I have known this house since its beginning, when Maurilio and Nadia launched into an adventure with a shared passion for excellence; La Ciau del Tornavento restaurant in Treiso, near Alba, has become a major attraction.
The place is well-known: a vast, modern dining room opening to the hills, vineyards and villages of Piedmont through large bay windows: a feeling of serenity. A poet would describe it better than me.
Maurilio presides in the kitchen (he had just gone on vacation last night) together with Marco, Nadia’s husband, in Olympic form. The staff (Japanese students who come here to learn Italian manners) are efficient, smiling, and attentive without being overbearing. We like that.
At Sandrone’s, a flattering portrait of Bonobo as a bambino
The sampling room at Burlotto’s
My menu is very simple: a little carne cruda (raw meat) as a starter; following that, the chef insists that I should try the very first truffles and he cooks half a portion of pasta tajarin. Yes, I did tell him off for hiding the pasta under these little leaves that already produce extraordinarily strong flavors – mamma mia!
You see, I was a good boy and in full communion with all of you. Did you feel that last night around 8.30pm? The score of the dish? 195/200.
A dear friend, who has a knack for writing down suggestions in a manner that comes across as orders, suggested a Barolo from 2001 by Elio Grasso. Being nice and a little bit fearful of course I obeyed, to avoid painful reprisals.
Can you see the tears of happiness?
Served at 16 °C, I admit it has a certain strictness but it also possesses total harmony and aristocratic elegance.
The fact that the vintage comes from a very modest producer, probably a gold medalist in the field, doubles the pleasure. Call on him, he has a mad tree growing on his terrace, go there at dusk: it will be a great moment in your life as a wine lover.
Last night’s path was parallel to a form of perfection. Ideal weather, no clouds, a typically Italian dining room: a nice mix of people, not just senior citizens on an organized tour.
Here a famiglia celebrating the mamma: about twelve diners.
Here a young couple with their first bambino who lets his presence be known albeit with a softness that recalls Vivaldi.
At the back of the room, the discrete presence of James Bond (aka Roger Moore) and his companion, visiting from Monaco to discover this locale in Treiso.
And here a local producer and his family, and a few businessmen finalizing an agreement. In short a nice mixture of types and no embarrassing sounds.
One downside? Yes: I cannot always persuade Nadia and Maurilio that boring background music does not add anything to the evening.
The wine list: a monument. The number of wines is diabolical with some ancient vintages that even three starred establishments do not have anymore! I managed to get a copy of the list and I will be able to list price comparisons here and there: La Ciau has beauties that are far more affordable than other places.
A simple conclusion: this is the kind of evening that you carefully store in your memory, near the word “perfect” – even though I was feeling a little solitary.
The Capella is located near the restaurant: the spiritual meets the material in a very human connection.
Elio Grasso’s tree!
Thank you Nicolas. It was quite chilly that day.