Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ristorante El Barba

From Ponte di Legno, the highway towards Bolzano climbs to the Tonale Pass, which marks the border between Lumbardy and Trentino.
Certainly very enchanting the snowy mountain landscape, during winter, also if overworked by plenty of tourists (mostly from Milan) here for their yearly ski holiday weeks, even if, atleast apparently, they look more busy to show off their fashionable overalls, their expensive ski equipments, and their huge SUV's with all those freaky accessories. Anyway...

The Trentine mountainside, in my opinion, is more picturesque than the Lumbard one (few miles can make the difference). The cableways in Lumbardy are for sure very practical, but from an aesthetic point of view they ruin a little the landscape. The buildings theirselves, in Trentino, are more typical of the environment: stone houses with very sloping roofs, frescos on the walls often show the type of the businesses (brewery, wine bars, hotels...).
Down at the valley floor, just some other miles on the highway and we reach the town of Malè, in the Sole valley, surrounded by the countrysides cultivated with apples and vineyards.
As it always happens, the centre of the village is the square of the Church, surrounded, besides the by Church itself, by the most fancy shops. In particular here we can find the restaurant El Barba.

Linzner torte con Trentino Vin Santo DOC
photo by Rowena
The cookings is refined, the menu vary upon the season and uses genuine products, infact the origin of the main ingredients is reported. Often the vegetables are grown in the garden of the family, while the cheeses and the cured meats come from the malghe (mountain farms) of the Sole and Non valleys, as it happens for the meats and the other offered products.
El Barba has the title of the "Osteria Tipica Trentina" certification, that requires severe checks on strict rules:
- The wine menu must offer atleast 30 labels from the region.
- Grappas, dessert wines and Champagnes must be "Trentino DOC" certified
- Cheeses, cured meats, milk, honey, lake fishes must come from Trentino region.
- Typical products as apples and berries must be present on the menu.
- The furnishing must be consonant to the Trentine traditions.
- The staff must be able to satisfy the any question about the origin and tradition of the dishes.

We had:
- The tris di canederli (three tastings of canederli, a typical gnocchi of this area, offered in the three most common versions), really extraordinary.
- The ravioli di castagne al ragu' di lepre e broccolo romano (chesnut ravioli in hare meat and Roman broccoli ragu), very savoury.
- The costicine d'agnello in crosta di erbe con cipolle alla rustica (lamb chops in a coat of herbs with country style onions). Wonderful the contrast between the sweet of the lamb made precious by the unusual mixture of herbs, and the bitter of the half cooked onions with a liver sauce.
- The scelta di bresaole, speck e lardo della Val Rendena con cavolini di Bruxelles e mele (selection of bresaolas, specks and lards from Rendena valley with Brussels sprouts and apples). Very good the cured meats, in their simplicity, and the combination with the intense bitter of the sprouts, made gentle by the sweetness of the Trentine apples hits the mark.
- The Linzner torte with Trentino Vin Santo DOC.
- Coffee and grappa of Teroldego.
As a wine we had a bottle of Pinot Nero DOC Cantina La Vis. Not bad, even if a little young and not well bodied as i usually like.

Wonderful dinner for 74 euros.

Ristorante El Barba
piazza S. Maria Assunta, 2
38027 Malè (Tn)
Closed on thursdays, never in summer and around Christmas, closed for holidays in November.
Dogs allowed.
Suggested by Ristoranti Veronelli, Ristoranti d'Italia.

1 comment:

rowena said...

The way you described it - from memory - makes it sound all the more appealing. I tend to just look at a meal and "remember" each course as a visual event. If it's good, it's good (because for me everything tastes great in Italy!). But all I ever truly recall is how a dish looked.

You, on the other hand, remember the nuances and the details. Very nice!