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Aug 17, 2014 04:37 PM

Piemonte help for first timers - Sept 14

Hello all. I have been obsessively reading all Piemonte threads for the last few months (especially those of allende and the recent very detailed posts from henjef85) as my husband and I will be in the region for 3 short nights next month. Here are some important details of our trip.

- We will be there Sunday evening through Wednesday morning
- We will not have access to a car until Monday morning
- We will be visiting Castello di Grinzane Enoteca and GD Vajra on Monday

I know I would like to dine at Balbo da Bardon one night during the stay. This will probably end up being on Tuesday. This leaves lunch and dinner on Monday and lunch on Tuesday open. I'd like to do Monday lunch in the Barolo area (La Morra, Annunziata, Serralunga d'Alba, etc) since we will be around there for winery visits.

1. Is anything decent open for Sunday dinner in Alba since we will not have a car yet?
2. Is there a lunchtime favorite (perhaps with a view) in the Barolo area? Cascina Schiavenza, Guido Ristorante, Osteria Veglio, Trattoria La Coccinella and La Torre are on the short list, but I am open to any and all suggestions.

I'm sure I will have more questions as the trip nears and I have more details. I appreciate any help you all can provide. Thanks!

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  1. Veglio has a great view from the terrace if it is warm enough to sit outside at lunch. So does Schiavenza from its terrace; again, if it is warm enough to serve outside. We didn't like Schiavenza when we went, but there are people on this board whom I respect who do like it, so take your pick. Guido, Coccinella and Torre do not have a view.

    Bardon is great at lunch, for us, even more so than dinner. It is very relaxed (in some cases, we for example, people sitting for three plus hours, eating and drinking and then taking a leisurely walk on the deserted country roads right there) and has an interesting mix of people. Usually some locals, business people, a few uncles with their very young pretty nieces (amazing how many Italian uncles take their very young pretty nieces out to lunch), perhaps a few foreigners... an interesting mix. There is no skimping on the menu... it is a full menu, the same as at dinner. And if it is warm enough, you can eat on the delightful terrace (no view).

    8 Replies
    1. re: allende

      Thanks for your thoughts, allende. Without your previous posts, I would be completely lost.

      I will try to shuffle things around to get to Bardon for lunch, but we may only have time to drive out that way for dinner. That's what I get for only scheduling 2 full days in the region. I am perfectly happy without a view as long as the atmosphere is, as you describe, delightful.

      Do you have any suggestions near Monforte d'Alba or Vergne? Thanks again!

      1. re: themandy

        As mentioned many times before on this board, we've never thought the restaurants, that others like in Monforte d'Alba, were anything special.

        Near Monforte (or Vergne) are three of the ones I keep mentioning as among our favorites. La Torre in Cherasco is 20 minutes away; La Coccinella is 20; Veglio is 15. It doesn't get much easier than that to get to places. Even Priocca is only half an hour.

        Monforte is a nice town to use as a base for its accessibility to very good trattorie and ristorante.

      2. re: allende

        Hi Allende - +1 to the previous comments. Your posts have been beyond helpful in planning Piemonte. I believe you had recommended Rocche Costamagna in La Morra right? It was one of the places I wanted to stay for my upcoming trip. Would you say getting around the Langhe/Monferrato is easy from there? There are so many threads on Asti vs Alba and which is best for a base so just wanted to get your thoughts on that. Thanks!

        1. re: allende


          I apologize if this has been asked and answered before, but I was unable to find the answer. How much in advance do you recommend for reservations at Bardon? Is three weeks too early? Thanks!

          1. re: themandy

            I imagine the day of the week is a factor, but we made reservations one week in advance for a Saturday night in July .

              1. re: allende

                Thank you both. Reservation has been made!

            1. re: allende

              Due to a possible Trenitalia strike on the day we were traveling to Piemonte, we have completely changed plans. There will now be 5 nights (Friday-Wednesday) in the area instead of only 3. We will also have access to a rental car for all 5 nights, so we are not stuck in Alba trying desperately to find something worth eating. I've booked us at an agriturismo (Fratelli Revello) in Annunziata instead.

              Luckily, this means that there will now be room for a lunch, rather than dinner, at Bardon. This makes my husband very happy as we won't have to navigate the drive back to the room in the dark. I am also looking forward to your recommended after lunch stroll, weather permitting. Is there a difference in atmosphere on Saturday or Sunday lunch?

              We will be within walking distance of Osteria Veglio, so I am looking forward to fitting that in, too. You seem to be very familiar with La Morra. Do you have any favorite places for coffee or lighter meals in the area? I'm sure we won't be wanting a large dinner after lunch at Bardon.


            2. As a former first timer to Piemonte, I would definitely go to Veglio in Annunziata for lunch if you want to eat near Barolo. If you happen to be near Serralunga and are hungry, don't miss Centro Storico at the foot of the castle. It is very informal, but it is open all afternoon, Alessio Cighetti has a great wine list with an emphasis on Champagne and his wife and mother-in-law do a nice job in cooking all of the Piemonte classics.

              7 Replies
              1. re: henjef85

                I saw that you mentioned La Vite Turchese in another thread. That was on my radar as a possible light lunch spot in between winery appointments on the day that we eat dinner at Bardon. Do you have any thoughts on their food? They seem to be popular with reviewers on another site, which isn't always a positive thing. Thanks!

                1. re: themandy

                  Stefano and Elisabetta Moiso are young, engaging and passionate about wine and food. And to repeat, this is the best enoteca we visited. But the lunch would be of the snacks and appetizers variety; charcuterie, cheese, roasted hazelnuts, etc. High quality, but light.

                  1. re: henjef85

                    You had me at roasted hazelnuts. That sounds like a lovely lunch. I'd love to do Veglio, but it's tough for me to do two big meals in one day. I don't want to overdo it at lunch before dinner at Bardon. Perhaps I'll save it for the next day.

                    1. re: themandy

                      @ jessicablock,

                      Glad to have been of help.

                      Rocche Costamagna is a great place to stay. We've stayed there many times. Very nice rooms. Wonderful location. Lovely people who run the place. La Morra is a very good base. Full disclosure: the owner of Costamagna is a good friend.

                      Our apartment is in La Morra. Getting around The Langhe is easy. For many years we used to stay near Asti. For the last ten or so we've come to prefer staying in The Langhe.

                      1. re: allende

                        How nice! Yes, it looks perfect - exactly what we are looking for. The other places we were considering were Agriturismo Rizieri and Villa Beccaris but we were heavily leaning towards Costamagna so thank you for your feedback and recommendation.

                        1. re: jessicablock

                          @ the mandy

                          On foot, if you make a right at the bottom of the driveway at Bardon and walk perhaps 50 yards on the road, you'll come to a road on the right. It is unmarked, but is the road to San Marzano Oliveto. It a small road, almost no cars, and it meanders through the vines on either side, with a house or two periodically. We use it all the time after lunch.

                          There is usually a big difference between Saturday and Sunday lunch at Bardon. Saturday is more quiet, and Sunday, as generally is the case in an Italian trattoria, there are many more families and extended families. For a Sunday lunch, I'd go to Priocca or La Coccinella rather than Bardon.

                          I'm pretty sure Osteria Veglio is open on Sunday evening.

                          La Morra: For lighter meals we like More e Macine, and Mange'. At both places you only have to order one course if that's all you want. Both have good wine lists and lots of wines by the glass. For coffee, there are two places we like. In no special order. With More e Macine on your right, walk past it and 25 yards, again on your right, is a bar (don't know the name). The second is the old Bar Italia. With your back to the big church, walk down the cobblestone street. About 20 yards down on the left is a much smaller church (not used anymore) and just beyond that is Bar Italia.

                          Hope this helps. Please report back after your trip. It will benefit everyone who reads this board to have other points of view.

                          1. re: allende

                            Fantastic information as always, allende. I look forward to trying out as many of your recommendations as I can.

                            I will, of course, provide a trip report after I am back home. This board has been a great resource for me, and I'd love to give back.