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March 13, 2006

Conversation with Paolo Ferrero by Swiss Chef (Ed McGaugh)

The Book of Rai Interview with Paolo Ferrero

Ferrero01

Born in Turin, Paolo is a native Piemontese and speaks English, French, German, Spanish and of course Italian. He comes from a family of restaurateurs and managed the family restaurant Canestrello d'Oro for many years and has made a passionate career out of fine Piemontese food and wine. Paolo also writes a column for the Italian wine magazine called Barolo & Co. and has an extensive knowledge of the local wines. Paolo is closely connected to a never-ending network of wine makers, restaurateurs and shop-owners, all of whom he knows personally.


Swiss_Chef: Hello Paolo and thank you for joining us at Book of Rai. Please tell us a little about your restaurant the Canestrello d'Oro in Cinaglio near Asti.

Paolo Ferrero: First let me say thank you for your interest in the Piemont and more importantly the Monferrato! I ran he "Canestrello d'Oro" ( a "canestrello" is sort of a cookie traditionally prepared by the cooks of my small village, Cinaglio...) for eight years, from 1998 till 2004, since my mother Adalgisa, who was one of the restaurant's two chefs, decided to retire. For 20 years Canestrello was our family's restaurant but it was my mother, chef Ezio Musso and maitre ‘d Paolo Smaniotto and I who succeeded in transforming the "Canestrello" from a popular Pizzeria to a distinguished country inn. We had limited seating, white table-cloths, Bohemian crystal glasses, fresh country flowers and jazzy background music. Regarding the food, our mottos were : "tradition with a modern twist".
We wanted to rediscover the beautiful traditional Piemontese recipes while looking forward to a more modern style of presentation.

Typically we started with an antipasti tasting, dictated by season’s bounty. For example:
-Tuna and black Taggiasca olive mousse refined with parsley.
-Hand minced raw veal and goat’s milk cheese tartar.
-Roasted red peppers and stewed veal tongue with anchovies, capers and Barbera vinaigrette sauce.
-Leek and Parmesan cheese soufflé.
-A selection of made-in-house tajarìn, agnolotti, gnocchi, and pappardelle.
-Risottos (too many to mention but always following the season).
-During the winter- a thick bean and "maltagliati" soup.

The main courses always included pork, beef, rabbit, chicken as well as a fish offering usually cod, bass or sea-tout.

Fresh porcini and white truffles always in season
Always a wide selection of local artisanal cheeses.

Three desserts completed our menu, usually accompanied by a Moscato or Malvasia sparkling sweet wine.

In a few years we were rated by the main gastronomical Guides in Italy, such as "Espresso", "Luigi Veronelli", "Paolo Massobrio", "Accademia Italiana della Cucina" ( Unfortunately the consequence of a misunderstanding- we were somehow overlooked by "Gambero Rosso" what a pity! We did manyge to rank in the top 1.000 restaurants in the whole Italy. Something for which we are very proud.

The wine list was heavily centered in the Monferrato's wines and consisted of 80 labels. The price of our multi course was about 35 euros, wines excluded. Monthly we organised a gastronomical degustation dinner based on the season; aromatic herbs, spring flowers and fish, black or white truffles, porcini and game and so on...

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