The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Octopus in a confit of olive oil, lemon peppercorns, star anise and thyme. Photo by Allie Ginwala.

Tour of Italy

When: Campania menu begins Monday, April 6
Where: Campo Enoteca, 969 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0256,
Regional menus will be posted the week before at Menus will debut the first Monday of the month, offered Monday through Saturday. 

Tour for the tastebuds
Campo Enoteca kicks off culinary Tour of Italy

By Allie Ginwala

Experience a little bit of Italy with tastes from Rome, Bologna and Venice in downtown Manchester during a travel-focused culinary adventure. Starting in April, for the first week of each month through the end of the year, Campo Enoteca will feature a special menu focused on a certain region of Italy as part of the Giro d’Italia or Tour of Italy.

“Very few Italians … identify themselves as ‘Italian,’” said Edward Aloise, co-owner of Campo Enoteca and Republic. “They’re either from Campania, [or say] ‘I’m from Naples, I’m from Rome.’” 
Much of the Italian American food in this country is reflective of the turn of the 20th century, when the people leaving Italy were from southern regions, like Campania, Sicily and Reggio Calabria, Aloise said. Those who emigrated brought their style of cooking and fused it with new ingredients available in America creating what most Americans now think of solely as Italian cuisine.
“What we’re trying to do is show people that especially at Campo, there are different ways of eating Italian food,” Aloise said.  
Since each region is unique in its cuisine and culture, he wants patrons to expand their thoughts toward Italian dining. 
“We’re trying to bring not only a style of cooking that’s different than most people experienced, especially vis-a-vis Italian food, but we’re also trying to bring people into a different mindset as they walk into the door here,” he said.
The Giro d’Italia will start with Campania in the southern part of Italy, because that region’s food is most familiar. The menu will feature pizza margherita, spicy puttanesca, buffalo mozzarella and fresh seafood. As part of his preparation for the Campania menu, Aloise tried serving an octopus dish a few weeks prior to see how it fared. The dish, prevalent in Naples, is octopus done in a confit of olive oil, lemon peppercorns, star anise and thyme on a salad with braised fennel, olives, arugula and orange. 
“Nobody here has ever seen it, nobody’s ever used the preparation that I showed,” he said. “It was delicious. People loved it. I sold it all.”
Aloise did a similar food tour when Republic first opened, visiting different countries of the Mediterranean. He suspects that as he and the staff explore different regions, certain dishes may become part of Campo’s lexicon, as happened at Republic.
The second stop on the Giro d’Italia is the Veneto, followed by Emiglia Romagna, Lombardy, Sicily, Bologna and Tuscany. Aloise chose the order for the regions based on what products will be locally available as well as what region’s cuisines match up with the New Hampshire seasons. The Veneto and Sicily will be in the warm months, with menus full of seafood and vegetables. 
“We want to be able to showcase local products, so the last thing we wanted was to do Tuscany in the summertime, [with] its heavy meats and heavier foods, so we leave that for the fall,” Aloise said.
As the tour “travels” through the country, Aloise and the staff will sit down to taste the food and learn about the region, its capital, main export and history, so they can share with the guests in order to fully experience the region and its culture. 
In addition to the Giro d’Italia, Campo is offering a passport program and photo contest to continue the theme of traveling in Italy. Everyone who comes to eat at Campo will receive a passport to be stamped each time they eat from a different part of the menu. Once all seven stamps have been collected, hand in the passport to receive a $35 gift certificate and start another passport. It began in March and will now be a part of Campo’s regular programming. The final piece is an invitation for patrons to share their travel photos of Italy on the restaurant’s Facebook page. At the end of the year, the photo with the most likes will receive a chef’s table dinner for six. 
“Our intention is for people to bond not only with the restaurant, but to bond with us as an extension of either their past travels or future travels to Italy,” Aloise said. 
As seen in the April 2, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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