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Everything posted by piedmont_phil

  1. Hi Sampi - yes we all ate every course (note the vegetarian, who may not have been charged for her mixed grilled veg "secondo"). I agree it sounds "standard" for round here, but it was all excellent and worthy of praise. How does it compare with our good friends Ivana and Caren at Non-Solo, well not as good, nor as ambient, but no where near the price, so worth ading to the good places to check out list.
  2. piedmont_phil

    Wine Bluffing

    we wer at a smith & wolensky wine thing in Chicago a few years ago and our good friend and guest (who is south african) tried to convince the visiting (US) experts he was a wine grower from SA. I would say bombed big time - but the tall tails were entertaining (or was that the excellent free flowing wines).
  3. Price question - I kid you not! We were very happy with the price - it is possible we paid in cash and received a "discount" - not uncommon for those of you who know Piedmont... I seem to recall we had two bottles of La Courte, so approx €55 of wine (I wonder if they failed to add the 2nd red) - but no we all ate - and expected to pay the GR average. The one vegetarian may have reduced the price slightly...
  4. Ah, sorry forgot prices. For all six of us including the wine - Euro 200. We thought this an absolute bargain.
  5. This was our first visit to Locanda del Boscogrande as it is located a little west of our usual haunts, but new friends have moved nearby so we decided to try. Here are our impressions. Impresive building and grounds located on top of a hill above Montegrosso d'Asti the restaurant seats about 40 and was full when our party of 6 arrived last Saturday night and we were glad we had reserved. Seating is such that it did not feel crowded or noisy. As is typical the only menu was the extensive wine list (we chose an Urscheler cortese alto monferrato and Chiarlo's "la court" barbera d'asti 2001), and the chef/owner came to the table to detail the nights offerings. Some English is spoken, but did not run to detailed explanations of the dishes so some dining Italian is recommended. One of party was vegetarian, which was easily communicated and presented no problems. My choices - Veal in tuna sauce - regional speciality and this was an excellent example, thinly sliced melt in the mouth veal and perfect consistency sauce matched the crisp fruity cortese perfectly. Gnocci - I don't know how they made it so light, but this was not the stodgy, filling dish that one sometimes gets, delecate flavour and consistency and a serving size that was just right and leaving me looking forwards to the secondo... Chingalli - again speciality of the area I love wild boar and this was a tender and succulent example, the strong flavours complimented by the rich barbera d'asti superiore. Torone semi-fredo - cleansed the pallet and excited my sweet tooth all in one, I love this desert. Throughout the meal there was much sharing of dishes and exclamations of pleasure (but I have forgotten the detail of all the dishes), so I can report that everything was received well. Service was excellent (often not the case in Piedmont when a retaurant gets busy) but unobtrusive. Ambience was good but we thought the room a little modern for the context of Piemonte countryside. Highly recommended, a little off the beaten path so check directions carefully.
  6. Read the article with interest (after reading this thread) - I enjoyed it for what it is but can see it is possible to draw argument from it (not what the author intended I am sure). If we were all of the same view it would be a less interesting world. My wife and I find ourselves in a sort of reverse incarnation of the story, as we have moved our lives to rural Italy, work the land by hand and are adapting our lifestyle, kitchen and routines to match. Truly a wonderful experience.
  7. Zuppa del Contadino (Peasant Soup) ‘Contadino’ means peasant farmer in Italian and so being poor farmers ourselves I was attracted to this recipe. It is really easy to make. Here in Piedmont the late summer months bring heaps of plum tomatoes to the weekly street markets. They give this soup a great colour and taste. ‘Ditalini’ is a particular pasta that is made especially for soup but it is also possible to use any of your favourite short hollow pasta. Don’t use a quick cooking variety because it will go soggy. Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 3 garlic cloves finely chopped 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped 1 lb ripe but firm plum tomatoes 8 cups of chicken stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper 12 oz Ditalini pasta or other short hollow pasta ¼ cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley 6 slices of rustic country style bread brushed with olive oil and grilled or oven toasted Cooking Instructions In a large pot heat up the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes unto softened. Stir in peeled chopped tomatoes and stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and stir in the pasta. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Put a slice of pre toasted bread in the bottom of each soup plate and ladle soup over the toast. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
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