jen's blog. chef on wheels. october 4-9, 2010.
We had an unbelievable last night with the group. We met in the cellar of Villa Baccaris for our last group gathering. David had prepared a collection of photos, which he presented on a large screen. It was unbelievable to see the trip from the prospective of the pictures. It showed us climbing the numerous mountains, enjoying the incredible meals and also showed the development of so many friendships that we stumbled upon along the week.
I put away my notebook and camera to enjoy our last meal at La Libera in Alba. Josh and I used to hang out at La Libera on Friday nights when I finished teaching my language class with Franco, and Emmanuelle the waiters. Marco, the chef, allowed Josh to spend a night or two in his kitchen learning the art of how he makes pasta. When we opened our own restaurant we contemplated naming it La Libera because we enjoyed it so much.
Saying goodbye to everyone on Saturday was sad, however I know we will all meet again at La Morra in Brookline. When we were dropped off at the car park, we realized that we now had to take complete charge of our schedule. I prefer having my time completely planned out, which is why I enjoyed the tour so much. Josh and I were talking about what our high and what our low was for the week and we could not come up with a low.
We spent the day in Alba at the truffle festival, which brought me back to the memories of when we lived here in 97, because we visited the festival every weekend in October. Of course we could not miss any meals, even though we had promised ourselves we were only going to have gelato for lunch. Elena Corrado told us her brother had an enoteca, Vincafe, which he runs with his mother in Alba. When we arrived there, there was a long wait, however when her mom learned we were old friends of Elena’s, she snuck us into a perfect table in the cellar dining room. We had a bottle of Bruno Giacosa Arneis with our antipasti misti, formaggio piata and pasta con tartufo bianco. The waiter discreetly showed Josh the price of the truffles, but I didn’t want to ask. When In Alba, you eat white truffles!
After lunch we walked the streets of Alba and visited the truffle festival under the tent. The white truffles on display were incredible to see as well as the sight of all of the truffle hunters. We even bumped into “regulars” from La Morra who were visiting the area from Brookline. Such a small world, as we see every day.
We found our way to Guiseppe Cortese a beautiful agatourismo in Barbaresco, where our friends at Winebow had arranged for our room. For dinner, we were driving about 30 minutes to Novello, which is near La Morra, because our friends Luca and Cinzia opened a restaurant there this past February. They were our first friends in La Morra. Luca worked at Belvedere for 20 years and had just started dating Cinzia the spring before we arrived there. We were so excited to see them, because we stayed in touch all of these years.
We had an unbelievable meal at L’Angolo di Rossina in Novello. Luca and Cinzia have created a home away from home atmosphere in the agratourismo run by Titziana and Massimo. Not many people find their way to Novello, but I can assure you, it is worth the trip. One of our recent wine dinners: Elio Cogno’s cantina is in Novello. In fact Cinzia said she was talking to Walter, the winemaker who came to our La Morra for the wine dinner and they made the connection that that both knew us…again, small world!
Our meal: Luca has incorporated the techniques he learned at Belvedere and has added his own twist to the menu: Liver Terrine with onion marmalade and homemade bread, Vegetable tortino with fonduta, Beet Gnocchi with fonduta, this had a beautiful red color surrounded by the creamy fonduta, Gorgonzola Ravioli with mushroom sauce: one of my favorite d dishes of the week. I love how the eggs make the pasta so yellow. We had a Silvio Grasso 2001 Barolo that was really amazing. It paired so nicely with the tagliatta fried porcini mushrooms. It was robust with a licorice finish with light tannins and a smooth finish.
We ended our evening at Luca and Cinzia’s home in La Morra and opened a bottle of Anas-Cetta for one last drink. We barely found our way back to Barbaresco, especially because there wasn’t a sign for our agratourismo.