Terry Milne visits the famour restaurant of Bovio at La Morra in Barolo…
Alessandra Bovio owns Barolo’s famous Michelin starred Bovio restaurant with her husband Chef Marco Boschiazzo. Bovio carries on a 50-year tradition of fine wine and cuisine, started by Alessandra’s father Gianfranco at his original Belvedere restaurant.
Now, his namesake Bovio restaurant is nestled below the hilltop village of La Morra, in Piemonte. Every seat and the summer terrace overlook the verdant valley below. You see a steeply sloping amphitheatre of pruned Barolo vines. These are foot soldiers, regimented in tidy rows of green, fading to browns and oranges in the October sun. Million-dollar view indeed, when you consider that the current Barolo vineyard value is €1million per hectare.
Inside, a wood burning fireplace crackles, highlighting plush red leather seats, polished Italian sideboards, creamy linens and Persian carpets.
Bovio expresses the cuisine of Piemonte. From October, truffles are king when Bovio entertains guests to aromatic, freshly foraged white Alba truffles. The entire restaurant is heady with the musky scent of these fragrant beauties as Alessandra Bovio personally visits each table to shave these luxurious, perfumed morsels over plates. She estimates that Bovio uses about 10 kilos of truffles each week during the season.
Appetizers might include the freshest veal tartare with Parmigiano and truffle, a flaky tart of local cardoons with cheese fonduta or classic Vitello Tonnato, paper thin rosy veal slices with tuna sauce.
Main dishes are hearty, including tempting choices like rich house made pastas with 30 egg yolks, rabbit or boar ragouts and braised dark meat and game. This is mountain cuisine designed to marry with the rich and powerful Barolo wines of the region. Alessandra continues her father’s tradition of complementing the cuisine with her great wine collection offering the best winemakers of Italy, but featuring the local Barolo.
Combining a winery visit or two to your La Morra dining enhances your appreciation of these local wines at table. Bovio’s own winery, Azienda Agricola Bovio Gianfranco, again founded by Alessandra’s father, is about 5 minutes’ drive from the restaurant. You might also consider Mauro Veglio and, if you’re coming from the direction of Alba, Crissante Alessandria. These wineries are close enough to allow at least two visits before lunch. Both Mauro Veglio and Crissante have accommodation in their agriturismos.
October is the ideal time to visit. Truffles start about mid-October and run through the end of November.
Consider this last image of a cozy bed in La Morra awaiting your afternoon nap after a long, lazy lunch and some fine Barolo wine.
Does a wine agent ever retire? Why? Terry Milne and Lloyd Evans of Bad Dog Wine> are working quietly in the Caribbean during the winter and travelling in the warmer months to their favourite wine regions. It’s our pleasure to share a wino’s discoveries through writing.