La Ciau del Tornavento
Treiso (Cuneo), Italy
+39 0173 638333
Egg in cocotte served in a jewel box
Carne cruda with white truffles
Tagliolini with white truffles
Poached egg; fonduta, white truffles
Panna cotta ice cream; caramel sauce,
Truffles, truffles and more truffles.
That was the theme of this spectacular dinner at La Ciau del Tornanvento last
week. Even on a Monday night following a huge weekend of tourism in the Langhe,
La Ciau was packed, as it pretty much always is these days. Our dinner was
amazing, although I must warn readers – La Ciau is not the place to go if you
are on a diet, especially in truffle season, when eggs and butter are featured
in abundance throughout the menu.
Krug’s 1988 Vintage is stunning
and a great way to start the evening. I had the good fortune to taste several
bottles of the 1988 recently, and they have all been terrific. A generous,
resonant wine, the 1988 delivers all the Krug signatures with bracing underlying
minerality and fabulous overall balance. Although Barbaresco and Barolo are the
natural pairings with white truffles, Champagne is my next choice. This bottle
is amazing on its own, and also alongside the egg in cocotte served in a jewel box, a signature dish.
Ciau’s egg in cocotte served in a jewel box]
The carne cruda arrives, followed by
the day’s harvest of white truffles. There are few sounds that are more
soothing than that of the fresh white truffles being shaved onto the plate.
White truffles keep cascading onto the carne cruda until it is no longer
visible. What a fabulous dish. The tagliolini with white truffles are even
better. Here, too, the truffles are
carne cruda with white truffles]
La Ciau is one of the few places
diners can find impeccably stored Barolo and Barbaresco with bottle age. I have
loved Roberto Voerzio’s 2000 Barolo Cerequio since it was in barrel.
Today, a decade after I first tasted it, the 2000 remains spectacular. A deep,
dark red, the 2000 Cerequio covers every corner of the palate with the most
exquisite, silky fruit imaginable. All of the hallmarks of Cerequio – the silky
tannins, expressive, floral bouquet and bright red fruit – are alive in the
glass. Today, the 2000 is sensual and layered to the core. Well-stored bottles
will keep another 10+ years. Sadly, mine are all gone.
The poached egg served with fonduta arrives, as do more white
truffles. We need more wine. After the Voerzio I am looking for something a
little more delicate and subtle. Bruno Giacosa’s epic 2004 Barolo Riserva Le
Rocche del Falletto takes things to an even higher level. What a wine. A
compelling bouquet laced with dried rose petal, sage, tar, licorice and
lavender opens up in the glass. The 2004 is a wine of contrasts, as great
Barolos often are. At times feminine and graceful, while at others deep and
powerful, the Rocche is constantly changing in the glass. While the Voerzio is
an immediate, gratifying Barolo, the Giacosa won’t give up its charms so
easily. The 2004 Rocche engages, challenges and ultimately rewards the taster
with a breathtaking, exhilarating experience matched by only the world’s
greatest wines. Readers lucky enough to own the 2004 can look forward to
several decades of spectacular drinking.
Panna cotta ice cream with caramel
sauce and white truffles? An unexpected surprise, but it works. I don’t have
much of a sweet tooth, but this is definitely my kind of dessert!
Panna cotta ice cream with caramel sauce and white truffles]
A relaxed lunch or dinner at La Ciau
del Tornavento is an essential part of the Piedmont eating and drinking
experience. Chef/Owner Maurilio Garola’s kitchen has never been so consistently
brilliant as it has been over the last few years. As for the wines, I only wish
I had been able to put a greater dent in La Ciau’s cellar! There is always next
small selection of La Ciau’s extensive cellar]
-- Antonio Galloni