We joined a wonderful group of friends to celebrate an 80th birthday in Piedmont Italy. The restaurant selected for a magnificent celebration luncheon was La Ciau del Tornavento located on a hilltop village, Treiso in the Langhe region in Piedmont.
Just driving through this exquisite countryside we marked it as a ‘must return to’ on our rather long bucket list!
You enter the rather austere, unassuming building then, as you walk through the elegant dining room towards the wall of glass you cannot avoid the breathtaking view beyond. The fields and vineyards that stretch for kilometres bear the produce that motivates this chef. His food philosophy is based on local and seasonal products. Apparently the restaurant also has its own vegetable and herb garden, I love that and will try and see it if I visit here again.
Maurillo’s passion for good food, wine and hospitality extend to his team. They are super efficient, the restaurant is huge, and everything flows seamlessly. On the day that our party of 23 dined there were two other bigger parties and at no time did we feel either neglected or pressurised……… these guys just know how to do it! The Sommelier knew that I wanted to photograph the wine bottles, so after each pouring he would bring me the bottle to ‘do my thing’.
This restaurant has a one Michelin Star rating which it deserves.
Every morsel that we tasted was delicious.
I hope you enjoy this photographic description of our lunch.
When we arrived we were served bubbly on the terrace while we chatted and took in the stunning views. The canapés were a delicious hint of what would come later!
Now to the table ……
Then, a rather pale dish arrived, but by now we just knew that it probably had a hidden a gem! Blanched baby asparagus with black truffle coated in a delicate sauce made from cream of sheep, goat and cow; as you placed the fork in the centre you broke into a lightly poached quail egg that added another delicate flavour and texture. It was topped with a crisp cheese pastry disc. What a wow!
One of the most unique dishes served at La Ciau del Tornavento is Maurillo’s Ricotta Ravioli that has been cooked in hay water. It is so unique and is so beautifully described by a co-writer Davide Scabin in Maurillo’s book (translated from Italian) that I need to give the description of this dish justice by copying this quote here:
“Do you know what a ravioli (called plin in the Langa) stuffed with ricotta cheese is? A ravioli cooked in May hay? Powerful fragrances and pure flavours with a great elegant variation. What luck to taste such a typically Piedmontese combination!
Maurillo and his ravioli: a gift of nature ‘captured and contained’ in the frame of native elegance.
The sweet notes of ricotta and goat curd blend it the power of May, fragrant hay (because wild flowers and herbs just explode in our meadows in May)……….
A marvel which I can just leave to your imagination if you haven’t tried Maurillo’s invention yet. The rest goes without saying for the lucky ones who have.”
…….. and now its time for the main course!
……. who can leave without pudd?
We enjoyed a slice of a very light strawberry cheesecake and delicious ‘mini desserts’ for those who had the capacity for another morsel!
A memorable experience……
I was so impressed with this amazing restaurant I bought Maurillo’s book. More than half of the book is dedicated to his food philosophy and his passion for the local produce. There are not many recipes but they are interesting as it gives you an indication of how a passion and ingredients can be translated into interesting and delicious dishes. And as a bonus I left with a kiss from this lovely warm man! Delicious!
After lunch we were taken on a visit to the restaurant’s unique wine cellar. Let me share that in a separate blog….. yes it was SO spectacular it deserves it’s own space!
Here are just a few images of the delicious vino we enjoyed with our meal!