Tag: sign

Varvara, the brothers who sign the meat of the great restaurants – Italian Cuisine

From three Michelin stars to trendy trattorias, the meat comes from a small shop in Altamura. The name Varvara appears in the most prestigious menus: we went to visit them, where everything comes from

Varvara. A name that is increasingly found written on the menus of the most important restaurants. It is not a cattle breed, a place or a farming method, but the surname of a family of butchers that gives Altamura has conquered Italy. From 1852 the Varvara, originally from Gravina, began their historic adventure in the world of butchery, making friends with the farmers of the surrounding farms and selling their prized meats with a cart in the markets of the area. Today with a van, the "meat brothers" sons of Antonio (Michele, Vincenzo and Alessandro) Varvara reach the most renowned restaurants in Italy: from the three Michelin stars Piazza Duomo in Alba to Enrico Bartolini at Mudec, up to trattorias such as Trippa they use their meat.

Since 1950 in Altamura

It was the year 1950: the great-grandfather decided to move to Altamura, for the love of Nicoletta and with her he will open the first shop. Michele's words make us relive bygone times when in that butcher's shop his father Antonio, still a boy, stood up on a stool to reach the counter and learn the trade. The shop has always been their home, he grew up there, he was suckled by his mother behind the butcher's counter, together with his brothers, on the same stool as his father. For five generations the Varvara have handed down the knowledge, they still continue to make every step of the production starting from the selection of the garments, to get to the section of the various cuts and the respective sale. «We do everything, Michele says, «the countryside is the locomotive, it is our land that will make the difference. For them, both the philosophy of animal husbandry and care and the importance and specificity of their land, Altamura, Puglia and nearby Basilicata, where their livestock is raised, remain fundamental.

The old cow doesn't just make good broth

He tells us about the old cow, that once the period in which it can give milk is over, it is reared and left to graze for another 2 years, grazing happily, completing its life cycle and giving particularly valuable meats, because "the breed is not important, it is important is the care and life we ​​give to these cows, whether they are podolic, friesian, spotted or alpine brown… . The Lucanian dolomitic lamb from the Basilicata farms where they are served live grazing, moving and feeding on local herbs. All these details give the meat unrepeatable flavors.

The mad cow and the change of pace

Unfortunately, things do not always go as they should go and in the 90s the mad cow, the opening of supermarkets and the first shopping centers complicate things, putting their butcher's shop in crisis. Michele graduated in engineering, moved to Trentino, but thought of the effort and sacrifices that his people make in the shop. Thus began to take shape the idea of ​​bringing their products to tables all over Italy, collaborating with great chefs. He returns home and his parents take him for mad, but it is thanks to his madness and his entrepreneurial ideas that the Varvara will begin their escalation.

Chefs discover Varvara

The turning point takes place thanks to Possible lunch 2016 event organized in Borgo Egnazia in which many famous chefs participated. Among these Domingo Schingaro, of the starred restaurant Due Camini, landlord who had already had the opportunity to try their meat. There is also Enrico Crippa who recognizes the value of their products and begins serving them in Piazza Duomo in Alba, three Michelin stars. "At the beginning it was not easy, chef Crippa was very fussy, but it is also thanks to him that we have learned and improved, and made our products perfect for haute cuisine". Becoming a supplier of renowned restaurants has sparked a real word of mouth effect: "The phone started ringing and orders increased." Today the best chefs in Italy want their meat. The secret? The first is the sacrifice, the difficulty and the constant commitment to always be at the height, maintaining their centuries-old tradition (Michele has not been on vacation for 5 years). The second is the importance of those with bent backs who continue to work by raising livestock in an ethical and sustainable manner.

Today what can be found in the shop

In the Altamura shop hanging on the walls there are orders and destinations: Loreto, Milan, Rome, Alba, Luxembourg… a departure every day. But the counter is empty. The meat is in the cell, no product is kept on display. Here it is not bought with the eyes, the meat is not kept "beautiful to look at", but selected to be good to eat. On request, it is freshly prepared, even if 10% of the total is sold in the shop. Beef, lamb, sausage, but also wonderful chickens, strictly sold whole at € 12 per kg; but of first quality. In the window, on the other hand, the very small production of cured meats and sausages that can only be found in the shop.

Altamura: bread, lentils and dinosaurs

For those wishing to take a tour of their town, they can also enjoy two other typical products of Altamura: PDO bread and PGI lentils. Furthermore, once you have done your shopping, you can visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. For archeology lovers there is a museum dedicated to homo neanderthalensis, found in the area, and you can go and see the footprints of dinosaurs in the Cava Pontrelli. Moving a little, there is Matera.

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By Marco K. Bovio and Margo Schachter

The right wine for each zodiac sign – Italian Cuisine

The right wine for each zodiac sign

Twelve signs, twelve wines, each with its own, suitable for the characteristics dictated by the stars: white or red, still or moved, it's a matter of taste … and zodiac

The beginning of a New Year always brings a breath of attention to the zodiac: let's see how the signs change during the year and which wine can be the best for everyone.


Brave, independent, impetuous, passionateimpulsive, sometimes a little irrational, but also very elegant. The ram brings with it all the essence of the spring that begins, of a new season that is born. Its wine must never be banal: it must contain joy and strength. Perfect effervescence and temperament of a great Champagne. With its aroma, its complexity, its power and its elegance it offers, like Aries, an ideal balance between restlessness and lightness, depth and delicacy.


Think well before you act, to get what you want. Tireless, stubborn, has a strong sensuality and a great propensity for beauty. His glass must be filled with a powerful wine. A Primitivo di Manduria, majestic and fascinating like him: with its intense and elegant ruby ​​red color, its ample and enveloping perfume, with its warm softness it is the ideal choice.


Ambiguous? Maybe. Certainly mobile, restless. Curious and intellectual, twins know how to create and communicate, they are bright, often exuberant and love the chatter but also the good things in life. For them, wine is sharing, and in their glass the most convivial wine of all is perfect: Prosecco, provided it is excellent. A Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, possibly "Rive", that is the product of those steep, sloping, but also highly prized soils that represent the "cru" of Prosecco. Proposed in the dry version, soft and sweet, it can be a pleasant aperitif but also a perfect accompaniment to dry desserts and fruit tarts. A duality worthy of Gemini.


In leathery shell to defend from the outside world. Inside a sweet, sensitive soul. Dear and capable of truly loving, perhaps a little lazy, sometimes nostalgic, tenacious and protective, he will find joy in a glass of sweet wine, but at the same time complex, like him. Maybe a Moscato Giallo Passito from South Tyrol: a wine of great balance and complexity that collects the heat of the last rays of sun that illuminate the grapes before harvesting. A wine that, like the sign of cancer, seems to have inherited a nostalgic mood and a sweet heart.


Regale, solar, generous, proud, self-confident. Leone has the summer sun in it, and asks for a Mediterranean wine: a Greco di Tufo with golden reflections and a fruity aroma, distilled in summer and with personality.


Attentive to every detail, precise, perfectionists. Order and method are at the service of success, always and in all fields. They can't not love the Pinot Noir: the right attention always makes it a perfect wine, in every expression. Red, still white, rosé but above all sparkling: refined, fresh and full.

Weight scale

L'equilibrium first of all. In relationships with others and with themselves. In the choices. A lot of diplomacy, few conflicts, but a great desire for serenity, to fully experience the joys of life. So what better than a rosé? Perfect harmony, equidistance in colors and senses. Its wine is a rosé, a Sicilian IGP Terre, which shines with ancient coral pink and smells of small red fruit, but also of flowers and Mediterranean aromatic herbs: a feeling of perfect well-being for this sign.


It is a true seducer. Charm, mystery, occult are keywords for him, which are associated with a subtle and cutting sense of humor. It can be intimidating, but even the scorpion melts in front of a glass of good wine: red or white? The important thing is that it is stopped. The ideal choice for him, however, is a Sauternes: a wine that like him is a universe apart, which communicates an irresistible charm.


It has fire inside. The desire to discover, to travel, to go on an adventure are its distinctive features, as well as being suspended between instinct and rationality. Confident and impulsive, he will let himself be seduced by a warm and dreamy red, sincere and never predictable. A Chianti Classico DOCG, intense ruby ​​red, fragrant with ripe red fruits, fresh and round.


Tenacity, patience, prudence, stubbornness, a certain hardness. A difficult character that of Capricorn, proud, sometimes lonely, but also loyal and sincere, lover of tradition but endowed with a personal elegance. Its wine is red, rossissimo. But he has bubbles, like a touch of irony to soften the points of his character and to accompany the cuisine he loves most. It's a Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC the wine that will bring out the most generous side of Capricorn, with its dry and savory taste, with its pleasant bouquet and its foam.


Free, visionary, with his overflowing creativity he can change the world, and make it a better place. The aquarium is effervescence, confidence and color, bubbles cannot be missing from its glass, preferably with a touch of pink. A Franciacorta DOCG Rosé he brings the scents and nuances of dawn into the glass, and seems to have been made on purpose to toast the beginning of a new era.


The emotion to the nth degree. Pisces dream, love, are passionate, they get excited and know how to move. Of course, they are a bit changeable, but their charge is inexhaustible. In the glass, as in life, they seek suggestions, sensations. A Bolgheri Rosato it is the right choice: it gathers the air and the horizons of the Tuscan sea, combines freshness and body, changes in the glass with the charm that distinguishes those born under the sign of fish.

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