Centro Storico

Via Roma 6

2050 Serralunga d'Alba (CN)

tel. + 011 39 0173 613 203

September, 2006

The tiny Centro Storico, appropriately located in the old historical center of Serralunga, has become on of my favorite spots in Piedmont for a casual meal. Visitors looking for a break from the region's more elegant restaurants will delight in the informal atmosphere which includes a few tables for outdoor eating during the summer months. There are no fancy linens, finely-appointed tables or elaborately prepared dishes. Instead, diners will find a surprisingly extensive and reasonably-priced wine list along with hearty, delicious fare. The main attraction, however, is proprietor Alessio Cighetti and his larger-than-life passion for food and wine.

On my most recent visit I had the good fortune of arriving just after the burrata, so there was no way I was going to miss the chance to taste this delicacy. Not for the faint of heart or those on a diet, the calorie-laden burrata, a specialty of Puglia, is a soft, fresh cheese made by wrapping mozzarella around a creamy, buttery center. Served with perfectly ripe tomatoes and dressed simply with a fragrant olive oil from Lake Garda, it may not have been an ideal dish to pair with wine, but it was delicious nonetheless. Bruno Giacosa's 1997 Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto presented its usual array of very ripe fruit and spice cake nuances, with a soft, generous and engaging personality which makes it a great choice for current drinking. My impression of the 1997 was consistent with my previous experiences and I found it somewhat tired and wilted, suggesting it won't be among the most long-lived vintages of this wine.

The sausage ravioli were robust and full of flavor but somewhat heavy. It was perhaps the only dish that I would choose to skip on my next visit. Our sirloin roast, on the other hand, was fantastic. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, the deeply-flavored roast was immensely enjoyable. It was accompanied by the most simple yet profound of dishes; rosemary-scented roasted potatoes. Unlike the reheated variety one so often encounters even in New York's finest restaurants, these delicate potatoes were cooked to order. The care that was bestowed upon them elevated this dish to extraordinary heights. Roberto Voerzio's 1995 Barolo La Serra was an excellent match to the roast. It displayed attractive notes of spices, cedar, roasted coffee beans and sweet ethereal fruit on a medium-bodied frame of modest structure and fleshiness that is typical of this hail-plagued harvest. Although it showed plenty of tertiary notes it also possessed good underlying acidity, suggesting it will continue to drink well for another five or so years, although it will never reach the level of this producer's best wines. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this showing given the vintage and the vineyard.



Sausage ravioli

Sirloin roast with rosemary potatoes



Roberto Voerzio Barolo La Serra



Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto


 --Antonio Galloni