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Posts posted by SWISS_CHEF

  1. Now you're talking.

    Yeah, it sort of ruins you for anything else. :rolleyes:

    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.


    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


    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. gallery_25747_6628_143492.jpg

    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. gallery_25747_6623_7789.jpg

    Vitello con salsa nocciola.

    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. gallery_25747_6623_18582.jpg

    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.


    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)



    Agnolotti plin with sage and butter.


    Tajarin with ground veal sauce.



    Vitello con salsa nocciola.


    Roasted Guinea hen with its sauce.


    Fried potatoes and spinach was served with the meats.



    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


    Tel.: +39 0141907857

    Fax: +39 0141907914


    Google map

    GPS: 45.0830724, 8.0573741

  6. 1. Only an Albanese would describe Alba as the centre of the universe. The whole zone is the centre, Alba is a neat town, but not the end all and above all. We Astigianao are sniffy as we have been beating them up for centuries (similar to Florence and Sienna).

    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...

  7. 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)





    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/

  8. 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.


    A soft cheese spiral rolled in prosciutto cotto

    A puff choux filled with Montemagno mousse


    Insalata de carne cruda

    Parmigiano flan

    Asparagus terrine

    Pastry nests with fonduta and a fried quail egg

    Branzino in a puff pastry shell


    Veal lasagna

    Mushroom risotto


    Big platters of Frito misto were offered but we gave it a miss.


    Pistachio cake


    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).


    Lanterna Blu

    Frazione Gaminella

    15020 Mombello AL


    Tel: 0142 944120

    Fax: 0142 944120

  9. 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:


    - 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


    - Agnolotti in broth

    - Risotto Parmigiano

    - Tajarin with vegetable sauce


    - Guinea hen with Carrots

    - Bolito (cotechino, testa, lingua, reale)

    - Roast leg of lamb

    - Veal roast


    - Vanilla gelato

    - Bunet

    - Fresh fruit

    - Lemon torte


    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.


    "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

  10. 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!

  11. By the way, we have discovered a new jewel in the Asti restaurant crown: Piola & Crota http://www.piolaecrota.it/ that has a great 12 euro lunch, with wine included! Very elegant place and a top-drawer female chef to boot. It was formerly known as Barolo and Co.

    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.

  12. Am I the only person who thinks a decently sharpened regular chef's knife does a better job of cutting bread than a serrated knife? Fewer crumbs, less tearing, cleaner-looking slices. I'm not a gifted sharpener of knives. I don't have Takeda knives sharpened to 7-degree angles. I just have regular, decently sharp Euro knives (Wusthof, Sabatier et al.). But I find they consistently do a better job slicing bread than my serrated knives.

    LOL! Fewer crumbs. Less tearing? Cleaner looking pieces? OMG! In that case use an electric slicer the will be even more perfect!

  13. 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:


    Castello Razzano in Alfiano Natta: http://www.castellodirazzano.it/ A beautifully restored castle surrounded by vineyards. Heavenly and an ideal spot for a wedding.


    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.

  14. Hey, gang.... sorry I've been AWOL so long. And especially sorry that my first post back is more bad news.

    Dennis Kaniger's Noodle Shop on 59th transformed into a mortgage company overnight a few weeks ago.

    What a drag. I really miss the glory days at Venue. Here is a picture of me when I was cooking there in 1992..


  15. I lived on the road for several years. Cooks don't thrive in hotel rooms eating delivered pizza so I bought a hotplate, a pan, a wooden spoon, a good quality 8 inch chefs knife and a plastic cutting board. It is amazing what you can do with these 5 things and a little imagination.

  16. Sorry I missed this post until today. Here is a list of notable restaurants in our area.

    In my village of Zanco:

    Ristorante DA MARIA

    Via Roma 131, Zanco di Villadeati

    Cap. 15020 Villadeati

    Tel. 0141/902035

    e-mail fanselmo@libero.it

    I really recommend:

    Cascina Martini: http://www.cascinamartini.com/

    Le Corte: http://www.osterialecorte.it/

    Other notable restaurants near Zanco:

    Per Bacco: http://osteriaperbacco.it/

    Tuais: http://www.tuais.com/index.htm

    Aibinari: http://www.barbera.it/pages/osteriaaibinari.htm

    Locanda Martelletti: http://www.locandamartelletti.it/



    (Thursday closed) – Via Giobert 8 - Asti

    Tel. 0141/354905 – Fax 0141/324586

    da € 25,00 vini esclusi

    coperti 70

    Ristorante BAROLO & CO – PIUMA D’ORO (recommended)

    (Monday closed) – Via Cesare Battisti 14 - Asti

    Tel/Fax 0141/592059

    € 20,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    coperti 40

    Ristorante FALCON VECCHIO

    (Sunday evening closed and Monday for lunch closed)

    Via Mameli, 11 – Asti

    Tel. 0141/593106 - Fax 0141/34373


    € 25,00/40,00

    Coperti 60 (+ 20 dehors)

    Ristorante GENER NEUV (recommended)

    (Sunday evening closed and Monday)

    Lungotanaro Pescatori 4 – Asti

    Tel. 0141/557270 - Fax 0141/436723



    € 30,00/60,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 63 (+ 40 dehors)


    (chiuso domenica escluso manifestazioni)

    Via Giuliani 4 – Asti

    Tel./Fax 0141/594188



    € 20,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 55

    Ristorante IL FLAUTO MAGICO

    (sempre aperto)

    Piazza Alfieri 5 – Asti

    Tel. 0141/532279 - Fax 0141/356470



    € 14,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 400

    Ristorante L’ANGOLO DEL BEATO

    (Sunday closed)

    Via Guttuari, 12 – Asti

    Tel/Fax 0141/531668



    € 30,00/50,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 35

    Ristorante L’ARMANGIA

    (Sunday closed)

    Via Lamarmora 14 - Asti

    Tel. 0141/31744

    € 12,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 45

    Ristorante LA GROTTA

    (Monday evening closed and Tuesday)

    Corso Torino 366 - Asti

    Tel. 0141/214168 - Fax 0141/410688

    € 21,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 80


    (Sunday closed,Saturday for lunc closedh)

    Corso Alfieri 36 – Asti



    Tel./Fax 0141/556740

    € 20,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 40

    Ristorante MORO

    (Monday closed)

    Lungotanaro Pescatori 12 - Asti

    Tel. 0141/592513 - Fax 0141/532686

    € 15,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 150 (+150 dehors)

    Ristorante Brasserie POMPA MAGNA (recommended)

    (Monday closed)

    Via Aliberti 65 – Asti

    Tel. 0141/324402

    Fax 0141/323252


    € 8,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 70


    (Monday and Tuesday closed– opening only for evening)

    P.zza S.Martino, 6 – Asti

    Tel. 0141/30221 - Fax 0141/667592

    Cell. 3394286857

    € 18,00/22,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 40 (+ 20 dehors)

    Ristorante Vineria TACABANDA (recommended)

    (Monday closed)

    Via Al Teatro, 5 – Asti

    Tel/Fax 0141/539399

    La compagniadelgusto@libero.it

    € 10,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 35 (+ 25 dehors)


    Ristorante IL CAMPANARO

    (Wednesday closed)

    Reg. Perno 76

    Tel. 0141/204009 - Fax 0141/204114



    € 25,00/35,00 vini inclusi

    Coperti 30 (+ 55 dehors)

    Ristorante DEL CASOT

    (Monday evening closed and tuesday closed)

    S.S.83 –Tel/Fax 0141/204118


    € 15,00/40,00 vini inclusi


    (Monday and Tuesday closed)

    P.zza Castello 1

    Tel. 0141/204115 - Fax 0141/405233

    € 33,00/38,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 65 (+ 60 dehors)

    Osteria L’ERMITE (recommended)

    (Sunday evening closed, Monday closed)

    Piazza Mazzini 8

    Tel/Fax 0141/204276

    € 25,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 20


    Ristorante LA FIORAIA

    (Monday closed)

    Via Mondo 26

    Tel. 0141/401106 - Fax 0141/401597


    € 35,00/60,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 50


    Trattoria IL CUNICOLO

    (chiuso dal lunedì al giovedì)

    Piazza Mazzini 8

    Tel/Fax 0141/204276

    € 20,00/25,00


    Ristorante AMETISTA

    (Wednesday closed)

    Piazza Antico Castello 15

    Tel. 0141/917423

    € 20,00/35,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 40-45


    (Monday closed)

    Strada Casale 15

    Tel. 0141/921421 - Fax 0141/921463



    € 45,00/50,00

    Coperti 80

    Ristorante CENTRALE

    (Sunday evening closed, Monday closed)

    Piazza Romita 10

    Tel./Fax 0141/917126

    € 25,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 100

    Ristorante OSTERIA ALERAMO

    (Monday closed and lunch Tuesday )

    Piazza Carlo Alberto 19

    Tel./fax 0141/921344

    € 25,00/40,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 45 (+ 20 dehors)

    Ristorante TRE RE

    (Monday evening closed, Tuesday closed)

    P.zza Romita 3

    Tel. 0141/917125

    € 27,00/40,00

    Coperti 60


    Trattoria TRE COLLI (OK but not great)

    (Wednesday closed)

    Piazza del Mercato 5

    Tel.0141/901027 - Fax 0141/999987



    € 15,00/35,00 vini inclusi

    Coperti 100 (+ 40 dehors)


    Ristorante LA BRAJA (great fish)

    (Monday and Tuesday closed)

    Via S. Giovanni Bosco 11

    Tel. 0141/653925 - Fax 0141/63605



    € 38,00/65,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 60 (+ 35 dehors)


    L'Agriturismo Cascina Madonna (recommended)

    via Alessandria 55 Refrancore d'Asti - 0141 67456

    Tel: 0141 67456

    € 20,00/30,00 vini esclusi




    (Monday closed)

    Piazza Marconi 16

    Tel. 0141/202666

    € 20,00/30,00 vini esclusi

    Coperti 40


    Ristorante CA' DUBINI

    Via Roma, 34

    15020 Mombello Monferrato (AL)

    Tel. +39.0142944116 - Fax +39.0142944928

  17. hey wait, i was just and ate at a awfully awfully expensive italian restaurant here in town that boasted "alba truffle risotto". i was slightly suspicious because a) they werent all that pungent at all and b) they were BLACK truffles... are there even black truffles coming from alba? im guessing this restaurant is just ripping ppl off then?

    Did they shave the fresh truffle over the dish or did it come out with the bits already cooked in the rice? White truffles aren't actually white, they are brown. Either way, if they shaved fresh white truffles over your risotto everyone in the restaurant would know it. It is almost like someone dropped bottle of perfume. I left a white truffle the size of your thumb nail in my car for an hour with the windows up and we had to wait a few minutes before getting in, the smell was so over powering.

  18. I have been on a sformato binge lately. I have done all the usual, like artichoke, asparagus, fennel, carrot, cardoon, red pepper, spinach etc. but on Christmas Eve we are invited to go to some friend's house and I must bring something vegetarian along for a pot-luck dinner so I am looking around for some unusual combinations.

    If you come up with something really interesting and I will make it, photograph it and post it here...

    (If you don't already know: a sformato is basically just a savory flan)

  19. So chef - seeing as a I have a Perigord black truffle sitting next to me at my work desk - and this is something that doesn't happen very often - do you mind elaborating on the results?(which presumably show the ramekin that got truffled pre-cooking doing much better)

    Also, would a third ramkin where you grate some truffle in and let it sit for 25 minutes do even better flavor wise?

    I doubt letting the truffle sit an extra 25 minutes would make much difference to the cooked version but who knows, experiment and give us your results.

  20. I live in one of the most expensive towns in Italy with regard to real estate. The very good trattorie within a 30 km. radius are still reasonably priced and have certainly not doubled in price (real terms) since the Euro replaced the lira.

    Hmm, this is what all my Italian friends are telling me over and over again about our area of the Piemonte. (we have only been in the region for 3 years) In the last year alone we have seen some big jumps of 10-20% in prices. Perhaps we are unique.

    One thing is for sure, the locals can't afford the more expensive restaurants and except for Sundays it can get pretty quiet in any place charging more than 20 euros a plate. Pizza and Chinese restaurants are doing well because the offer the best value for money.

    On a positive note, we ate a great 5 euro lunch at the restaurant over the Bar Ligure in Asti (one large plate of tortellini with prosciutto and cream). This was not possible two years ago, so perhaps the current economic situation is beginning to soak in.

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