Wednesday, October 28, 2009

La Cantinetta de Maurilio, Barolo

Lunch this time was in one of my favorite areas in Italy: Piemonte. There are many towns in Piemonte (La Morra, Alba, Barolo, Barbaresco, etc...) and so far, I have been to two of them for spectacular meals: Alba and Barolo.

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 !!


Chinkee said...

Nakakainis na 'tong blog na 'to. Its just not fair...

Pinoylife said...

Just what I like. Food with intense flavours prepared to TASTE good not look pretty on the plate.

This restaurant is on my list for next time I'm in Italy.

Robert B

Noel said...

Nakakainis na 'tong blog na 'to.

Ha hah ahahaha! That's too funny, Chinkee. I can just imagine you thinking that in front of your monitor!


Totally agree.


Great post again as usual. See you soon, buddy.


Miguel said...

Chinks - Hahahaha thats so funny....but honestly I can't wait to get back home na.

Robert - You could not have said it better...

Noel thanks..see you soon

Chinkee said...

Hahahaha! I say its nakakainis but I still keep reading and looking at the SUPER ANNOYING pictures.;-P

My Hotel Life said...

I'm surprised you guys were still standing after that dinner

Miguel said...

George - it was lunch :) so we had time to burn all what we ate :)

Anonymous said...

Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!