Our lovely medieval village of Neive has a new fine dining restaurant called Donna Selvatica, named after one of Romano Levi’s grappas.
Us and our friends, Franco and Susan, from Franco Rocca winery, were invited to the practice dinner last night and we all agree they are off to a great start.
The owner, Valter, chatting up some test customers. The dining room is very elegant and relaxing.
Dinner started with a “tris” a sampling of traditional Piemontese “antipasti” appetizers, Flan di Asparagus, Carne Cruda and Vitello Tonnato.
As you can see, the food was fantastic. The young chef, Gabriele, gave some nice twists to the dishes. For example, the tajarin pasta came with a Langhe white sauce instead the usual meat ragu and Arugula Gnocchi on top of a cream of saffron.
As Daniela, front of house manager, prepares espresso, Susan and Leslie congratulate Chef Gabriele for a great dinner.
No website as of this blog, here is the restaurant info:
Via Rocca, 21
Neive CN 12052
Donna Selvatica is participating in Barbaresco a Tavola.
May 8, 15, & 22
Il Barbaresco a Tavola
3 evenings featuring the new release of 2012 Barbarescos.
A fantastic way to experience the new vintage along with dinner.
At various participating restaurants in the Barbaresco area.
40-85 euros for dinner & wine per person depending on restaurant
Opened in Aug. of 2013 after an extensive remodelling of an old farm Osteria I Rebbi located just 2 KM past the town of Monforte on the road to Dogliani
It's a bold move for owners Elena (24) and Valerio (30) to open the 22nd restaurant in a town of 2,000 but we think they have "hit the nail on the head"
For a young restaurant they have a solid selection of well priced wines
Operitivo snacks of fritata and sliced meats
Home made pici pasta with shrimp
Halibut over greens
gnocchi with asparagus and ricotta
Daily specials are listed on a chalkboard in the dining room
The before shot
And the after shot
Our first truffle hunt in the snow, yesterday. A little snow is ok but if it gets too deep the dogs can't smell the truffles and truffle season is over for the year.
Leslie with Marco, our truffle hunter, being from Minnesota this was more like a dusting and not very cold for us.
Marco and Rocky his 3 year old truffle dog. Rocky was successful today and found us 5 nice white truffles!
Cotta, our mascot, loves to be in charge and thinks she found all the truffles and wants to be paid with treats too!
Rocky finding a truffle under the snow.
Our biggest find of the day!
Where all the best truffles end up, at one of the best restaurants under glass, waiting to be shaved over your dish of choice! Tajarin, carne cruda, fonduta, uova etc...........
In an effort to lengthen summer just a little bit longer we went down to Cinque Terre for a few days to catch the last few days of warmth and sun.
Our favourite village to stay in is Corniglia, the middle village of the five villages.
It's fun to get lost on the twisty curvy streets looking for a hidden gem of a bar, shop or restaurant.
Corniglia is the only village without a proper harbour, one must climb 400 steps from the train station to reach the village center or take the shuttle bus which we haven't tried yet. It is funner to walk up and earn your aperitivo!!!
Our favourite wine bar is in the main piazza when you arrive in the centre, Terra Rossa, run by 2 sisters, with a great view of the village and the sea. Great local wine and food.
Living in Langhe we know exactly what to expect when we order something to eat, however here in Liguria we are always surprised when we order bruschetta, it's always good but the style changes from place to place.
Slowfood Cheese is happening again this year in Bra! if you are in the area during this time, this is a DO NOT MISS EVENT!!!!!
20-23 September, open Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11am to 11pm and Monday 11am to 8pm.
Eat your body weight in Cheese from around the world for free. Fees apply to Seminars and Hall of Cheese.
We went to the village of Barolo yesterday to update our photos of Osteria Barolando, a new entry in our travel app, Piedmont Wine Food and More…. Owner Lidia and her daughter Francesca are great hosts with a growing, well chosen wine list, prime location in the centre of the village along with great home made local food.
We were lucky to catch the chef cutting the "hand cut tajarin" the classic pasta of the Langhe
Tajarin with Ragu
Robert's favorite, Vitello Tonnato, made withOUT mayonnaise
If you're in Barolo stop by grab a table outside and have a great meal or aperitivo while watching all the comings and goings in the centre of town
The local restaurant scene is very happy with the well known dining guide "Guida Michelin" which just released it's list for 2012. We can now boast 15 stared restaurants in Langhe & Roero.
Alba is full of stars now that all the christmas lights are up and on. The streets of Alba are very pretty and festive at Christmas time.
If headed for Alba to see the lights, dress warm, Alba is always colder in the winter than the small hilltop villages.
"Better a real focaccia than a fake beard…."
Last Saturday we had a great truffle hunt with Marco Varaldo in La Morra, Barolo. We were out hunting with one of his best truffle dogs, Deena. Deena is 8 years old and a truffle hunting pro. Due to a dry summer and fall, the truffle quantities have been lower than usual, but Deena found us a fairly big, aromatic white truffle and 4 nice black summer truffles.
Deena doesn't work for free, she gets rewarded with treats when she finds a truffle.
Here are the truffles we found.
During the hunt, Marco explained to us all about the truffles of the Langhe, all the essential information of how, where and why the truffles grow. For example, what trees they grow under, how the weather affects them, hunting during the day vs. night, how the dogs are trained, the roots under a truffle and the little spores that become next year's truffles and much more. He is very passionate about truffles and happy to share his knowledge and experiences. His knowledge has been passed down from over 3 generation of truffle hunters.
Here, on our way back to town, Marco is explaining the work in the vineyards, when we encounter Agostino (below), the owner of Bosco Agostino, a winery in La Morra. He is out working in his vineyard doing the winter pruning. The farmers are expecting a lot of snow this year so they are trying to get an early start on the winter pruning. He was very charming and funny but we are not sure exactly what he said since he was talking in deep "Piedmontese" dialect.
Below, the village of La Morra in Barolo.
Alla Casa del Trifolao
Truffle Hunting Excursions
tel +39 335 58 00143
reservation is necessary
comfortable clothing and shoes recommended
Upon request, a tasting in the field is available.
After many months of no rain, the first weekend of November has been hit hard with heavy rain and flooding. Unfortunately, the rain came too late to help with the truffle season. This year the famous Alba white truffles are down in numbers and expensive.
Even though it hasn't been the best year for truffles, one can still choose from many different truffle hunters and a variety of sizes.
Inside the Truffle Fair, the smell of truffles is almost overwhelming. How do you know the truffle you're considering is aromatic or not when the smell of truffles is penetrating the fair?
This year, on account of the very dry summer, the price of the famous white Alba truffle has increased due to short supply, however, quality seems to be good.
950 Euros is a lot of cash for something that has a shelf life of 7 days or less.
Before or after buying truffles, you can have your purchase judged for quality by experts in the center of the fair.
In addition to truffles, there are tons of other food stuffs to taste and buy, pasta, truffle oil and honey, salami, cheese, hazelnut cakes, chocolates, wine and much more.
If breathing in the truffle air gets you hungry! No problem, you can buy pasta, eggs or carne cruda with ample shavings of truffles, of course!
Here in the Langhe, there is nobody as passionate about bubbles, mainly champagne, as Alessio, owner of Vinoteca in Serralunga d'Alba. His wine bar, caffè, wine shop and restaurant sports the best list of bubbles in the area.
One may come here for sparkling wine, however you will stay for the great food and of course the Nebbiolo. His list of Barolos and Barbarescos is well thought out, along with an interesting selection of desert wines. Alessio is very knowledgable in the wines of Piemonte and is happy to explain the region's wines.
Alessio does all of this in a small but efficient space that is very comfortable, the walls are adorned with black and white photos and wine maps of the area. Menu is small and changes daily, we have always been happy with the choices and have eaten very well here at a good price.
Don't forget about aperitivo time, Alessio has a great selection of salumi and cheeses.
Reservations recommended as it is small and fills up fast.
Vinoteca Centro Storico
Via Roma 6
+39 017 361 3203
10am to 11pm
Alessio pouring a blind tasting for some of his customers. A fun way to taste wine.
The best Eggplant Parmigiano "Melanzane Parmigiana" we have eaten to date!
Homade Hazelnut soufflé with Zabione. A great way to end a meal.
We made it to Cheese 2011 on Monday, the last day. We started in the Great Hall of Cheese tasting some white wine from Veneto and of course some cheese.
We found the Neal's Yard Booth and bought some great cheddar cheese, something we can't easily find in Piedmont and miss.
It wasn't as crowded on Monday, which we preferred. Everyone said it was packed on the weekend.
Raelin, Leslie & Robin next to a big blue Slowfood snail!
On a recent walking tour of Alba we came across the first white truffles of the season at Tartufi & Co. These are on there way to a few of the local restaurants, so far it looks to be a good year for truffles with all the rain we had in the spring.
As harvest ramps up the roads are full of tractors carrying grapes to the wineries, Moscato anyone??
The other day while working at the computer we heard a sound and thought could it be? Sure enough, there were two horses tied up to our garage door below our kitchen balcony.
Chiaro (leslie) returns home to a very happy puppy cotta, Robert can
now stop eating Ramón.
First stop on way home from airport the market to refill the fridge.
WOW Mortadella on sale only 8.90 per kilo. cut to order maybe next time.
Chiaro brings minnesota weather back with her, great !!!
Lorenzo the fantastic neighbor that he is plows us out first
Very rare in piemonte an ethnic restaurant i wouldn't travel from the states
to eat here but when you live here a nice change of pace
We are often asked what the drinking age is in Italy. Don't know but this
sign was on the door of the restaurant above. Not just forbidden but
The last day of the world famous truffle fair in alba this years "best"
of show sold for 24,000 wow now that would be a big bag of stink!!!
Just out side the fair venders were selling both white and black truffles
from 30 to 80 Euros
No they are not all the same. The signs give details on location, altitude,
flat or hilly ,aging
Amazing the differences from wheel to wheel
SILVIO HARVESTING HAZEL NUTS WITH GIANT VACUM
FIRST STEP OF A THREE PART CLEANING PROCESS
PHOTO TAKEN FROM ARE LIVING ROOM BALCONY
TRYING NEW PLACES FOR ARE FALL TOURS YUM YUM!
COTTA APPROVES TOO!
THIS CREAMY YET CRISP ? WHITE WINE FROM THE CARSO D.O.C.
OF THE FRIULI / VENEZIA REGION IS MADE FROM THE VARIETAL
VITOVSKA I KNOW A HOUSEHOLD NAME FOR MOST OF US. THE WINERY
IS NEAR THE SLOVENIAN BORDER HENCE THE NAME.