Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cherasco – Good Chocolate and Good Food

Portici of Cherasco


Every time we come to Piemonte we stop in Cherasco for part of a day and always have a good time. (One of our great grandfathers was born here.) The center is quite square and compact (map) and easy to get around on foot. The layout of the town sure feels like it was once a Roman city, castra or colonia.

Food-wise, we have eaten twice at La Lumaca (The Snail) and it has been excellent. This time we tried Osteria La Torre which was very, very, very good. The owners, two brothers - one managing the front and the other the kitchen – spent some time with us chatting and sharing some secrets for their bonet. This was a Slow Food suggested osteria.

In the past, we’ve always made the mandatory stop to Pasticceria Ravera and this time as well it did not disappoint. The owner (the wife of a husband/wife team we believe) actually remembers us and who was with us the last year we were in. Amazing. And we can’t resist the baci di Cherasco (kisses of Cherasco). But, how could we have missed also Pasticceria Barbero nearby, established in 1881 and the creators of the baci di Cherasco? Now, there is just one more reason to come to Cherasco.

So what are baci di Cherasco? The Barbero web site say that the baci were developed by the namesake of the Pasticceria, Marco Barbero, who in the late 1800s and with a characteristic Piemontese ingeniousness and thriftiness was inspired to make use of the irregular hazelnut fragments left over from the making of torrone (nougat) by enrobing them chocolate. This is our liberal translation of "...fù un'ingeniosa parsimonia tutta piemontese a ispirare Marco Barbero, fondatore della pasticceria omonima, quando pensò di riutilizzare gli irregolari frammenti di nocciola rimasti sul tagliere dopo la composizione dei tronchetti di torrone. Presi questi frammenti di nocciola, pensò di amalgamarli con del finissimo cioccolato fondente..." The baci are 60% cacao and delicious. The hazelnuts are toasted in a wood oven before they take the chocolate plunge.

View from Cherasco


Santuario della Madonna del Popolo



Pasticceria Ravera


Pasticceria Barbero




Osteria La Torre Business Card


Start of Lunch at Osteria La Torre with Grissini

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