Trip report, and thank you note
We just returned from a lovely week in Piemonte (and a less lovely week in Chianti). Thanks to the recommendations on this Board, we found some terrific places to eat and rest.
For example, due to the the advice we received here, we went out of our way to stop overnight at Hosteria Da Ivan on our way to Piemonte. Our meal there was probably the best we had in Italy (better than the michelin starred restaurant in Chianti!). The Zabaglione and Ivan's prosciutto are outstanding! But really what makes this hosteria special are Ivan and Barbara- they are so welcoming and kind. What hospitality! After one night we felt as though we left as friends.
In Piemonte, we stayed at the Agriturismo La Toricella (thanks I believe are due to CH'er 'Parmasam'). They are a working winery, and also produce hazelnuts and honey. Stunning setting atop a hill, and a restaurant that serves great home cooked meals. We ate dinner there twice because we enjoyed it so much. My husband said it was the best gnocchi that he ever had. The wine list was small but had good choices that were well priced. Desserts were also lovely- a stand out was a hazelnut cake with a side of gelato.
Della Posta is just down the road, so of course we ate there. Their pasta is 'to die for.' Wine list is great, but we were not that happy with the Barbaresco that I chose with the server's assistance. Oh well, live, taste, and learn. Everything else about the meal was lovely, and service is very, very good.
Also tried Da Felicin in the town of Monforte d'Alba. We were not all that impressed with the food. My cold tomato soup appetizer was full of seeds. The rabbit cooked in wine was good, but anything cooked in wine and onions for many hours would taste good. For such a fussy restaurant, it was a disappointment. We felt as if we could have prepared and presented the dishes ourselves much better (and we are not professional chefs). It appears that they get by on their cellar.
That's all I remember at this jet-lagged moment. Thanks again to everyone who posted their recommendations. It helped enormously in planning our trip.
Glad you took my recommendation for Da Ivan. Ivan and Barbara, in all the years we've known them, have always been welcoming. That was probably culatello that you ate, not prosciutto.
It would have been very easy for you (and will be very easy for others in the future) to have avoided Della Posta and Da Felicin in Piemonte. There are so many restaurants and trattorias that are really excellent, that there is no need to go to places such as these two.
Yes, thank you allende for the recommendation. We did try both the culatello and the prosciutto as part of a tasting appetizer at dinner. It was our first taste of lardo- delicious. The prosciutto was notable to me because it literally melted in your mouth. Ivan was nice enough to slice some more for us in the morning at breakfast.
Wonderful to hear you had a happy experience of home-cooked meals in an agriturismo in the hazlenut country! I realized I had never really tasted hazlenuts until I tasted in them in Piemonte, and hazelnut baked goods there can be heavenly.
More then 8 years ago, I also had a dreary meal at Trattoria della Posta with the exception of what still lives in my memory as the best stuffed onions I have ever eaten and best panna cotta -- but otherwise everything seemed really very pedestrian. I'm not sure how they keep packing them in. I guess they are listed in many guidebooks.
thanks for the report! when you recover, maybe you can tell us about some of the other parts, including the Chianti disappointments..