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    Switzerland and Piemonte

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  1. Yeah, it sort of ruins you for anything else. This preparation is something I was first exposed to at Café della Fontana in Murisengo. Every Monday Murisengo has a street market and one of the vendors always brings his lardo which is pretty well known in the village..... local hazelnuts are rather smallish and very sweet... and the chestnut honey, well it is very hard to describe, you just have to taste that for yourself when you come to Zanco.... we have a beekeeper in the village that always has a supply. PS: Murisengo is also noteworthy because it is the birth-place of Luigi Lavazza
  2. Swiss Züpfe This bread is traditionally baked on Friday and is supposed to last over the weekend but rarely lasts that long because everyone devours it. Ingredients 500 gr. of bread flour 1 package of dry yeast 1.5 teaspoons of salt .5 teaspoon of sugar 75 gr. melted butter 1 egg yolk 1 cup of milk 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk and a pinch of salt for the glaze Preparation: Mix flour and salt in a bowl, add yeast sugar, butter, egg yolk and milk, knead until soft (15 minutes by hand or 8 minutes in a machine) Cover and let rise one hour until size has doubled. Cut dough into two equal size pieces. Braid as shown below. Step 1: Roll out 2 strings of dough... Cross them... Cross one over the other... then again... ...and again... Keep crossing and building it higher... ...and higher... until you run out of dough then roll it over on it's side, strech it out a bit and tuck under the ends. Put on a cookie sheet and brush with water and let rise one hour. Before baking brush it with a beaten egg yolk mixed with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of milk. Bake for 40 minutes in the lower part of a preheated oven (200° C) Allow to completely cook before slicing.
  3. We had a blind Ruché tasting the other day, there were 18 people, we each brought one bottle and here are the results: 1. Pro Novis Saint Agata 2006 €13.50 2. Massimo Marengo 2007 €7.95 3. Luca Ferraris 2007 €6.59 4. Montalbera 2007 € 6.99 5. Crivelli 2007 €9.00 6. Cantina Sociale Castagnole 2005 7. Saint Agata 9.99 2007 €7.99 8. Cascina Terra Felice 2007 €7.00 9. Bava Casa Brina 2005 €7.99 10. Scarpa Bricco Rosa 2005 €21.00 11. Bava Casa Brina 2005 €7.99 12. Tenuta dei Re 2006 €7.00 13. Cascina Tavijn 2005 €8.00 14. Cantina Sociale de Portocomaro 2007 €7.00 15. Terra de Roggeri 2007 €7.00 (this wine won 1st place in the Douja d’Or) 16. Tennuta Ca di Corte 2007 €7.50 17. Cantina Sociale Castagnole 2007 €6.00 18. Cantina Sociale Castagnole (vintage unknown, bought bulk for 4 euros a liter and bottled at home) Some more pictures from the tasting: Fellow eGulleter Tim (Sampaguita) giving us a taste in his celler... Some of the guests... Yours truly...
  4. Is this a preparation you've seen before, SWISS_CHEF? I feel like I've had veal with a hazelnut sauce before. But the veal was raw and there were also anchovies in the sauce. It was, I should also say, delicious. But I imagine far from traditional. ← I have not run across this exact preparation before but hazelnuts are often added to dishes here because they grow prolifically in this region. One presentation I particularly like is roasted hazelnuts sprinkled on a plate of thinly sliced lardo then drizzled with chestnut honey and served with a foccia made of pizza dough fried in olive oil and dusted with salt and fresh rosemary.
  5. Not during the week. I think they require reservations on Sunday. Cocconato is a rather vogue little town which tends to fill up with rich Turinese on the weekends. It is nick-named the "Monferrato Riviera".
  6. Cascina Rosengana is a lovingly restored farm that has been converted into a restaurant and B&B. The food is locally grown and organic and all of a very high quality. Our waiter was Massimo and I suspect one of the owners. He spoke English well and was warm and welcoming. The dishes were presented without fuss or pretention and the whole experience was a delight. The full menu with all the dishes listed below, grappa and coffee was €24 per person. Our wine was Massimo's own: Barbera d’Asti Maciot “465” € 6.90/bottle. Antipasti: Salami crudo & cotto. (No picture) Crispy parmesan cannolli filled with a goat’s cheese mousse. Spinach quiche with cheese. Carpaccio with a creamy gorgonzola sauce. FYI: Carne Cruda Monferrina means ground or chopped raw meat (like tartar) And Carne Cruda “Albese” means slices raw meat (like carpaccio) Primi: Agnolotti plin with sage and butter. Tajarin with ground veal sauce. Secondi: Vitello con salsa nocciola. Roasted Guinea hen with its sauce. Fried potatoes and spinach was served with the meats. Dolce: Bavarian cream with moscato raisins. Hazelnut torte with a thick cream sauce. Chocolate torte with a thick cream sauce. Our grappas and coffee were included in the price of the meal. Cascina Rosengana Via Liprandi 50 14023 Cocconato Italy Tel.: +39 0141907857 Fax: +39 0141907914 Webpage Google map GPS: 45.0830724, 8.0573741
  7. Funny you mention this... we have living in and exploring North Western Italy for nearly 5 years now and we have made the 40 minute drive to Alba only a hand-full of times (at best) and in the last two years, only once. Alba is ok but certainly not head and shoulders ahead of scores of other beautiful villages that have their own charm. In fact, when you consider the tourist crowds, I think Alba becomes a bit annoying, especially during festivals. But tourists will always tend to be like sheep...
  8. We have been continuing our string of fine dining and the latest restaurant on our hit-list was Cascina Martini in Coteranzo where Gianluigi Giachino bends the traditional Piemontese ingredients into stylish and fresh new creations. Amazingly there were only six covers (including us) the Thursday night we were there. The restaurant decor is what I would call sophisticated Italian country and a great deal of attention is paid on all levels without becoming fussy or pretentious. Amuse bouche: a frito misto of assorted fried things: cod balls, aubergine cubes and asparagus, accompanied by an herb frittata and thick sliced of salami. There was a 40 Euro tasting menu but we had all been spending too much time at the dinner tables over this Easter weekend so we decided to just have a starter and a main course. In retrospect I think this was a mistake and we should have ordered the tasting menu but that is how it goes, sometimes you just can't go that extra mile. We all ordered the delicious duck breast salad and we all very happy we did. Melanie ordered a orozotto made with whole wheat orzo, fresh peas and cream. It was superb. Our friends ordered the rabbit with tajarin pasta. I didn't try theirs but it smelled fantastic and sent their eyes rolling back. I ordered boccatini of veal which turned out to be large chunks of veal in two sauces and was delicious and delicate. Dessert was a grappa for me and Melanie had a 67% dark chocolate souffle with a soft gooey center. It was perfect. I only had one criticism, the frito appetizer should have been fried in fresh oil. It wasn't off-putting but it prevented the meal from being perfect. We certainly will return to try the tasting menu. Ristorante CASCINA MARTINI Via Gianoli, 15 15030 Murisengo Fraz.Corteranzo (AL) Tel:0141.693015 Fax:0141.693015 cascinamartini@cascinamartini.com http://www.cascinamartini.com Closed on Monday - dinner only - lunch by appointment Their home page is a bit difficult to navigate but there is a really nice blog entry with lots of good pictures here: http://www.altissimoceto.it/2008/08/21/ris...luigi-giachino/
  9. Pasquetta is the day after Easter when most Italians in our area head for the country side and have a picnic and barbecue but we were short on time and decided to visit Lanterna Blu in Gaminella. Since we had stuffed at the Canon d'Oro the day before we decided to give the frito misto a miss but we ate everything else. The place was packed with jovial locals, the food was just as good as the Canon d'Oro and the service was very friendly. Antipasti: A soft cheese spiral rolled in prosciutto cotto A puff choux filled with Montemagno mousse Cotechino Insalata de carne cruda Parmigiano flan Asparagus terrine Pastry nests with fonduta and a fried quail egg Branzino in a puff pastry shell Primi: Veal lasagna Mushroom risotto Secondo: Big platters of Frito misto were offered but we gave it a miss. Dolce: Pistachio cake Bunet Pineapple cake 2 bottles of Barbera Monferrato (vivace) 1 bottle of Malvasia 1 bottle of sparkling brut 30 Euros per person all inclusive (it would have been 5 euros higher if we had eaten the frito misto). http://www.ristorantelanternablu.it/default_eng.htm Lanterna Blu Frazione Gaminella 15020 Mombello AL info@ristorantelanternablu.it Tel: 0142 944120 Fax: 0142 944120
  10. We had Easter lunch at Canon d'Oro in Cocconato yesterday. It was my first time at this restaurant and we had a great time. Food quality was very high and service was very friendly and presented table-side. The courses were as follows: Antipasti: - Liver paté with toast points and a tiny salad - Castelmagno cheese mousse sandwiched between dried apples - Insalata de carne cruda with parmigiano and celery slivers - A tiny salad with a sliver goat cheese wrapped in Bresaola - Artichoke flan - Asparagus with fonduta Primi: - Agnolotti in broth - Risotto Parmigiano - Tajarin with vegetable sauce Secondi: - Guinea hen with Carrots - Bolito (cotechino, testa, lingua, reale) - Roast leg of lamb - Veal roast Dolce: - Vanilla gelato - Bunet - Fresh fruit - Lemon torte Wines: 1 bottle of Bava Cortese. 3 bottles of very nice 13.5 % house Barbera 1 bottle of Malvasia 1 bottle of a spumante brut Bosso grappa (open bottle on the table) Note you can eat every course there is no "or" in this list The total was 48 Euros per person, all inclusive. http://www.cannondoro.it/ "Cannon d'Oro" Hotel - Restaurant Piazza Cavour, 21 14023 Cocconato (Asti) Italy e-mail: cannondoro@cannondoro.it Tel. +390141.907794 Fax +390141.907024 Closed on Monday and Tuesday
  11. Yes lots of pictures and it looks like they had a really good time! It is particularly exciting that he shot pictures of the raw veal sausage. In my area it is made of pork and I have been serving this to unsuspecting visitors for several years now. It is fantastic stuff!
  12. We had lunch today at Piola & Crota and I am very sorry to say I have to revise my evaluation. We have eaten there three times and all three times we have ordered the lunch special. The first time we received 2 glasses each of a very nice barolo and coffee, all were included. The second time we got charged 2 euros a glass for the second glasses of wine but the coffee and water were still included. Today we were charged 4 euros each for the second glass of a rather less interesting wine and because my wife ordered a cappuccino (as she did all of the other times) she was charged €2.50 for it. Food quality has also dropped (I didn't see the lady chef in the kitchen) and there was only one other diner in the restaurant on what should have been a busy Friday afternoon lunch. The restaurant around the corner was buzzing. Piola & Crota feels like a restaurant that will probably be closed in the next few months.
  13. LOL! Fewer crumbs. Less tearing? Cleaner looking pieces? OMG! In that case use an electric slicer the will be even more perfect!
  14. I collect antique copper pots and vintage knives. I would stay with them and burn.
  15. I have been living in Piemonte for three years and I know Alba well and I would rather take you north of Asti to Basso Monferrato which is less crowded and less expensive than the Langhe, and because there has been less growth and fewer modern buildings, our villages are better preserved. The countryside is a series of rolling hills planted with a mixture of crops, for example, from our 16th century church here in Zanco, we can see vineyards, lavender fields, sunflower fields, hazelnut groves, corn and wheat fields and various orchards. As a back-drop you have a fantastic 180° view of the Alps. Most of the local villages are perched on the hilltops and are virtually untouched by the last century. The food is (of course) fantastic here and the white truffles are famous and (by many) more coveted than those from Alba. Moncalvo, Montechiaro and Murisengo have lovely truffle fairs in the Fall and they are far less touristic than the one in Alba. Here are some my tips: B&B: Castello Razzano in Alfiano Natta: http://www.castellodirazzano.it/ A beautifully restored castle surrounded by vineyards. Heavenly and an ideal spot for a wedding. Restaurants: Oh where do I begin... here are a few to get you started: Cascina Martini in Corteranzo: http://www.cascinamartini.com/ Ristorante LA BRAJA http://www.labraja.it Le Corte in Odalengo Grande: http://www.osterialecorte.it/ I am happy to answer more specific questions, just PM me.
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