Via Troglie 1, Cardona di Alviero Natta, November 1, 2014—BACK TO MONCALVO with a couple of friends visiting from Nice for a walkabout in this interesting provincial city, hardly more than a ridgetop boasting some fine neoclassical brick architecture and a smattering of ugly new residential blocks surrounding it on the plain below.
Before long we were hungry. I phoned the one Slow Food recommendation in town, without much hope since it was All Saints' Day, an important holiday here, and sure enough it was closed. We looked in at Il Centrale, where we'd had a nice meal a few days ago, but it was full as well. Then I looked in at an ordinary-looking ostaria almost unnoticeable in a corner of a parking-lot, and was told we could have a table in a few minutes.
What luck! This turned out to be place I'd called, and the food was really quite good; wine ditto. We started with this plate of salumi for the table: fine Culatello, prosciutto, Côtecchino, and two salami.Then we had our meals, and I was content with two appetizers: a very nice vitello tonnato and a wonderful bagna cauda with sweet pepperoni. The latter was particularly good, with anchovies pounded into the sauce leaving a nice texture.
Taking my responsibilities here seriously, I then continued my research into bonet. Here it was supple and smooth, a sformato, rich and smooth, garnished with crumbled amaretti, dusted with just the right amount of powdered sugar. It is now officially impossible for me to decide which of the many bonetti I've had is the best.
Chardonnay, La Gambina (Piemonte), 2013: clean and refreshing; Nebbiolo d'Alba, Valmaggiore, Sandrone, 2011: complex, alert, enjoyable•La Bella Rosin, Piazza V. Emanuele 3, Moncalvo; +39 141916098