Friday, April 30, 2010

Great Food and Food for Thought for Calabria

It's Guido here coming to you with photos of some delicious food mixed with equally well thought out ideas:
Meet Vincenzo (Enzo) Grisolia and Angela Sangiovanni. This couple is the creative force behind Vigri’ Restaurant in Scalea that we mentioned a couple weeks ago.  I wanted to share more about these guys because of the fantastic restaurant they operate, and because Di and I are attracted to the advanced community development philosophies that Angela helps to champion with the group Scalea Libera.  Angela recently ran unsuccessfully for a city council position where she and others in the organization were proposing changes in the community that would support better tourism developments and support efforts to clean up ugly trash dump sites near streams and other important areas, discourage graffiti, promote alternative energy programs, and protect the seaside environment. The actions they support are similar to things we did back in the States and we would be interested in helping as volunteers for cleanup projects, etc.  It will be a good year before our language skills are such that we can realistically hold conversations with the group.

As our challenges just to survive lessen with time and language skills, this sounds like a good fit for our life here as pensionati.  One thought that’s already occurred to us, and other expats here, is that the area focuses its tourism efforts on Italian tourists mostly for the month of August.  There are actually some mid-size resort properties that do not open until July.  We think the community is missing a great opportunity to market themselves to the UK, northern Europe and the US.  This would expand the total tourist season by 3-5 months which could keep people employed much longer.  There is a huge infrastructure of housing and businesses along the coastline that is mostly empty 10 months of the year – including when the weather and sea temps are perfect.  It should be mentioned to those who are not aware--this is a part of Italy that did not enjoy the economic boom of tourism and industry that enriched the North.  This has helped to preserve the area for (we hope) more balanced development than has occurred elsewhere.  I hope we can update you more on Scalea Libera in the future.

I wanted to feature the Vigri’ Restaurant  again with more detail too.  I enjoy working a camera and getting a chance to hang out in an Italian kitchen with a true gourmet chef was fun for me.  I said earlier that Enzo creates wonderful meals at Vigri’.  What I didn’t mention is the artistic presentation of each platter that leaves his kitchen.  The food is as wonderful to look at as to eat, and for such reasonable prices.  I did learn a lot about kitchen logistics, but of course, the important work of creating the special sauces and mixes happened earlier and remain a secret!
Appetizers and salads:

Primi piatti (first course pasta dishes):
Tagliatelle alla norcino (pasta w/ pork),
                                                 Mezze maniche con seppie e fave (pasta w/ cuttle fish)

                                                 Secondi piatti (second course fish and meat dishes):

                           Tonno alla marinara con olive e capperi (tuna with olives and capers)

                           Costatina di maiale alla griglia (grilled pork chop)

Sorry, but I messed up the photo of a gorgeous chocolate torte.

Enzo and his staff work fast, hard and efficiently, but they have some fun too.   
                                                                               Franco and Chef Enzo

                                                                             Lucia, Vincenzo and Giama

I probably have spelled Giama’s name wrong, so mi dispiace.  She is the lead server, backed by Angela who also runs the register.   After just a couple visits, she remembered that I preferred a small bottle of vino rosso Verbicaro over their standard bulk vino locale.
If you read the Vigri’website, you see that work lunches on weekdays are €10 with either water or ¼ l. wine, and the more extensive Sunday lunch is €20.   Here are some neighbors from Santa Domenico Talao enjoying themselves last Sunday.  

I just wanted to share this with you.  Enzo and Angela run a fine business along the seaside in Scalea and they are involved in good, sustainable community development planning.


  1. Grazie per le belle cose che hai scritto e per le belle foto... Ti aspettiamo al Vigrì...
    Chef Vigrì

  2. Can I put a link to this on my food blog??? ( - and keep up the good work on your blog - it's great!! (and next time we make it down south we will definitley try to stop in here!!)

  3. Thanks for sharing, great ideas and delicious looking food.

  4. He's a great chef I've tasted some of his recipes and it has been really special, but I'll tell you what I like about him it's his wife I love her I couldn't resist the temptation to say it.



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