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When we checked in at Villa Pattono, the receptionist gave us a list of local restaurants. There are two Michelin 1-star restaurants in the area.

One day we decided to try Ristornate San Marco, located in Canelli, for lunch. The lady chef Mariuccia received the star more than 10 years ago.

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The restaurant is housed in a humble-looking building in a residential area. Its decoration is traditional and intimate. Our waiter was very professional, showing much enthusiasm in what he does, and being attentive without overbearing.

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The villa as we mentioned earlier (see previous post here) only serves breakfast. So every day, we had to drive out to find lunch and dinner. There are pros and cons to this situation. The pros is that one gets to truly sample the local cuisine. The cons is that after a few days, the searching, driving and parking twice a day became a bit of a chore, especially when we tried to go to a different place every time.

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Canelli is in the heart of the wine region of Monferrato, an area between Alba and Asti. It is approximately 20 minutes drive on windy country roads. Given the aging GPS in the car, the search for restaurants in the country side became an adventure by itself. It was fun until we got lost, hungry, and embarrassingly late on arrival.

We were just on time for Ristorante San Marco.

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Instead of ordering from the Degustation menu, which would have been too much food, we ordered à la carte.

Calamaro saltato con crema di carciofi nostrani e riduzione di Balsamico (Squid sauteed with artichoke cream and balsamic reduction)

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Tajarin funghi porcini (Homemade egg pasta with porcini mushroom ragout) – Tajarin is a local specialty – spaghetti-like but made with eggs – a bit like Chinese egg noodel

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Ravioli di ricciola, pomodoro fresco, vongole veraci (yellowtail fish ravioli, fresh tomatoes, clams)

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Scamone di agnello da latte in lenta cottura, albicocche, fagiolini con speck croccante (slow-cooked rump of milk lamb, apricots, green beans crunchy speck)

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Hazel nut is a major product of the area – Nutella was created in neraby Alba.  Every thing on this plate is made with the nut !

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The husband of the chef is the president of the truffle searchers (trifolau) and Mariuccia asked if we are interested to join a search when the fungus is in season (about a month away). She brought in a big basket of freshly picked porcini.

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Mariuccia makes her own sun-dried tomatoes.

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We had a nice long lunch and would love to come back to try her new truffle menu when they are in season.

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More hazel nuts and petit-fours to conclude a slow, long lunch.



One Comment

  1. Delicious!

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