Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 12, 2012

Slow food in the mountains…and a very big mortadella

The Garfagnana is a spectacular mountain region not far from Bagni di Lucca. As well as gorgeous scenery, the area is known for food production…pecorino and fresh cheese, salumi, emmer (a type of grain), chestnuts and much more.

Andrea Bertucci from Vecchio Mulino in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, researches local delectable delights to serve in his wonderful Osteria. To have lunch at his long table is something not to be missed. Vecchio Mulino is a member of Slow Food, so you know it has to be good.

The entrance to the Osteria is no indication of the deliciousness that awaits inside.







It is possible to buy the carefully selected produce to take home, but I was there for the tasting plate, served on a large wooden platter. There is no menu, it is a matter of pointing to what you want, or do as I did, and leave it to them to choose for you.




While I was working my way through local salumi and cheese, I watched the biggest mortadella I have ever seen being sliced.



Andrea proudly showed me his extensive cellar, stocked with local wine.


Don’t miss Vecchio Mulino if you find yourselves in the Garfagnana.


Look for Castelnuovo, an ancient town on both sides of the junction of the Serchio and Turrite Secca rivers.


Vecchio Mulino…Via Vittorio Emanuele 12, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana



  1. Looks like a great lunch or afternoon snack. YUM! I recall my dad and grandparents mentioning Garfagnana.

    • It is a beautiful area, full of amazing towns and villages. I am gradually working my way through them. Our house in Vergemoli is in the garfagnana.

      • Ah … which mean you will frequent this joyous place.

  2. Mmmmmm this will be on the list of not to miss places in October…

    • We can go together, I would like a repeat visit.

  3. You had me at “pecorino and fresh cheese”… and then the photos! Wonder if anyone would ever want to take that mortadella home, it certainly looks like it could feed an entire army!

    • The mortadella is huge…and it tasted good too.

  4. good enough to eat those photos Debra!!! I love the platter too! yum!

    • You will have to return to BdL so we can go there.

  5. Delighted you’ve posted something on this.

    Been there. Brilliant. A must for anyone who likes good food.

    Andrea is charming host.

    • Andrea is indeed delightful…and he finds good food.

  6. Beautiful! Looks like my kind if place especially all the wine! Mmmmmm

    • Italian wines are great and some very god ones are produced in our area.

  7. Interesting cutlery bag recipe is in English?

    • Heather Jarman did this. She knows the owner quite well.

  8. The Slow Food movement is such a brilliant concept. Your lunch looks yummy. I love the idea of no menu and taking what the Osteria decides.

    • We are members of Slow Food. I like the idea and look for business that are involved.

  9. One of the things that draws me to Italy so strongly is the food. I love buying food in the market that was in the field that morning. You can taste the sun and the land when you eat them – something sadly lacking in supermarket fruit and vegies in North America.

    • I rarely buy fresh food at supermarkets here in Australia. We have very good local markets and farmers’ markets on weekends.

  10. Reblogged this on ilovelucca and commented:
    This place is truly wonderful….It is foodie heaven

    • …and not too far from Lucca.

  11. Photographs so well -must be mouth wateringly good.

    • I love the long table, you never know who will be beside you. It can make for some very interesting conversations.

  12. I make a similar farro salad, adding chopped chives, spring onions, garlic, parsley, mint and plenty of lemon juice. It is similar to a “tabouleh”. Delicious and refreshing in summer.
    That shop is fantastic!

    • I love farro salad…good for you too.

  13. Looks awesome! Love that they put together such a yummy plate.

    • It is all good, and sourced locally.

  14. Wow, that looks yummy!

    • It was all excellent.

  15. That mortadella is enormous! :O For a giant sized sandwich or I bet you could lay it flat on a whole pizza 😛

    • …or use a slice as a frisbee.

  16. Beautiful food and ambiance!

    • It is a fun place to have lunch.

  17. It shouldn’t be possible to make my itchy feet itchier, but I think you just did!! That looks and sounds amazing, hopefully I will get there one day

    • You must come to Bagni di Lucca one day.

      • I would love to! No matter where I go, I still long to go back to Italy.

      • Once Italy gets under your skin it is difficult to escape.

      • Once Italy gets under your skin it is difficult to escape.

  18. Could’nt help but notice a couple of references in earlier posts to farro salad. What a delicious and simple dish. Whenever we are in Italy we always order it. Its is so good for you. We often order farro salad at the pool in Bagni along with a portion of their fantastic panzanella, another simple but satisfying dish.

  19. Those thin slices of beautiful, tempestuous meat!!! I miss them so much, Debra. I know I see it here in the states. But it’s just not the same when you’re in Italy. And those cheese too… ahhhhh!

    • I miss it too when I am here in Australia, but right now I am enjoying mangoes and stone fruit…too good.

  20. o my friends thank ‘s for your comment on my osteria vecchio mulino .
    best regards from garfagnana .

    • It was my pleasure. I look forward to visiting again soon.

  21. […] Bagni di Lucca – It’s about Italy and there are pictures of food. I’m […]

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