Today is our last day in Barolo…our Italian vacation is coming to an end! After a slow breakfast we drove through the area to see some of the other local villages.
The first was Serralunga…another hilltop town. We climbed our way to the top and stopped to take pictures. There were barely any places open…we have been told that this month many Italians take there vacation, so some of the shops and restaurants are closed. European vacation is much different from US vacation…on average we get about 2 weeks and Europeans seem to get about 4-6 weeks.
We continued onto our next place which was Monforte. This town had its old center on one side and its newer part of town on the other. We saw a large church in the newer area and stopped to take a look inside and snap some pictures before heading to the old center. After walking through the wall that surrounded the center we saw this town was an uphill through the cobblestone streets. As we walked up the main street, we saw an alley with a restaurant called, La Salita (www.lasalita.it).
We quickly realized we were in a restaurant which made very good food. The breads were all homemade as was the pasta and ice-cream. We ordered a tasting menu to split between us. The first course was steak tartare and a Russian salad. The tartare (raw meat) was served with a creamy goat cheese which was the consistency of butter. The Russian salad had peas, carrots and potatoes all mixed into mayonnaise. The tartare was the better dish. The second course was their house made potato gnocchi…served in a light olive oil with shavings of parmesan cheese and black truffle. The gnocchi was so chewy…it was like little pieces of doughy goodness. The third course was lightly seared steak served with sliced grilled tomatoes and hand-cut fries. Our tasting menu ended with a homemade strawberry ice-cream which was so light and creamy…and a chocolate cookie. Oh and did I mention each course was served with a glass of local wine? This restaurant was legit…
Since we decided it was necessary to eat a 4 course menu for lunch…it was nice to burn off those calories as we hiked to the top of the old town. We recognized the same brick/clay colored roof-tops and buildings, and of course we were rewarded with a spectacular view once at the top. After our climb back down, we drove through a couple other small villages before heading back to our B&B, which was holding a tasting in the wine cellar.
Of course we had a great time tasting the many many many wines of Cascina del Monestero (our B&B). There was one other English speaking couple on the private tasting/tour and the wine maker…who spoke all Italian. He walked us through the cellar having us taste the various types and vintages straight out of the barrels as we talked and tried to translate the Italian to English. After the barrel tasting, he brought us into the old stone tasting room where he had 10 different bottles lined up for tasting! He showed us the wine cork opener, pointed to the wine bottles and said he would be back. The four of us looked at each with smiles and began pouring. Now, maybe his intentions were for us to pick what we wanted to taste out of the line-up but how were we supposed to know which ones we liked without tasting them all? Hours went by…the winemaker would come in and out watching us drink. We decided to share a bottle of our Montefalco, Sagrintino with him, and we had to pour it through the little hand blown Murano glass decanter we had purchased in Chianti. He liked the wine…asking where it was from as he poured himself a second glass, but he loved the decanter. He made his wife come in to taste it and write down the website of the decanter for themselves.
Being it was after 9pm, we thanked everyone and walked up to our room where we ate some of our picnic foods and watched a movie before bed.