Saturday, 10/1

In the morning, we took a taxi to the TGV station in Marne-La-Vallee, where we caught the train to Lyon. This was not without drama, as I went into the ticket office to see if I could get our tickets printed out because I was never able to successfully create an account with SNCF and couldn’t print them myself. Oddly, the agent was able to print the return tickets but not the ones for this trip. Supposedly I was supposed to get the tickets a week after I purchased them online in June. I asked how I could possibly have done that. In any case, I had to buy new tickets. I will deal with it through my credit card.

Arriving in Lyon, we quickly picked up the rental car and drove to Alba in Italy, our favorite place to stay in the Langhe. This time we were able to reserve at the Hotel Langhe, as I had done it many months in advance. It was the third time we had stayed in this hotel, and apparently it has recently been completely renovated and looking very spiffy.

The rate of 150 euros includes a very nice breakfast.

For dinner we went to Osteria La Torre in Cherasco, which was not my first choice, because I could not get a reservation at Osteria Veglio.

We had been to La Torre some years back and it was good, and it still was, just not exceptional. We shared vitello tonnato, and rabbit ravioli topped with rabbit liver. For mains, Stanley had guinea fowl and I had finanziera, the traditional stew of organ meats and vegetables. We had a 2020 Barbera d’Alba for 28 euros. The bill was 96 euros.

Sunday, 10/2

We took a long and leisurely drive through the countryside to lunch at Trattoria Marsupino in Briaglia. We at there four years ago (refer back to my 2018 post), and it was great then except for the goat, which I found a bit dry and tough. This time, everything was perfect including the goat.

We started with calamari prepared two ways, fried and grilled, and sweetbreads with mushrooms. Next we shared tajarin with a mushroom ragu, then for mains I had quail and Stanley had the aforementioned goat. For dessert, he had a toasted bread crumb ice cream and I had a torrone semifreddo with caramel sauce. There were very nice amuses-bouche and afterward, mignardises. With coffees, water and a bottle of wine from Roero, the bill was 165 euros.

We stopped back at the hotel briefly, then headed into town, where the truffle festival and other celebrations were in full swing.

Next, off to dinner at Ristorante Bovio in La Morra, an elegant restaurant perched on a cliff with panoramic views.

It was very busy, yet the servers were incredibly efficient and attentive. The food was excellent, on pretty much the same level as the lunch at Marsupino.

We started with foie gras terrine with figs and veal tartare with parmesan cheese and black truffles. Then we shared meat-stuffed canneloni topped with black truffles. The main courses were tagliata di vitello (thin sliced veal sirloin) topped with yet more black truffle, and suckling pig that was probably the best I’ve ever had, very tender and moist. For dessert we shared a hazelnut savarin. A bottle of 2019 Barbaresco was surprisingly inexpensive at 40 euros. The bill including water was 155.

Monday, 10/3

Lunch was at Ristorante Violetta in Calamandrana. We had some difficulty finding it as the GPS led us to the wrong place but we eventually figured it out.

Everything about it was lovely, from the warm welcome to the excellent service to the superb food. After a tasty amuse-bouche of potato salad, we began with vitello tonnato. Next was gnocchi with sausage and tomato. For main courses, roasted rabbit and stuffed breast of guinea fowl. For dessert we shared a chocolate bunet. The wine I chose, a Barbera d’Asti 2019, was the best wine we had up to this point and only 20 euros. The total was 86.

We again did the early evening passagiata in Alba, where it was much quieter than on Sunday. Many stores and restaurants are closed on Mondays.

Dinner was at La Coccinella in Serravalle Langhe, where we had been in 2018 (see my post).

The menu is unusual in this region in that it includes a large selection of seafood. Here is what we ate:

Salad of mixed mushrooms

Zucchini souffle with blue cheese sauce

Seafood lasagna

Duck leg with cherries

Veal medallions battered and deep-fried, served rare, with fried zucchini

Raspberries with ice cream

All in all a very nice dinner. With a bottle of Barbera d’Alba the bill was about 125.

This was our last night in Alba, leaving the next morning for Valence. Ranking the restaurants:

1) Marsupino

2) Violetta and Bovio tied for second place.

3) La Coccinella

4) La Torre

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