So we took a whirlwind tour of Northern Italy. Given we were with our 8- and 10-year olds, there was more gelato than Barolo, but we managed some pretty good places to eat. We did not do any fancy places (see note about kids) and I had no time to properly plan so no places that require three weeks/months’ advance reservations. We had many so-so meals. But when you’re in Italy, so-so is still good.
Il Gelataio Matto in Bellano
Best gelato of the trip. Every flavor tasted exponentially more of what it was than actually eating the thing. So, the hazelnut tasted 100x more hazelnutty than actually eating a hazelnut. It was crazy good. The last day, he gave us a grapefruit-flavored gelato that was phenomenal. The slight creaminess really mellowed out the bitter tang of the grapefruit, but did nothing to dilute the flavor.
Osteria del Vicoletto
Order the 40-yolk tajarin with meat sauce. So savory and delicious, we ordered a second. Best pasta of our trip. Veal tonnato was also a highlight. They also had a wonderful wine list, no surprise given that it was in the heart of Barolo country. We had a nebbiolo that my 10-year-old had a sip of and he is now a true fan. I guess I don’t have to worry about him binge drinking swill in college now that he has standards! Oddly, I could not stop eating their bread sticks, which were surprisingly tender and crisp and moist. I’ve only ever had bread sticks that were dry and crunchy, even at the other restaurants in Italy we tried. I learned later these were hand made and baked at the restaurant.
Their veal milanese is listed in bold on their menu, highlighting the fact it won some award a few years ago. It lived up to the hype. Simply fried with a shower of sea salt on top, it is juicy, tender, and well-seasoned. I enjoyed less the risotto alla milanese, which was good but not spectacular. The veal milanese was bigger than my kid’s face, but he ate every bite!