comense
Obviously thanks to our votes, we managed to participate in the first semifinal held at the Km 0 Osteria in Mariano Comense.
A truly exciting evening because we were a real jury!
At the beginning, the specification is delivered to all in order to be able to evaluate the Cazoeula according to the established criteria.
Subsequently 10 Cazoeula dishes were served, each from the participating restaurant, and were evaluated.
In addition to the winning customers and the technical jury, the restaurateurs in the race were also present.
The winner of the Festival de la Cazoeula 2019
The final of the Festival took place on Monday 18th March. It was held at the Tarantola restaurant in Appiano Gentile.
The winner is … drum roll … the Arcade restaurant in Grandate!
In second place Cascina di Mattia, already winner of 3 editions in a row and in third place the restaurant Sant’Anna di Como!
Beautiful initiative that this year has marked a record that can be safely beaten next year!
Friends, friends of friends, relatives, acquaintances, all go to taste the Cazoeula and we beat the record next year !!!