La Cantinetta was recommended to me by a friend I met some time ago through my blog, Giampiero, who works for a wine producer in Barolo called Mauro Sebaste, a boutique winery that produces around 100,000 bottles a year. As we entered the restaurant, I was a bit skeptical as the place was completely empty, and it was about 1 Pm, just about the time most Italian have lunch, but I decided to trust the recommendation of Giampiero, and good thing we decided to stay.
We decided to let Maurilio, the owner, to prepare a degustation for us for the appetizers. When he mentioned degustation, I thought that it would be the typical small plates, lots of design, creative stuff. Thank God I was completely wrong. He brought us a series of dishes, most of them he would serve directly in our plates, so basically we tried the whole menu of appetizers.
He served us first a typical Russian Salad (no pictures) which is a simple salad with vegetables mayonnaise and egg...very simple but a classic at least for me in in Spanish tapas bar. Next, we were served a Pate de Fegatini D'Anatra e Coniglio su Cipolle di Tropea Caramellate (a Pate de Foie/Rabbit with Caramelized Onions) served with Tonatto sauce, a sort of emulsion made with anchovies, Capers, Tuna, etc.. I have still no pictures of this since I was enjoying my meal too much. We enjoyed this with a fresh crisp Roero Arneis (their house white), a very typical white wine of this region and one of my favorites.
Now come the serious stuff..they served us: Pepperoni en Salsa Verde (Red Pepper, Pesto and a Quail Egg)..again a very simple dish which I continued to enjoy with the Roero Arneis. The pepper was somewhat Pickled and grilled and very sweet, a good contrast with the sort of pesto sauce.
Next, Leak Flan con Fondutta e Tartufi Bianco (a Flan made of Leaks, covered by melted Cheese and a teaser of White Truffles). A Very tasty flan made of leaks, strong Cheese and a few shavings of the coveted White Truffle, which is in season right now in Piemonte.
Then came the star of the Appetizers: Uovo in Pasta con Tartufo Bianco (Egg in Pasta with White Truffle). A simple big 'Ravioli' with egg Yolk inside, and a generous served of shaved White Truffles. As I proceeded to cut the Ravioli and take my first bite, the golden liquid of the egg yolk oozed out, a surprise for me since I forgot that the pasta had Egg..well a good surprise that is..
Following wit the theme of our lunch and on classic Regional Pairing, I asked for a 2003 Pio Cesare Barolo. The wine was all I expected from it, a typical classic Barolo, and a good match with our White Truffles.
Now on to the main course (Yes, what we had were just the appetizers) another classic Piemontese dish which I love: Carne Cruda (Steak Tartare)..I know I always have this but I just can't get enough of it..simple hand chopped meat, simply seasoned with Oil, Sal, Pepper and a dash of fresh Lemon Juice. This type of Tartare gives you a chance to taste the meat rather than the dressing that sometimes overpowers the taste of the meat.
The next and last two dishes we had were: Tortelli (small hand made Raviolis with beef) and Bocconcini di Cinghiale con Polenta (Wild Boar with Barbera wine Sauce and Polenta). The hand made pasta was great was served with a generous serving of Parmiggiano Reggiano and the wild Boar was superb, with a thick Sauce made of Barbera D'Alba wine, which gave this dish a very earthy feel.
Dessert was practically forced upon us, since we were very full from the huge meal that we just had, but how could we say no to Maurilio?? A selection of four classic desserts: Panna Cotta, Semi Freddo al Torrone, Flan and Brunet Tradizionale. The Panna Cotta was my favorite of the four, and a great way to end our meal.
This is a meal I will not forget in a long time. Thank you Giampiero for recommending this place and hope to be back there soon. Ciao !!