A hop-skip and a jump to the Trattoria Coccinella located in Serravalle de Langhe and its well worth it. We were recommended by Silvio our faithful resource in the Langhe, he can be found at Villa d’Amelia. The trattoria was described to us as a friendly place, you arrive to a small bar and the restaurant is discreetly behind. When we entered the bar there was a gentlemen looking local I presumed, he turned out to be the owner who greeted us with a pleasant smile.
We were a little bit early in the first customers there so we had a chance to see the restaurant and choose our table. It was absolutely empty when we arrived in my travel partner thought that maybe we could be the only people there, but I knew we were lucky to get a table due to a cancellation.
Lunch started with an amuse bouche, a small focaccia sandwich that hit the spot – it was very well done and to the point. Sometimes you are thinking to yourself why are so many restaurants over complicating things. In a restaurant in the middle of a small village in the countryside of Piemonte, it really makes good sense to serve food that’s honest, has integrity and sticks to the point. Now the main problem we have well spending a few weeks in this region, is that you rarely find greens salad greens, what you expect in most places you shouldn’t expect here. It’s hard to believe but it’s true, the traditional food there is mostly pasta and meat. So if you’re not used to, or at least if you’re digestive system is not used to meat and carbohydrates on a very regular basis, like two times a day you better watch out.
After eating in multiple restaurants during our travels here, our own criteria started to narrow down to restaurants serving both reasonable portions, not too large because in this region it’s rare to find small portions especially when it comes to the locally homemade Tajarin pasta. Let me tell you this pasta is über rich, and is made with plenty of egg yolk so if you have a cholesterol problem you’re in the right place.
But what can you say about the perfect meal, you can say that it’s a combination of; service ambiance, cuisine, and of course price performance, something most people consider to be the most important of the four criteria. In our opinion service is important in any establishment, the first impression is always the most important. Cuisine is something that must have a standard, otherwise bad food, and bad service would be the equivalent of terrible restaurant. At Coccinella you will not find a terrible review on trip advisor and for a good reason. Luckily we were in good hands because the owners, three brothers, two of which work on the floor and one the kitchen, all had best intentions from the start. They we’re accommodating, attentive and followed my antics, something that can be hairy.
It is obvious this restaurant works hard to maintain a quality client and offers traditional local foods. Of course I started with the raw beef and white truffles after smelling through a pile of white truffles, the owner agreed it’s not a great season. The price of truffles was normal, and this is something that I always look at when dining in this region. After 25 years of travel there, it isn’t often but some restaurants feel they have the right to gouge clients given the season is so short, but at Coccinella just the opposite is true. Their prices are fair and reasonable.
The meat was excellent and comes from a local butcher who you might know and I respect, but unfortunately this trip I didn’t have a chance to visit him even though he will close and retire soon. I love this butcher and his meat is excellent, The Red Rover: https://mesubim.com/2012/10/26/red-rover/
The truffles head a pungent aroma, more than expected and the taste lingered in my mouth, a tough season but there are some gems even in a tough vintage. I didn’t order a principal plate because I had been eating so much. I didn’t expect to arrive to a restaurant at this level, so instead I drank and drank, two bottles for two people. These wines were both superb and with the good advice of the owner we tried the Mascarello’s Perno for the first time.
My drinking partner ordered the meat, it was described as fried which scared the hell out of me. When he agreed to try it I was saying to myself that’s the last thing I would order. Sometimes in a restaurant there is a trigger, a food or dish that can spoil the entire evening twisting your opinion and I thought this was it. The owner assured us it was excellent, he was absolutely 100% right, and I have to say that this was one of the highlights of my travels in the Langhe.
But most of all it was the meal and the hosts Alessandro, Massimo and Tiziano are excellent people who dished out one magical plate after another. It’s definitely not a tourist trap, so you can’t say that service is good because they are used to serving tourists, the restaurant was filled with Italians and plenty of Piedmontese. /Bravo/
Via Provinciale 5 12050 Serravalle Langhe (CN)
T. 0173 748220 – 339 3591682