Dining Review: Osteria dell’Arco – Alba, Italy
Afer a thrilling day with the donkey palio, we decompressed at the Airbnb before making our way to our final dinner at Osteria dell’Arco. The inside was a traditional osteria, no fancy frills, just old school serving up piedmontese dishes the old fashioned way.
I think we completed the Piedmont wine series by ordering a bottle of 2017 Arnes from Bricco della Ciliegie. This dry white wine is crispy and delicious, perfectly refreshing after a long day on our feet.
My entree was the Tortelli con burro e tartufo nero (ricotta cheese tortelli with butter and black truffles). Tortelli are larger tortellini (-lini meaning small, tortelli (pasta) lini (small)!) and they were pockets of perfection with simple ricotta cheese.
Kevin ordered the potato gnocchi with rabbit ragu. When the dish came out, he questioned if it was correct since typically ragu means a red gravy with meat whereas this was a white gravy. They explained that this is not uncommon and that the rabbit and pasta are able to stand out. He agreed that this version was good, even though it was not what he expected. The gnocchi were like little pillows or marshmallows so soft and light. You can always tell when gnocchi are made fresh. In America, gnocchi, ravioli and other stuffed pastas are often referred to as heavy dishes but if the gravy is simple and the pasta is fresh, these are not heavy dishes. We had these almost every night and never once was it “heavy”.
I saw someone’s meat dish as we walked in and I was in the mood to have another pigeon-like dish that Kevin got earlier in the week so we decided to split one. We decided on the Braised veal in Barolo to share and when the portions came out, we were almost concerned we got two servings. Until I saw a full portion come out of the kitchen and realized it was defintiely half. While it was not the type of meat dish I was looking for, it was very tender and tasty so it was a good choice to try something different.
I saw the bunet go by resembling the two bunets before. I would not make the same mistake. No more bunet. I looked through the dessert menu and Kevin and I found two to order so we could each try each others and not end up bunet-ed again.
We got an order of the Piedmont hazelnut semifreddo and the hazelnut and chocolate cremino. If you haven’t already noticed, Piedmont loves their hazelnuts. The original producers of what is now known as Nutella, hazelnut spreads have been here forever. There there are not vines, there are hazelnut trees. It is the oil tree equivalent to Tuscany. No land is left unused and since the vines are only planted on the hills, the flat areas all get hazelnut trees.
I think we have done it! These two were fantastic. The hazelnut semifreddo tasted exactly like caramel covered popcorn and the cremino was chocolate decadent perfection. Glad to have gone out on a high note with the desserts!