For the next stop, we will be spending eight days in the town of Alba.
Our home for the next eight days is a spacious apartment that we booked through Airbnb. There’s a kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms – both with great walk-in showers, laundry facilities and a comfortable sitting area. Clean, airy and the windows open for fresh air – and the topper is they have screens! Oh yeah…and there’s an elevator.
It is located right across the street from the train station. There is a small park at the corner and it is just around the block from the main pedestrian area.
Alba was the last place we visited before the pandemic hit and it still has the same homey feeling that we liked the first time. We’re looking forward to our time here and re-connecting with the friends we made.
There seems to be a good deal of construction going on around the town. The piazza down at our end of town is being worked on. The cathedral is wrapped in scaffolding and there’s a bit more on some of the cut-through streets. Totally necessary, but it detracts a bit from the town’s ambiance.
As we arrived in the afternoon, we had plenty of time to relax and make a dinner reservation. For our first meal back, we chose to go to the Enoclub Ristorante. The dining room is located in underground vaults that add to a romantic atmosphere.
We both enjoyed the four-course tasting menu with a bottle of Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba. The meal started with an amuse-bouche of puréed cantaloupe, with bits of bacon, sage and thyme. The first course was a potato with light cheese sauce. The second course was a portion of tajarin with a meat ragu. The third course was roasted rabbit loin on a bed of mashed potatoes. And the finale was a vanilla custard with Carmel sauce and roasted hazelnuts.
Friday was a down day. Went to the grocery store for some supplies, snacks and water then back to the apartment. Unfortunately, Sue has developed a full blown cold, so we decided it was best to stay home and let her rest.
Her cold also meant we had to cancel our day trip to Bra and the cheese tasting. She needs to rest up before our wine tastings Monday and it wouldn’t be right to spread the germs in a cheese factory. Knowing the secret to their cheese making process, I’m going to sing to the Velveeta when we get home to see what happens.
While Sue was napping in the afternoon, I was able to meet our friend and planner Valerie for an aperitivo. It was so nice to see her again and to just talk about life – especially with a bottle of bubbly.
Now that the pandemic is over, business is picking up and she is spreading her coverage area. Keep her in mind for your next Italy adventure, especially if you’ll be visiting Piedmont.
Saturday is market day in Alba, which means lots: lots of people, lots of vendors and lots of fun. We wandered the streets looking at all the goods for sale. Sue found a beautiful Italian-made sweater that will be going home with us.
We found a great little shop called the Focacceria Il Budego and bought two slices of pizza for lunch and two porchetta panini for dinner, since Sue didn’t want to go to a restaurant with her cold. So, we had our own little house party.
We even had music to keep the party lively with dancing and singing. For you young-at-heart friends, Lou Monte’s – ‘Pepino the little Italian Mouse’ played more than once! 🎶 “And there was little Pepino doing the cha cha on the floor”…🎶
Woke up Sunday morning to the sound of church bells. Besides the cathedral, I think there are four or five other churches nearby. Each church bell has its own distinct tone and each bell ringing has its own duration. Who needs an alarm clock?
Aside from a visit to the market to pick up some more water, we relaxed at the apartment again today. We had a little snack of cheese and prosciutto in the afternoon and made a reservation for dinner, but otherwise gave Sue another day to rest up before the upcoming tours and tastings.
Btw, we are paying just under $1.00 for six 1.5 liter bottles of water at the market versus $2.50 for a 16 oz bottle in a hotel or shops.
After a relaxing day, we went to dinner at Trattoria Momenti Gourmet. It was about a three minute walk and was awesome. We were warmly greeted when we arrived and had our choice of tables. We went with an inside table in the garden room.
We had fun with the owner/waiter. We asked questions in Italian and he answered in English. Then he spoke in Italian and we had to respond partially in English – guess we should have finished that lesson before we left for Italy !
Our meals were spectacular. Unfortunately, we learned that we were about a week early for the white truffles, but we’re hoping to sneak in one order before we leave.
So… Sue had an order of tajarin with black truffles and I went with an order of tajarin with a rabbit ragu to start. Our main meals were a melt-in-your-mouth braised veal cheek and roasted vegetables for Sue and a duck breast with vegetables and a pear compote for me. We had a bottle of Viette Tre Vignes Barbera D’Alba to go along with our meal that was wonderful.
Did someone say dolci? Of course we had dolci. Sue had a hazelnut torte and I had a Bunet, which was a mocha mousse with a thin layer of chocolate. Fearing our livers would feel left out, we also had a glass of a Barolo based dessert wine that I forgot to write the name of – sorry!
The long walk back to the apartment took about four minutes and then the rest of the evening was spent talking about how much we enjoyed dinner and how much we were looking forward to the wine tastings coming up.