Chris Leo is a musician (The Van Pelt, The Lapse, Native Nod, Vague Angels), author of three novels, and recently left his role as sommelier at Pizzeria Mozza to start The Maritime Republic, an Italian beer and wine importer.
What was the food highlight of your year?
"Pisarei e Fasò", Antica Trattoria dell'Angelo, Piacenza. Gnocchetti partially made with reconstituted stale bread, cranberry beans, leek and celery based tomato sauce, wild mushrooms, parmigiano reggiano. Some "Pisarei e Fasò" call for a few eggs, lard, and butter but I have no idea where you'd put them. You drink gutturnio with it in opaque porcelain mugs because way back in the day the original "gutturnium" was a 2 liter chalice made of silver.
What was the music highlight of your year?
Watching Pony Bravo play to 2,000 happy Catalans in a public plaza in Gràcia at 2am. That band is everything I ever wanted to be in music yet could never find the balance nor execution they have: political yet fun, groovy yet with a home-made uneasy spirit.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Wine, music, and skateboarding. Giulio Repetto runs Green Records and a skate company called Murder out of Padova. In 1997 he booked an Italian tour of squats and pizzerias for my band The Van Pelt and came to all 4 of the shows. All will come full circle starting in the Spring of 2015 when I'll begin importing the entire line of his family's biodynamic estate in Piedmont, Cento Filari. Amongst the hits are a freisa, a chinato, and a pinot noir that tastes like what you wished a dolcetto tasted like.