Photo: Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock

This Michelin-Star Restaurant in Italy Makes Cacio E Pepe in a Pig's Bladder

Italy Restaurants + Bars
by Matador Creators Jan 18, 2023

One of the four famous Roman pasta dishes, cacio e pepe is also one of Italy’s oldest pasta dishes, said to have been originated by shepherds who carried simple ingredients that were unlikely to spoil while they were in the mountains. Cacio e pepe has just three ingredients: cheese, pepper, and pasta, plus a generous splash of starchy pasta water to create the creamy sauce diners all over the world know and love today. It’s a dish that’s ubiquitous in Rome, but there’s one restaurant outside of the Italian capital, Lido 84, whose signature dish is a plate of cacio e pepe with a traditional yet dramatic twist— it’s prepared inside of a pig’s bladder.

@foodwtf Cacio e pepe #pasta cooked al dente inside a pig’s bladder with pecorino cheese, salt, pepper and water📍#Lido84 in #LakeGarda #Italy 🎥 IG: @jokuti #michelinstar #michelinrestaurant #pastatok ♬ Dolce Nonna – Wayne Jones & Amy Hayashi-Jones

Lido 84 is a Michelin-starred restaurant right on Lake Garda in northern Italy. It opened its doors in 2017 and quickly became one of the most talked-about restaurants in the area. The restaurant is located on the water and features stunning views of the lake and the surrounding Alps that can be seen from almost every seat in the house.

The star of the show at Lido 84 is the cacio e pepe dish. What makes it unique is how the chef takes rigatoni pasta, aged pecorino cheese, black pepper, salt, and extra virgin olive oil and adds them to a pig’s bladder that’s then filled with air before being cooked in boiling water. Once cooked through, it’s cut open tableside to reveal the creamy cheese and peppery mixture inside.

While there’s an element of showmanship in the restaurant’s use of pig bladders, the concept dates back to ancient times. Ancient Italians would use pig bladders as containers to store food or drink due to their strong outer walls, which could withstand extreme temperatures. While this tradition hasn’t been used much over the years, it has recently gained popularity again as chefs are experimenting with new ways to cook traditional dishes like cacio e pepe.

In Lido 84’s case, the result is a cacio e pepe dish that looks cool and tastes even better — one for the bucket list.

Where: Corso Giuseppe Zanardelli, 196, 25083 Gardone Riviera BS, Italy

Discover Matador