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We arrive at a delicious farm called the Azienda Agricola Biologica Barone Antonio Negri. You can tell from this long name that it is organic, and the title Barone - which is almost the same as Lord - means that the family is very important. Our host is Signora Monica, a nice lady with a charming smile and full of enthusiasm for this sweet place some 400 metres over the sea.
There are only 6 rooms in the guest house which can accommodate only 12. There's a small swimming pool and there are lots of attractive little places to relax in, shaded by the fruit trees, mainly hazelnuts. Here the nuts become an essential ingredient in a charming variety of wonderful cakes. We'll eat these cakes for breakfast and at the end of dinner.
We begin our meal with Antipasti: a fresh ricottina: only one, OK two, alright then three, then we must stop to make room for the first courses: little ears with fresh small and sweet tomatoes and leaves of fresh basilico. Risotto with carciofi (artichokes), penne - a short kind of macaroni, alla carbonara, with eggs, bacon and parmigiano.
Awaiting the second courses you taste melanzane, zucchini, fagiolini, green peperoncini: every one of these vegetables is home grown - maybe you saw them all green and glistening that morning when you were sunbathing in the garden!
Second courses: pork, perfectly cooked with aromatic sauce, and beef costolette. Sometimes we have buffalo mozzarella: good, but the best we ate, anyway, is at Il Generale in Caiazzo (do you remember?).
The wine isn't a very good wine, sorry. There's only one kind of fresh red wine: it's the only weakness of our dinner.
Finally we are waiting for cakes: handmade in the laboratory of the farm: La Dolceria. At any time during the day, if you are a guest, of course, you may enter the Dolceria and enjoy a free tasting of these delicious cookies.
And our bill for the dinner? - only 35,000 Italian Lire per person. I recommend you stay and have bed, breakfast and dinner: total bill, per person, per day, is 100,000 Italian Lire. And if you come in the fall, as I suggest, price is less: 90,000 Italian Lire!
Apart from spending the day doing absolutely nothing except total relaxation, there are trips to Costiera Amalfitana, or Paestum, or there are the green hills nearby to explore as you like. But when it is sunset, the red sun is going to sleep right in front of our dreaming eyes: you haven't lived until you have seen a sunset at Gaiano!
Vincenzo d'Antonio - July 1999
Azienda Agricola Barone Antonio Negri
16 km from Salerno
Phone number: 0039 089 958561.
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