Above: Dinner began with delicate marinated trout and raw shrimp. People are often surprised by how much fish and seafood you eat in Piedmont, which lies just an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive from the sea.
The last restaurant meal I had in Italy in 2012 was at the cozy Trattoria la Coccinella in the village of Serravalle Langhe, the “other” Langa, about a twenty-minute drive southeast from Monforte, beyond the gilded radius of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Above: First wine of the night was the Giuseppe Rinaldi 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo. Folks here don’t mind pairing red wine with seafood and the lightness and bright acidity of this wine was great with the raw shrimp.
But it lies just far enough away from the epicenter of Nebbiololand to take the edge off the high stakes of Alba-world dining.
Above: The onion was salted and stuffed with a light chicken liver sautée before being roasted.
Giovanni (aka man, the English-language appellative we use with each other), Ferdinando (aka man), and I were there on a Saturday night and the place was packed with locals, including a boisterous high-school reunion for the over-sixty crowd and lots of groups of young people enjoying their weekend night out for dinner.
Above: I just had to have the tajarin… no frills, just classic trattoria cooking, Piedmont style.
I love visiting Langa. But sometimes the competitive dining scene there can be a bit oppressive.
It was so fun to just be…
Above: The 2008 Barolo by Bartolo Mascarello is going through a period of youthful grace and was very generous with its fruit. What a pleasure to drink that wine! I imagine it will “shut down” shortly. But it was singing that night.
La Coccinella was my second-to-last meal in Italy in 2012 (my last repast was in Milan at the home of good friends).
The food was great (the prices middle-class friendly) and I highly recommend the restaurant.
But the best part was just being somewhere where affectation is a foreign language.