March 26, 2008
Northern Italy in Southern El Dorado

Can an acupuncturist who has studied and practiced Asian medicine for a quarter of a century - aside from six years living off the land in the Alaskan wilderness - find happiness and success as restaurateur and chef in a remote corner of El Dorado County?

We'll find out starting April 18, which is when Dr. Giovanni Gaudio and his wife, Sheri Brown-Gaudio, take over the dormant Fair Play Bistro in Fair Play and reopen it as Bocconato Trattoria, specializing in the regional cuisines of northern Italy.

In recent years, the couple, who live in Mount Aukum, also part of the Fair Play region, have been teaching food and wine classes, leading culinary tours to Italy and consulting for restaurants under their company Gaudio Culinary.

In addition to his medical practice, Giovanni Gaudio, a second-generation Californian who grew up in East Sacramento's Italian neighborhood, has long studied the anthropology and practice of Italian cooking, including taking classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. At Bocconato Trattoria - "bocconato" translates as "mouthful" - he will prepare dishes representative of Tuscany, Piemonte, Liguria, Veneto and other regions of northern Italy.

The extensive tentative opening menu includes such dishes as roasted duck breast and pancetta on rosemary skewers, turkey meatballs with a citrus ginger sauce, a timbale of Dungeness crab and avocado finished with housemade chili and wasabi oils, the classic bistecca Fiorentina, Venetian pork ribs with a spicy peanut sauce, and a whole boned chicken stuffed with sausage and glazed with apricot.

Sheri Brown-Gaudio, an educational psychologist and freelance writer, also is to be actively involved in the restaurant, which will be stylistically casual. Bocconato Trattoria, at Fair Play Road and Perry Creek Road, will be open 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Mondays; (530) 620-2493 or

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