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The restaurant in Barbaresco, the favorite of the famous Angelo Gaja, is a perfect example of how traditional cuisine can be contemporary

Taken as we are by the need to seek new emotions or confirm our expectations, we sometimes come
across situations in which the desire to amaze prevails rather than the desire to express, with frankness and
sincerity, a clear and coherent cooking line, honest in the proposals. , understandable in the flavors, done
with love. Personalisms, hypermedia, contamination, excessive use of pseudo-innovative materials, tasting
menu proposals (often imposed for tables with more than four diners) with too many voices, transform the
best intentions of many chefs (even good ones, for heaven’s sake) into experimental performances that
would claim to win over the customer. In reality, however, the latter leaves the restaurant at the end of the
meal with the feeling that “something was missing”. Everything apparently perfect, fabulous amusebouche, dishes with stratospheric colors, impeccable service but little or nothing memorable, which makes
one say: “yes, I’ll be back soon”. It is therefore time to start looking for that “something more” (or perhaps
less) that makes you enjoy and feel good, that only certain authentic trattorias, capable of offering
perfectly executed local cuisine, in environments dominated by simplicity and empathy , they are able to
offer. Of course, it is not easy to find them (many, too many trattorias are only restaurants-manger) but,
beating the territories with intelligence, it happens to come across real places of good, simple, sometimes
excellent, cuisine. It is true that the restaurant “of the guides” (Michelin in primis) is the one that attracts
international tourism, which favors in its choices the visit of starred restaurants with one or more
“macarons”. They are often led by excellent chefs and, let’s face it, they are our flagship. We visit them
frequently and with curiosity, but also with a careful critical spirit.
But, parallel to the fine dining “molochs”, there are also other restaurants, which are less talked about but
which are worth a lot. Moreover, a renewed need is affirming in society to find authentic trattorias, capable
of expressing non-trivial adherence to their territory and true attention to customer expectations, offering
traditional dishes including Orthodox, but made contemporary by interpretations attentive to tastes and
trends. Here lies the difference, in knowing how to make current dishes that have made the history of our
regional cuisine. Eating a meal at Trattoria Antica Torre di Barbaresco is the best way to understand this
concept. First of all it is a family restaurant, truly “family-run”, in which the roles are perfectly defined and
everyone is responsible for their part: Maurizio Albarello, nicknamed “King of the tajarin” (René Redzepi,
the Danish chef of Noma, is a his great admirer and spread the word in Denmark, where Maurizio is well
known), is a concentrate of passion and technique, as well as an expert selector of materials. Among other
things, he was responsible for the creation of the flag plate of the Antica Torre, the legendary Tajarin, a fine
and elegant dish, where the perfect, very thin cut of the pasta hides great precision and a spasmodic
attention to detail. And the Ravioli del plin with butter and sage, Battuta di Fassona (Piedmontese, as is
natural), together with Vitello tonnato, are unsurprising examples of how traditional dishes can turn out to
be the protagonists of an intense taste experience but of rare balance, where quantity does not overpower
quality but joins it with joyful harmony and a modern spirit. His sister Stefania, the other cook, takes care of
the other dishes on the menu (essential, not mileage, capable of being remembered). I am thinking of the
Baked rabbit with side dishes of fresh seasonal vegetables, the Muscle of veal in Barbaresco with
vegetables, the perfect desserts that are proposed at the end: the baked Bonet, the Panna cotta, the
Hazelnut cake (the “round and gentle ”Langarola), the chocolate salami. Or the Tart, serve me at the end of
an extraordinary sequence of dishes characterized by flavor, cleanliness, balance. Listening to Maurizio
while he tells his dishes is an engaging experience, from which the mastery of techniques and a great
passion emerge, the same passion that the other sister Paola puts into welcoming customers, putting them
at ease, with skilful professionalism. . In short, teamwork works. The three brothers, assisted in the dining
room by the young Adriano, are a force of nature. The fourth brother, Alessandro, is an oenologist (he
works at the Gaja winery, a few meters away, on the same via Torino). All four children of art, of that Cinto
Albarello to whom we owe the foundation of the business and, above all, his affirmation from the nineties
onwards. Cinto, unfortunately passed away in 2005, lives in the historical memory of the place and we owe
the first great insights into the kitchen line that the Antica Torre has always kept alive. It must be said that
my taste experience at the Antica Torre was made even more exciting (and certainly favored my choice to
write about it) by being seated at the table with Angelo Gaja (and his son Giovanni): a company, besides
that extremely important, which made the gastronomic experience even more fascinating. Also by virtue of
the wines tasted: in order, Rossj-Bass 2020, Barbaresco 2018, sprinkled 2018. Three extraordinary vintages
destined for great evolution. Pure emotion, we can guarantee it, perfectly paired with the Albarello dishes,
equally frank and charming timeless.
The numbers
Cuisine: 8 Wines: 9 Room service: 8 Location: 7 Atmosphere: 9 Total: 41/50

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