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Piemonte 2014, Part II

My wife and I just returned from 2.5 weeks in Piemonte and I thought I would share our dining experiences on this board. We stayed 2 weeks in the town of Barolo and then moved 2 miles to the vineyard of Cerequio just outside of La Morra at Palas Cerequio for our final 3 nights. First, our perspective: (i) we have been to Italy many times, but this was our first trip to Piemonte; and (ii) we prefer to dine in less formal and traditional settings with local cuisine than in more formal settings with white-table cloths serving international cuisine. So, for those with more experience in the area or different tastes, your mileage may vary. Finally, I want to recognize the generous advice of Allende and his wife—without their encouragement, we would have stayed close to Barolo and eaten serviceable meals, but missed out on some fantastic dining experiences.

For our first night in Barolo (Saturday), despite two trains to get to Milan Malpensa from Varenna, and then a rental car drive to Barolo, we ignored our weariness and set out on the SP3 toward the hitherto unknown town of Cherasco, about 9 miles away for dinner: destination La Torre. We had made reservations and arrived promptly at 8. The weather was ideal and we decided to eat outside in the garden, where soon all of the tables were occupied and then even more inside. It was going to be a busy night. Due to the winding roads and many warnings about traffic checkpoints, I decided to forego ordering a bottle of wine, and instead ordered a half liter of their house Barbera D'Alba (which was quite good, for what it is, and also quite cheap). We later had a glass each of the "house" Barolo which turned about to be a 2010 Brezza. Great vintage, unknown producer to me, but again quite good (and cheap). First lesson learned: order the wine you want; this is Italy, if you don’t finish your wine, you can take it with you.

The meal began with 3 stuzzichini: creme of carrot soup with ginger, fried veal cheek, and salsicce di Bra cruda. Wonderful! You will note that my poor Italian skills inhibit my descriptions. We tried our best to elicit descriptions from the waitstaff. Our young waitress identified the fried veal cheek as "testina" which my wife thought meant testicles; only with more effort did we sort it out!

It then came time to order: La Torre has a blackboard with the day’s specials, which I learned is really what Marco Falco, the co-owner/chef, wanted to cook that day. But this was my first day in Piemonte and I had preconceived notions of what I needed to try. Second lesson: follow the board. Marco is very, very talented.

For our antipasti, my wife had the seared foie gras with a cipollini marmalade, fig and what was either corn bread or a fried crouton (this was a special on the board). This was a very rich dish. I had to have the carne cruda, which was fantastic. It was served on a bed of arugula, with sliced boiled eggs, shaved parmesan and a sprinkling of black cipro salt. I have never tasted a boiled egg like that.

For our primi, my wife ordered a glowing orange agnolotti, and I had the tajarin with coniglio ragu. We both agreed that the tajarin was the highlight of the meal-a take a knee moment for me, and, in retrospect, one of my two favorite dishes on the trip.

For our dolci, my wife had a creme caramel (?) with berries and a sprinkling of cipro. For this southern boy, I could not turn down the peach pie with sorbet (sprig of thyme was a nice touch) and berries. The raspberries here are the best we have ever had.

As if that was not enough, we were then served 3 complimentary desserts. I couldn't begin to identify these, but I will try: hazelnut cookies, fruit jellies and these fantastic meringue wafers held together by fresh ricotta. Bravo! We ordered a lot of dolci on our trip, but nothing topped those meringue wafers.

Overall, the meal was fantastic, particularly the tajarin and the meringue wafer. The ingredients were first rate, but they do not try to force the meal, trying to do too much. Rather, they let the ingredients speak for themselves. Plating was solid, and the servings were ample. We will be back!

This way to La Torre!

Daily Specials

Follow the board!

Stuzzichini

Wife's Antipasto

Antipasto-Carne Cruda

Primi-Agnolotti

Primi-Tajarin with coniglio ragu

Wife's Dessert

My dessert

Complimentary Desserts

Meringue wafers!

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  1. Wonderful post & pics. Can't wait to see more. Thank you.

    1 Reply
    1. This is gold! Thank you so much for taking the time, and possibly precious vacation time to register your eats. Looking forward to the rest

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ziggy41

        It gets even better, much better.

        What Henjef and his lovely wife have done is to capture some Langhe restaurants in a way that no one else here has come anywhere close to doing; certainly not I, nor my friend Peter R (Peter, you've got your work cut out for you on your fall trip), nor any of the other really good posters here… no one. In fact, I don’t recall anyone, in any post on the Italian (or French) board, doing what they have done. The food photography is stunning and their descriptions are mouth watering. If this doesn’t get people who really enjoy food and wine to come to The Langhe, I don’t know what will.

        The fact that the Henjefs have taken so much time to describe those two plus weeks, is going to give all of us a wonderful vicarious vacation. However, if you knew their background, it wouldn’t surprise you that they took the enormous amount of time to chronicle their trip. From our first email (and now 51 more) K and J were passionate. They had done their homework (again, not surprising), asked wonderful questions and were meticulous in their planning.

        From the first, J promised to post upon their return. Many promise, few deliver. If everyone who asks this board for help would post only one one hundreth of what the Henjefs will have posted, we’d all be much better off.

        My wife and I have thanked K and J over and over again for their simply excellent reports and beautiful photography, but we’d now like to do so publicly. Thanks so much for all the incredible work you’ve done to give all of us here a great deal of pleasure for a long time. Brava, bravo!

        1. re: allende

          Allende, much appreciated, and yet much undeserved. Folks here should know how little I knew about Piemonte dining, and would still not know but for your kind advice. For each of those 51 emails, you responded promptly and graciously. A key for my postings: when you read "Lesson learned", that really means things Allende explained to me. For instance, at the end of our meal at La Torre, we were ignored by the waitstaff for 45 minutes. I actually had to get up and flag our waitress to get our check. I ranted in an email to Allende about this and he patiently explained to me that is the custom in Italy; the table is yours for the evening and the restaurant does not want to appear to be rushing you out the door. Once you are ready to leave, they expect you to get up and ask for your check. Another for instance: I had no idea that was ricotta between those meringue wafers. Thanks again to Allende and Mrs. Allende!

          1. re: allende

            allende, I wondered if you had heard of or been to Dai Bercau in Verduno? I can't find anything out about it on this board but it has been recommended to me. I also read about it in this more wine-oriented article from the Art of Eating:
            http://www.artofeating.com/tt/pelaver...

            1. re: johannabanana

              None of our friends in La Morra have ever mentioned it, though that is not a negative. If you go, hope you'll report back.

              I had seen the Art of Eating article and found it interesting... but not the wine. We've had it once and didn't understand why the restaurateur wanted us to try it. Perhaps because it is indigenous to the area. Other than that, for us, it wasn't a wine that was anything more than a very basic table wine with little character. With barberas (at very reasonable prices) in The Langhe, and the other Big Two, no need to drink it.

              1. re: allende

                Thanks for letting me know. I'll certainly report back. We're spending 3 nights in Verduno so Dai Bercau might make sense for dinner on one of them.

        2. For folks curious why I named this thread, Piemonte 2014, Part II, here is the original thread created by Allende that started it all: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/974240

          1. I want to fast forward to the following Friday night and continue what I will now refer to as Allende’s Greatest Hits: Osteria Veglio in Annunziata. But first: a back story. Three days prior, my wife and I went to explore Serralunga d’Alba. We had heard through the wine critic, Antonio Galloni, of a particular good enoteca up there, Centro Storico, which is at the foot of the castle. The proprietor, Alessio Cighetti, is an engaging fellow with a love of Champagne but I prevailed upon him to recommend a Franciacorta instead. So, while enjoying a glass of Cavalleri, we noticed we were not alone, as a white haired Italian gentleman was at the next table with a very pleasant Italian woman. Then, it began to rain; so rather than scurry back to the bottom of the town where we parked our car, we decided to get comfortable and eat. Alessio’s wife and mother-in-law run the kitchen upstairs and do a credible job. Alessio opened a bottle of the '07 Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva Ovello for us while I had some carne cruda for an appetizer and then ravioli for my primi. My wife had the baccale (codfish) for her antipasti and gnocchi for her primi. All was quite good for an enoteca. The Italian couple also ordered and we began to get to know each other (the first floor in Centro Storico being quite small). And then it begins to hail. I rush upstairs to close the windows and my wife and the Italian woman joined Alessio outside to check on the size of the hail and basically play in the rain. A good time for all, once, of course, we determined the hail was unlikely to damage the vineyards. Fast forward to last night at Veglio. The woman my wife was playing with in the rain and hail was none other than Fiorenza, one of the ladies working at Veglio! A small world indeed in the Langhe. We would later return on Wednesday the following week to Centro Storico and meet Fiorenza there again. What a delightful lady she is!

            1. It was a fine Friday night in July at Osteria Veglio. Located in Annunziata, this is an ideal spot for lunch or dinner for those staying in La Morra or Barolo. From our parking lot in Barolo, it was a mere 2.5 miles, practically around the corner. The day was quite warm (for a change), and the evening temperature was just right for dining on the terrace. All but one of the outside tables were occupied and no one ate inside. Add a rising full moon between our primi and secondi and it was a glorious night.

              Fiorenza talked me into her last bottle of Brovia's '09 Barolo Villero which was really on last night. The wine critics have not been fond of the 2009 vintage, but we have found them to be quite approachable and enjoyable in their relative youth (part of the criticism, of course).

              Because we were quite hungry, we decided to go with the degustiazione menu with 3 antipasti, primo, secondo and dolce. We started with their carne crudo and vitello tonnato. We have had these dishes multiple times already, but Veglio had a texture of substance to theirs altogether missing from the others (La Torre excepted). Hard to describe but easy to taste. The tonnato in particular was not a thin film of mayo but it was full of something! My only quibble (and it occurred again with my secondo) is the vitello was a bit chewy. Our 3rd antipasto was the highlight: Pomodoro cuore di bue, rapieno di pane conito, salse al basilico, basically a roasted tomato stuffed with breadcrumbs which was wonderful. My wife’s primi was a Ravioli del plin all' olio extravergine; so simple, yet so good. I ordered the Tajarin al ragu. How do they make this pasta so light? For our secondi, in view of the kitchen’s love for vegetables, my wife ordered the Verdure grigliate, uovo in camicia e formaggio fresco (we can't get enough of these eggs). Mine was the Tagliata di vitello Fassone. All was wonderful but for the slight chewiness of the veal. Finally, our first semifreddo for dolce. It will not be the last.

              Great food, warm and attentive service, a nice change of pace with the focus on vegetables, and best of all, the best dining location we experienced in the Langhe. To sit outside and view the sun coming down over the Serralunga Valley, and then watch the full moon rise above it was sublime.

               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
              3 Replies
              1. re: henjef85

                Another great post. Thanks for posting the menus (the most important part) I can already taste it and see myself ordering Tajarin, Agnolotti or Ravioli just about twice a day during the 4 day stay. We are strategically staying in Baudana about 6 km from Osteria Veglio

                1. re: Ziggy41

                  That sounds wonderful. I forgot to mention that Veglio had the best bread we ate in Piemonte; in particular, they serve rolls that are very addictive.

                2. re: henjef85

                  Really enjoyed the reports so far and am greatly looking forward to the rest of the story. You have given a truly personal account of your dinners and the photos are great.

                3. On a Sunday night, we jumped into our car and headed north on the A33 to the little town of Priocca for dinner at Il Centro. From Barolo, it is an easy drive of just under 30 minutes. What can I say? I should have expected a high level of quality from a ristorante with a Michelin star, but the gap between the others surprised me (La Torre being the closest). But don't be intimidated by the white linen tablecloths and Michelin star, this is a family-owned and operated restaurant for 59 years (for more background on the Cordero familiy and Il Centro, please read this: http://www.winepassitaly.it/index.php...). We were greeted warmly at the door by Enrico Cordero and his son, Giampiero, while Enrico's wife, Elide, was busy leading the kitchen. There were only 3 other tables occupied (one with a single diner), and it was very quiet--my only negative comment--perhaps Sunday night is not the best night for Il Centro?

                  We were hungry again, and decided to order the tasting menu. We began with a stuzzichini: a beautiful anchovy on toast with lemon and olive oil. We could choose 3 antipasti, and we agreed on the first two: thinly sliced dentex with ginger and a sambuca sorbet and stuffed zucchini blossoms in a tomato and burrata sauce (they had me as soon as I heard burrata). We diverged with our final antipasti choice: my wife chose the terrine with "white meat" and vegetables (Allende identified the white meat as rabbit, chicken and turkey). The savory pesto underneath the terrine no doubt had some of the meat and those are pickled onions on top. I went with the roasted quails, cooked to perfection, with beets, onions and grapefruit-an interesting combo that really worked. For our primi, I chose the plin stuffed with fish and vegetables. Are you telling this Americano you don't put sauce on your pasta? Yes we can. My wife chose the primi tagliatella with porcini mushroom and black truffles. It tasted as good as it looked. Our wine for the evening: 2000 Sori Paitin Barbaresco.

                  For our secondi, I chose the roasted rabbit livers with a wine and port reduction--a paleo delight! My wife chose what was simply described as "meatballs in sauce" on our English menu but that name did a great disservice. At Il Centro, the secondi plates are not an afterthought unlikely many other dining establishments.

                  For our dolci, I equivocated between the chocolate tart and apricot tart and managed to confuse Giampiero, so he brought both to me! A nice gesture. The apricot tart was my favorite. My wife chose the trifle and loved it. As if that were not enough, we were brought a platter of small complimentary desserts: the creampuffs at the top almost rivaled the meringue wafers at La Torre.

                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                  3 Replies
                  1. re: henjef85

                    Great report! I might go to Il Centro for a weekend lunch in September instead of dinner, when they'll hopefully be busier. What time did your dinner end by, for the drive back to Barolo?

                    1. re: johannabanana

                      We were finished by 10:30 and back in Barolo by 11.

                      1. re: henjef85

                        Thanks for the info. Sounds manageable at dinner.

                  2. We enjoyed meals of greater culinary creativity (Il Centro and La Torre) and at a more scenic venue (Veglio on the terrace with the full moon rising), but we have not had a meal we enjoyed more than at La Coccinella on Monday night. The contrast with Il Centro was striking: from austere and quiet, to feeling as if I was eating in someone’s home, complete with a mantle clock over the fireplace.

                    The drive up to Serravalle Langhe from Barolo was lovely, taking less than 30 minutes. We were greeted at the door by 2 of the 3 brothers who own the trattoria: Alessandro and Tiziano (Massimo is the chef). And it was a full house! The energy in the room added to the country warmth of the decor made us anxious to dig in.

                    A straightforward stuzzichini to get us started: Cured meats on foccacia. The wine for the evening: Finally some 2010 Barolo! Elio Grasso’s Barolo Chiniera.

                    We asked to sample all of the antipasti, and began with a delightful anchovy starfish- an anchovy tart with a dollop of roasted tomato creme and red pepper jelly. This was followed by a Terrina di Pomodori e Melanzana in Gelatina con Insalata di Fagiolini e Pesto di Basilico. And then a Giardiniera con "Tonno di Galleto" Nostrano. I believe Massimo has the chicken sitting out overnight soaking in olive oil. Light, savory and wonderful! Finally, and the first take a knee moment of the night, was the Souffle di Zucchine e Ricotta con Fonduta al Blu. Blue cheese fondue! This was so good I almost ate the sprig of rosemary.

                    With the preliminaries out of the way, we each chose one primi. My wife chose the Quenelles di Seirass con Burro di Trombette e Porcini Spadellati. She said this was one of her top 10 dishes of her life, and best one this trip (mine is still the tajarin with coniglio ragu at La Torre). The "burro" is a sauce that Massimo made from zucchini. My primi was a delightful gnocchi di patate e nocciole ripieni di Castelmagno al burro e timo.

                    Finally, dolce! I had Croccante al Gianduia con Granita al Barolo Chinato. My wife had the Pan Brioche”Ripieno di Gelato alla Nocciola con Salsa al Cioccolato Amaro. And then the complimentary dolci to finish the evening. We liked our meal so much that we booked our reservations before leaving for our farewell dinner the next Monday night.

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    11 Replies
                    1. re: henjef85

                      Henjef, no one replied yet because everyone is either busy cleaning their keyboards from the drooling and/or still translating the dishes. I cant thank you enough for doing this
                      I presume picture 34 is the Quenelles di Seirass? I cant quite figure out what it is but looks/sounds something cheesy.
                      I also have my eyes on this pasta on their site which I cant seem to match to anything on their menu.. http://www.trattoriacoccinella.it/imm...

                      1. re: Ziggy41

                        Hey Ziggy, thank you for the reply. Picture 34 is the Quenelles di Seirass. I will defer to Allende on exactly what it is, but I believe a quenelles is a type of dumpling, in this case made of a local cheese, Seirass. I don't recognize the pasta in the picture.

                        1. re: henjef85

                          Jeff,

                          The Quenelles is exactly what you said. A type of dumpling made of a local cheese, Seirass. Totally different of course from the Quenelle de brochet with lobster sauce from around Nantua, but really delicious in its own way.

                          Don't know the name of the pasta. Clearly handmade, probably rolled on a thin tapered spindle to partially shape it. Name could vary from locale to locale in Piemonte. Perhaps Maureen Fant will know some of the various names.

                          1. re: allende

                            Thanks Allende. We did dine at La Coccinella twice, and my wife ordered the Quenelles both times and we noticed some variability in the dish. On the first occasion, the dish had a more pronounced vinegary taste that she loved, and I was ok with. On the second occasion, the dish had a more savory taste to it, which I loved and she was ok with.

                            1. re: henjef85

                              henjef, on your second visit was there any particular Primi or Secondi that was especially memorable?

                              1. re: Ziggy41

                                Yes, that report will soon follow. Stay tuned!

                            2. re: allende

                              I don't know what the pasta shape is, but am intrigued and will try to find out, possibly by simply asking the restaurant. Could it be torsellini?

                              Seirass is a Piedmontese ricotta.

                              Quenelles, a French word, are generically dumplings. The most famous quenelles are quenelles de brochet (pike).

                              We are in the middle of a minor Piedmontese adventure, essentially a detour from Liguria en route from Rome to a meeting near Cannes, and this wonderful thread is driving me crazy.

                        2. re: henjef85

                          I like the way you convey the sense of the place here, as well as describing the food, which seems more experimental than at Il Centro and La Torre?

                          1. re: johannabanana

                            johannabanana,

                            Some of the descriptions may indicate "experimental", but trust me, in neither Coccinella, Il Centro or La Torre is the food such. If it were, we wouldn't keep going back as many times as we have and wouldn't be recommending the places on this board.

                            A touch here and there, out of the norm in some dishes, but really very little. These three places (as well as Veglio) which Jeff has so eloquently already written about, and particularly Bardon which I presume he is going to write about, are all about tradition, but in a different way from the standard Piemontese places. That is: the cooking level is a cut (in some cases a huge cut), above the norm; some old traditional dishes that are not seen very much are on menus; the ingredients used are of higher quality.

                            But those who go to all the places that Jeff has mentioned here are going to go to traditional places. The chefs at these places stick to cooking that is well within their sphere of competence and with dishes that they've grown up with.

                            1. re: allende

                              Allende is absolutely right. If I recall correctly, the brothers at La Coccinella are from nearby Torino, and they wanted to open their trattoria in Alba, but found it to be too expensive. They eventually settled on the property in Serravalle Langhe because it was in their price range. But they are very much Piemontese and so is their food.

                              1. re: allende

                                Glad to hear it -- I, too, am generally averse to experimental cuisine.

                          2. If you have read the postings of Allende over the years regarding his dining experiences in Piemonte, probably if you were to put him under a bright light and compel him to reveal his favorite place to eat in the Piemonte, the answer would be Ristorante Belbo da Bardon, or just simply Da Bardon. And it was only with that understanding that my wife and I departed our comfortable lodgings at Palas Cerequio on a Saturday night to make the 45 minute drive to da Bardon. The drive to San Marzano Oliveto was quick and relatively uneventful, save for one turn where my Garmin let me down. We came to a traffic circle and I saw the sign to take the first exit to Da Bardon, but my trusty Garmin told me to take the 2nd exit. It got me to Da Bardon, but only after driving too long on a narrow country lane (which I believe is the route of Allende’s favorite after-meal walk).

                            It was another lovely evening and we opted to eat outdoors. There were three gentlemen and two ladies working that evening, and they were going to be busy as the terrace and the immediate interior dining room were soon full with couples, families with children, multi-generational dining groups; it was very festive and Italian except for us (we were festive though!).

                            We started off the evening on a strong note when I asked one of the brothers for two glasses of "sparkling wine" despite no sparkling wine by the glass on the wine list. He brought over a bottle of La Spinetta's Contratta, asked if I approved, opened it and even had me sample it to make sure—never had that before for wine by the glass. And the Contratta was quite good, with a fine bead and good mineral cut, just what we needed to erase the memory of that day's summer heat.

                            No stuzzichini tonight and no menus. Another of the brothers came by and began to recite the menu for us. We began with the antipasti, and I chose the misto, whereas my wife chose only the salad with black truffles. She soon realized her mistake and I spent much of the course defending my plate! It was so good I forgot to snap a picture before digging in.

                            I have had carne cruda many times by now, and this was the finest. Not as elaborate in the manner of La Torre, but the meat itself had almost the consistency of butter, and it practically melted in my mouth. You can see in the picture how generous they were with the black truffles on the salad. And the stuffed pepper was too die for-I am not sure what I liked more, the stuffing or the pepper which was so sweet. But the highlight was the cold chicken and tomatoes pickled in Moscato vinaigrette.

                            Primi was next. My wife ordered the tajarin with mushrooms, I went with the plin. The woman serving the plin had a large serving tray and kept spooning those beautifully cut pasta onto my plate watching for me to signal when to stop. I never did. Look at the picture. We (my wife helped) ate every single one without regret and I can honestly say it was the best pasta I have ever had.

                            I almost forgot: the wine! After perusing their extensive wine list, I ordered the 2007 Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda, but was told they were out, so they served us the 2001 instead for the same price. The Massolino paired well with the pasta, but those Serralunga tannins were a perfect match for my secondi: Veal shoulder roasted in Barbera with perfectly cooked carrots and zucchini. By far, the best secondi we had on the trip. I must say it was an impressive operation watching them roll out the meat cart and see all of the other choices, and my veal was so tender I could cut it with my fork.

                            Finally, dessert. The lack of a menu and my poor Italian resulted in my not completely understanding my order, but it had chocolate and hazelnuts with the consistency of a tiramisu. Karen had peaches in a glass of Prosecco. I have run out of superlatives--a perfect end to a perfect evening.

                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                            6 Replies
                            1. re: henjef85

                              Jeff,

                              That photo of the flowers and the terrain behind is simply stunning. Guess Karen must have taken it:)

                              You're absolutely right about our favorite place in Piemonte. Bardon is special, from the incredible wine list (and so reasonably priced), to our favorite plin and favorite carne cruda (for those of you who go in October and November, the brothers will shave truffles on it if you'd like) and the carrello of roasts. It is a very simple, very comfortable trattoria, buried deep in the countryside, with folks who not only really care about the food that comes out of the kitchen, but couldn't be nicer in terms of providing wonderful casual, but professional, service to the people who come.

                              Jeff captured the places very well and those photos of the food for all the trattorias and restaurants, not only Bardon, really bring the places to life. The only thing left is to go.

                              1. re: allende

                                We went to Bardon last night. I was terrified we'd get lost, but our couple of wrong turns were corrected quickly and the navigation on my iPhone was pretty good from our middle-of-nowhere agriturismo to the similarly sited restaurant. Exactly 40 minutes, as Allende had predicted. It started pouring soon after we took to the road, so there was no outdoor dining till quite late. Everyone was packed tightly into the enclosed area outside the main restaurant (there must be a term for this), not the dining room. The scene the evening of Aug 15 (major holiday) was less than ideal, with many families of many nationalities (we are such misanthropes) and an atmosphere of all the personnel bravely smiling and doing their utmost to make this one last push. It's clearly going on our list for the next time we go in fall or spring. The circumstances didn't permit that wonderful engagement and complicity that makes Italian meals so memorable.

                                Still, it was great and, not for the first time, I am obliged to Allende. The ravioli al plin were beyond belief. Plin is a Piedmontese word for "pinch" and refers to how the ravioli (sometimes called agnolotti) are closed. They are shaped sort of like little bags of filling, not like the more common flat square or semicircular ravioli, and are characteristically small, maybe like a large marble. At Bardon the pasta was so thin and delicate it practically disappeared so the dish became all about the meat filling. Franco had them with meat sauce and I with butter and sage. Mine were better, though he was loyal to his. Meat filling and meat sauce are not by the book, and I now see why, but the simple butter sauce highlights the flavor of the filling.

                                Tonight we're going to Boves, near Cuneo, to Franco's favorite agriturismo, Locanda del Re, where the agricultural activity is the farming of snails.

                                  1. re: mbfant

                                    2nd the plin at Bardon, and your observation that a simple sauce highlights, rather than distracts, from the filling.

                                1. re: henjef85

                                  Can't wait to go here, more than once!