Giardino – da Felicin in Monforte d’Alba
May 30, 2006
On May 24, 2006, four of us stayed and dined at the Giardino – da Felicin in Monforte d’Alba in the heart of the Barolo region. This restaurant has been run by the Rocca family since 1927; we met the son, grandson (now the chef) and fifteen-year-old great-grandson (who showed us to our room with great confusion) of the founder. It used to have a Michelin star, but the cuisine is too inconsistent and limited now. Nonetheless, there are good traditional regional dishes and it is a lot of fun. Our meal started with a visit to the wine cellar, a dusty jumble of old and new wines. The starter was a fish dish with a glass of white wine. Then two of us had the raviolini with veal, one had the tajarin, the local egg based pasta, and one had a rice concoction. For the main course Blair, Linda and I had the kid braised in Barolo, which was rich and good, but accompanied by pathetic little vegetable piles. Karyn had fish. We then had the good and varied Italian cheeses from the trolley and skipped dessert. The clientèle seemed to be foreigners of various types and nationalities.We had two bottles of Barolo Cannubi: 1982 from the Marchesi de Barolo and 1986 the producer of which I forgot to record. They were terrific, well served and reasonably priced. A small sip would fill the mouth even though they were aged enough to be quite elegant. We learned about Cannubi, the best slope near Barolo, when we were in the town that afternoon. We had gone to the regional Barolo enoteca and found it to be an impressive bureaucratic flop. Then we went to a charming little store, Il Bacco, where we tasted and discussed Barolo in our limited Italian. We bought six bottles of the 2001 Marchesi de Barolo Cannubi and I hope it will be as good as today’s’ 1982 in 2025 (and that I still have taste buds.)
There are rooms above the restaurant, but we stayed in their Felicin Residence, a new modern building with suites which have little kitchenettes. The view toward the Maritime Alps to the west is superb. It is a ten minute walk down through the old town to the restaurant. www.felicin.it.