La Lampara da Massimo: Hello, Sea, Polpo and Clouds.
SP90, 25, 72015 Fasano BR, Italy / 02 августа 2017
We speed along a picture-perfect sea, the type that fades from emerald to the deepest blues. Too good to look at. Even makes me sick.
The grass, scorched in the sun, is blindingly bright. In the corner of the eye, there is a faded sign, reading something like: «…di Mare i Ricci».
Turn sharply onto an empty parking. The smells of that grass hit us strong, settled and condensed. Around fifty meters away, the sea lies flat as a pancake. Then the hut, with faded lilac curtains swinging slightly with the draft. A desolate view.
Inside there are tiles/wood, empty fish counter, and a funny-looking teenager, with his facial symmetry going wild in all directions. The kid is pleasant-looking, cleaning/shaking around some mussel shells.
We are not local. The prices seem suspiciously off. A 10,50eur scampi pasta, carpaccio di polpo for 4,50eur, etc. Later we found offers that were EVEN cheaper.
Curiosity took over and we decided to stay.
We took a seat.
At first, avoiding an 8-11 euro pasta seems like a good idea. You fear getting a bowl of pasta with a lonely squid or two. Now we know, that getting a plate filled to the brim with shellfish and mollusks of all sorts is custom here, at the heel of the boot.
Even the pasta itself transforms, as you head towards Sicily. It swells and grow. Huge tubes al dente (sometimes not that huge though) replace penne, and you may even get wide slabs of uncut dough instead of tagliatelle.
Heading south, everything seems to get more voluptuous, vibrant in smell and textures, and that demands attention.
Here, and in simple places like this, is where one could «drop the anchor». Gaze ahead into the flat sea, at those boats, tanning over that scorched grass, smelling the intensity of the summer and the heat. Ray Bradbury — style.
The food here is a reflection of this style. Nothing elaborate. Fresh and bold in its simplicity. So fresh that it’s almost alive, with a price tag that allows you to deal generously in dozens (sea urchins), kilos (fish) and full countertops (of mussels).
You can switch off, in that horizontal idyll.
Is that not happiness?
The local specialty: raw small octopus that are dealt in kilos, I faint-heartedly asked for grill. Otherwise, could not handle it.