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henjef85 | Jul 14, 201804:49 AM     18

My wife and I have just returned from our 5th visit to the Piemonte where we had many wonderful meals, the highlights being 3 with Mr. and Mrs. Allende. I will attempt to summarize some of them here. We ate at Osteria Veglio (3 times!), Guido, Il Centro, and Tre Case. We booked but could not make our reservations at La Coccinella and Marsupino, so do not read anything into their omission--they are still very much on our lists. Some general observations:

We stayed again in Barolo, a lovely little town where we have made several friends. However, be aware of the increase in both tourists and construction. The success of the recent vintages has brought both a lot of money to the region and many visitors wanting to taste the wine. They still leave by mid-afternoon as visitors look to eat elsewhere. Although, I am told that some of the new construction projects will include new restaurants.

Spring 2018 was a very wet one in the Langhe and you could taste it in the fruit and vegetables which seem to lack their usual intensity in flavor, particularly the berries and the peppers.

As our friend Allende has pointed out and we can confirm, it is very difficult to find older vintage nebbiolo and barbera wines on restaurant wine lists now. You really have to search for them. The oldest, decent wine we drank was a 2008 Barolo from G.D. Vajra at Il Centro.

If this is a region you plan to visit more than once and conviviality is an important aspect of your dining experience, you really need to learn some basic Italian. Yes, you can get by without it, but, in my opinion, you lose a bit of the experience. Most places you eat there are run by families and getting to know them can be a real treat.

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