Saturday, September 16, 2006

La Miraja, Via al Castello, Castagnole Monferrato


La Miraja, Via al Castello, Castagnole Monferrato
Saturday 16 September, 2006

Today was truly magnificent. We caught a local bus from Asti to Castagnole Monferrato to visit the Luca Ferraris vineyard. The scenery was stunning and the village is very small with tiny streets centered around the church. The surrounding hills are full of vines. This is a small vineyard that is looking to expand into the US market, so has re-packaged their wine with this goal in mind. We were flabbergasted by the new branding as we absolutely loved their traditional Italian branding.

We were treated to a tour of their cellar and walked through underground tunnels that has been built in the 16th century. We learnt that these tunnels were once used as routes through to the castle but now only small sections were used and here at Luca Ferraris they are now used to store the wine.

We tasted their collection of wines - not bad - and left around 12.30pm for one of the best Italian restaurants I have even eaten at. We followed a cobbled path around from the vineyard to La Miraja which is owned and run by a local couple - recently engaged. This was an absolute treat as you would never have known this place existed. The entrance had no signage and when we entered it wasn't like a restaurant but someone's home. We had a large table in a beautiful yellow room with stained glass windows - it was lovely.

We had no idea what we were going to eat as it was another restaurant that didn't provide menus, but we were up for the adventure. The meal comprised of:

- Beef carppaccio with finely sliced mushrooms and garlic
- Red peppers with tuna and pesto
- Polenta with cheese and mushrooms
- Spaghetti with porcini mushrooms and cream
- Pepper steak with roast potatoes
- Chocolate and armaretto mousse
- Limoncello and grappa

The beef carppaccio was beyond words (pictured) it was so fine and the combination of the mushrooms and garlic made it so flavoursome. Everything that arrived at the table was served in abundance and was just so good - typically there are one or two dishes that don't deliver but this was all good. We sat there for almost 5 hours enjoying this experience - it was the ultimate long lunch and we were never once encouraged to leave.

I'd go back in a heartbeat for the Beef carppaccio.

La Miraja - Via al Castello 62, Castagnole Monferrato - T: 0141 292269

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