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Oct 9, 2011 08:30 PM

My Final Request (I Promise) for Advice on Light Lunches--Bergamo, the Langhe, Lago d'Orta

Our three week journey in Italy ends in early November with dinners in Brusaporto (Da Vittorio), Cervere (Antica Corona Reale da Renzo), Barolo (Locanda nel Borgo Antico), Isola D'Asti (Il Cascinalenuovo) and Soriso (Al Sorriso). I want to thank this board--and in particular Allende--for information and insights that informed my decisions on where to dine in the Langhe. As noted in my other recent "light lunch" threads, my wife and I are looking for lunch recommendations which will give us the flexibility to focus on antijpasti and other lighter choices, leaving us better able to tackle the hard work we will be doing each and every night. Specifically, we need your thoughts on lunch one day in Bergamo; one day in the vicinity of Monforte d'Alba and Barolo as we will be visiting G Conterno and B Mascarello; one day in Alba; one day anywhere in the Langhe; and finally, one day in the vicinity of Lago d'Orta. I thank you all in advance for your further assistance.

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  1. Quite an ambitious schedule. Have fun at Cascinalenuovo and Da Renzo, two of our favorite places for a long long time. Borgo Antico will be a real contrast to both of them.

    You're going to be in Barolo and Alba and are looking for a light lunch. We would go to Osteria Veglio in Annunziata, just below La Morra. Here, in part, is what I've written about our favorite trattoria within 20 minutes of Alba or Barolo. You can go there and have only one dish and a glass of wine if you wish and look out over the vineyards of Barolo.

    " I know some on this board much prefer Il Vignaiolo in Santa Maria, about three km. up the hill toward La Morra. We don't. For us there is no comparison. The ownership presence in the dining room is much better here as the two sisters are animated, engaging and in general don't appear to lose a step even with a full dining room (that is not the case at Vignaiolo). The dining room itself is more open, the tables spaced better and the decoration is more comfortable; the felling is one of warmth.

    The most important difference is in the quality and preparation of the food. Even the bread (how do they make those addictive rolls? a triple rise?) In our opinion, the preparation is clearly superior here, as are the ingredients used. It does cost more (probably by a third), but well worth it. Had: carciofi croccanti, puree di ceci sopra un letto di spinaci, fonduta leggera; tajarin con sugo di carne; ravioli del plin cotto in brodo e serviti al tovagliolo; Coniglio con olive, the coniglio being a good example of the difference in the quality between here and Vignaiolo. A 2006 Mauro Veglio barbera. Very good wine list, reasonably priced (and with some 1996 and 2000 Baroli still on the list). A very good (written) menu. I don't mean to disparage Vignaiolo. It is a fine trattoria. We think this is better."

    Osteria Veglio
    Frazione Annunziata,9, La Morra, Piemonte 12064, IT

    1. For Bergamo, there are quite a number of wine bars, too, on the main E-W street in Citta Alta (which is Via Gombito at one end and, I think Via Bartolomeo Colleoni past the Piazza Vecchia where you might find your light meal., its also a charming local shopping street.

      the local food is not very light, but since you will not be tasting the typical food of the region at Da Vittorio,you might want a plate of casoncelli, say for lunch. There are also very good cheeses and cured meats available.

      While we did not eat a ameal there (they have only expanded to serving food recently, we liked L'Alimentari di Via Tassis and its young owner, with his enthusiasm for the cheeses and wines of the region and enjoyed our purchases from him, Probably a good place to taste the local cheese and salumi.

      Bar Donizetti, on the main square,widely recommended, is also a possibility, as is, if you are willing to go down-market at bit, the Cooperative Citta Alta, see my report on another thread of a meal there. The traditional pastas were very tasty and this is an informal place (notwithstanding the many elderly gentlement and students which patronize it) where eating a single dish would not be taken amiss but it is not a place for tasting fine wines..

      ps. if you are shopping you might also want to stop in to Gastronomia Mangili, on via Gombito - also very good cured meats, cheeses.wines and other regional products (but no restaurant service).

      Do enjoy your visit to Bergamo.

      Cooperative Città Alta
      Vicolo S Agata 19, Bergamo, Lombardy , IT

      Bar Donizetti
      Via Gombito 17/a,, Bergamo, Lombardy 24100, IT

      L'Alimentari di Via Tassis
      Via Tassis,3a, Bergamo, Lombardia 24129, IT

      Gastronomia Mangili
      Via Gombito,8, Bergamo, Lombardia 24129, IT

      1. Allende and Jen, thankyou both taking the time to respond. I will be taking your advice. Allende, any "must haves" (or "best avoided") on the menus I'll be seeing?

        1 Reply
        1. re: carlvin

          If piccione is on the menu at Da Renzo, it is a must have. At Cascinale, if it is on the menu...millefoglie di lingua di vitello e foie gras. There is nothing like this dish. Nothing. it usually on the menu as an antipasto.

        2. Thanks Allende. I'm pretty sure my Jewish grandmother back in Brooklyn combined tongue and chopped liver, or perhaps they just found their way into the same meal. In any event, I expect I'll encounter a somewhat more refined version in Isola d'Asti.

          1 Reply
          1. re: carlvin

            If you can't get triple decker tongue and chopped liver on rye in Brooklyn to this day, I'd be very surprised. It is a deli standard. Isola d'Asti's millefoglie might be somewhat more refined, but there is nothing like those good deli combos either. Plus in Brooklyn, it comes with pickles.