Dining in Italy: Le Case della Saracca

Le Casa della Saracacca is a winebar/restaurant (they also have rooms) in the old town of Monforte d’Alba in the Barolo area of Piemonte.

It is housed in a medieval building with a modern construction of steel, cables, and glass on the inside to keep the old building together and to create walkways and dining areas. To get to our table, we had to go through a tunnel…

…and then some glass stairs.

This photo of our table was taken after dinner. You can still see the empty bottle and glasses. The only drawback was that we were sitting by ourselves, which also meant the serving staff could not keep an eye on if we needed anything. There is also some outside seating.

I chose Saracca because it is listed with ‘three bottles’ in the Gambero Rosso guide, which means it is one of the best wine bars in Italy. The list of different bottles is indeed impressive, especially the collection of Baroli from many producers and many vintages per producer. The older vintages are quite expensive though. Barolo is at its best when it has aged, and the choice under 200 euros for aged Barolo was quite limited. A little joke on the winelist is that the Baroli are organized into Baroli from Monforte d’Alba (the town of the restaurant) and Baroli from “the rest of the world”. For a wine bar I thought the selection of wines by the glass was quite limited.

There is a large selection of antipasti (most of which listed as “the always present” and including salumi and cheese platters) and a smaller selection of primi and secondi. On the bar I also saw some Spanish-style tapas. Next to the inside seating there is also outside seating.

For antipasto I had “Tonno di coniglio”, which means rabbit prepared as if it were tuna, shredded with olive oil, served on a salad with a balsamic dressing. This was very nice with a generous serving of tender and juicy rabbit (which is not a given, because rabbit dries out easily). With this I had a glass of Arneis.

Then we brought in ‘the big guns’ with this 2005 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata from Gagliasso. It was perfectly aged with those wonderful aromas that make aged Barolo such a special treat. I was surprised the wine was not decanted. It was not needed to let it air, but for the ‘debris’ it certainly was.

Ravioli del Plin al sugo d’arrosto, which is small ravioli filled with braised meat, served with the juices left over from the braising. These were even better than at Le Due Lanterne, because they were more moist. They paired very nicely with the Barolo.

As secondo rack of lamb with a crust of hazelnuts and a pepper sauce. Unfortunately the lamb was cooked well done, although the thick layer of fat between the hazelnut crust and the meat had not rendered. Cooking rack of lamb more than medium is a culinary crime to me, but in Italy it is quite common (also for tuna).

Of the roasted vegetables on the other hand, the eggplant was undercooked.

This place is worth visiting just for the building, but make sure to bring an ample budget for the wine and perhaps stick to the antipasti (although the ravioli were very good).

4 thoughts on “Dining in Italy: Le Case della Saracca

  1. Absolutely love the building and even your seating arrangement but the chairs were not there for a comfortable long evening 🙂 ? The place majors wine . . . methinks the quite plentiful food seems to be there to encourage one to drink 🙂 ? I totally agree with you about leaving both lamb cutlets and tuna underdone . . . cannot enjoy either otherwise : can see your lamb fat and . . . glad you enjoyed the wines . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have just taken a five-minute geography lesson at lunch-break . . . did not realize how far west you were . . . . well, I could have driven from my favourite St Paul de Vence in Provence to you in about two hours . . . wishful thinking . . . but fun . . .

      Liked by 1 person

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