Monday, June 1, 2009

Best Meal in Barolo

A few weeks ago we were in Barolo, Italy and enjoyed a fabulous meal at a restaurant called La Cantinetta. The food was great and the service fun and relaxed. Here are a few photos from that evening.

La Cantinetta on Via Roma 33, Barolo Italy
We ordered the antipasti tasting which happened to be five courses of starters. We expected a lot of local cured meats and pickled veggies - we were very pleasantly surprised that was not the case!
The first course or amuse bouche was a very thin slice of local salami and small blini sized frittata of greens - crispy on the outside yet tender and with great flavor.

We didn't think to photograph the dishes until the next course arrived - a rabbit mousse with caramelized red onions and toasted brioche. OMG! Heavenly, and for those of you squeemish about rabbit just think of it as a chicken with fur. It was amazing - creamy, savory, sweet and crunchy!

The next course was delicious vitello tonnato. Have always shied away from this dish thinking it was too strange a pairing. Well I was wrong. A tender, perfectly roasted slice of veal with a tuna and caper sauce. We had to have seconds, hence the dirty plate in the picture!

That was followed by a famous raviolo filled with verdura (chopped mixed greens), a soft egg yolk and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and browned butter. Amazing that such simple and pure flavors could be so response provoking. The mmm's and oh my's kept flying out of our mouths as we devoured this delicacy.

To bring it to the next level they offered a crispy asparagus tart with a fonduta sauce. It's hard to describe how perfectly crisp and yet light the pastry shell was on this dish. The cheesy sauce was a perfect smooth and silky accompaniment to the crisp and tender asparagus in the tart.


To amaze one even further a dish of spinach gnocci with gorgonzola sauce was beyond description. Surely we will never have gnocci this light and tender without it being at all wet as most gnocci tend to be. We had braced ourselves for knock your head off gorgonzola flavor only to find that the chef used a slight hand with such a potentially overwhelming cheese.

A dish of the local classic - ravioli al plin - were tasty but woefully inadequte next to that masterpiece of spinach gnocci. Regardless of the tastier dish on the table, all the ravioli al plin were consumed!

We had no room for dessert and missed what appeared to be a delicious mixed berry tart that we saw them shaping in the pan just as we were arriving.

We can't wait to return to the area in the future and experience another wonderful meal here.