Cardona di Alfiano Natta, October 12, 2016—
NO BETTER MEAL than dinner cooked by a friend, served in her dining room, accompanied by good wines, taken with friends, enlivened by conversation on subjects serious and light, four languages at play.
It's generally a problem here, discussing such dinners. This blog was in fact a small, passing subject during the conversation: how and whether to mention private dinners (frequently I don't); whether I occasionally dislike a meal (yes, but it's rarely interesting to write about); why I don't mention prices (what I spend is none of your business — besides, as my contessa pointed out, restaurant prices are generally available online).
But to this dinner: we began with a big crostino, beautiful end-of-season tomatoes crushed on Gabriella's own bread, drizzled with Franco's own olive oil, decorated with a pungent basil leaf.
Next a comfortable serving of rigatoni with tomato sauce, carrying the theme forward — wheat, tomato, olive oil in a very different textural context. I love this kind of artistry; it's musical.
Then the secondo: coniglii arrosto, rabbit marinated overnight and roasted in the oven, lightly but interestingly flavored with herbs.
Dessert: Zuppa inglese: cake, custard; chocolate. Marvelous.
Freisa d'Asti, Ca' del Prete, 2013: supple, attractive, Beaujolais-like and fresh for its age;
Ruche' di Castagnole Monferrato, Caresana, 2015: rich, deep, sober.
With thanks and love for Gabriella and Franco, and apologies for invading their privacy, and gratitude for splendid hospitality at B and B I Mandorli over sixteen years!