General News

5. Eating Around Alba

So, its morning and off to brekky on the hazelnut farm near Alba. Its a simple affair. Things grown in the garden and cooked by Rosa in the kitchen. Its wonderful. Rosa only speaks Italian and if you dont understand her it doesnt matter. She just keeps going…….

She grows ox heart tomatoes like my grandfather used to and they are delicious. I told her that and she beamed. I now have permission to go into her garden and pick whatever I want. Its similar here to the farm I grew up on. The seeds from the best fruit are kept and planted next season. As a kid our window sills always had seeds drying on them.


The cappuccino was served with a pitcher (like a gravy boat) of something black. When I asked what it was, the answer was coffee. If your cappuccino isnt strong enough, add coffee. Brilliant!

Then a shower……. I kid you not. 3 rooms in Italy, same shower 3 times. Mumma Mia!

We then asked our host what to do today. The drive from Alba to Genoa is called the romantics drive. Robin wants to do that drive. But, our host said he could get us in to Montaribaldi winery for a tour and a tasting. Then, we could go to an Enoteca (wine library) that has over 100 Barberescos in it. Its in an old church in Barberesco. So, romance or booze???? I chose booze. As we sat on the deck at the winery we could hear thunder off to the south and the vineyards were firing compressed air cannons at the clouds to prevent hail. In the middle of all this down at Genoa the weather was bad and a freeway bridge collapsed. The sketchy reports Ive heard suggest around 30 people died as a result. A sad day for Italy.


The vineyards themselves are on significant slopes. Tractors have caterpillar tracks, not wheels. The vines have fruit on them 40cm from the ground, then a tall, skinny canopy. Most are impeccably maintained despite appearing almost impossible to even walk around or bend down to.

Genius! But, a bottle that big is probably a couple of grand. Expensive to make…….

The Enoteca of Barberesco. Barberesco has sandy soils making lighter wines and clay soils making heavier wines. The last few years the weather patterns have been unpredictable. 2014 was wet and the wines taste a bit vegetative. 2015 was stinking hot and the wines are good for younger drinking, but classic styles of Barberesco were not produced in these years. Trying the wines at the Enoteca lets you see these things.


Off to Alba for a walk around, then dinner. Theres enotecas everywhere.
White truffle is the towns speciality, so stores selling truffle oil, truffle cheeses.
Roosters for your Sunday roast or a pig biscuit filled with hazlenut chocolate.
For dinner we grabbed a 250ml jug of house wine (I suspect an unoaked barberesco, fine but not exciting. They do a lot of these cheap, simple wines for everyday chugging without thinking) and zucchini fritters. The waitress was lovely and verbally offered menu items.


She was talking to customers from all over the world in pigeon this or pigeon that. Raw meat?, she offered me. Im thinking she means carpaccio (something thinly sliced and dressed) or steak tartare (hand cut with egg yolk, spices, onion). But, no. Basically a rectangular tray of un-cooked mince comes out. Right……. Anyhow, an enjoyable evening before coming home to nibble on truffled cheese and drink Arneis ?.

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