Famed the world over for its truffles and elegant wines, alba is the foodie capital of Piedmont—a region that itself lays claim to being the gastronomic heartland of Italy—and is, therefore, the perfect location for Enrico Crippa’s chic modern Italian restaurant.
Piazza Duomo and la Piola restaurants opened in the old town Centre of the capital of the Langhe, Alba, in may 2005. a single location for two culinary experiences which, though very different, share an approach to research and quality.
The central figures involved were the Ceretto family, well-known Piedmontese wine entrepreneurs and ardent promoters of the local food and wine resources, and Crippa. rather than a competition between la Piola’s traditional Piedmontese style of cooking and the refined creativity of Piazza Duomo, the project set out to highlight and educate in the culture of good living, eating and drinking that has made our region unique.
This choice has been rewarded with success in just a few years, with Piazza Duomo now being a cult address for gourmets and anyone who loves food that’s new, yet never banal.
The chef makes full use of the natural resources at his disposal, showcasing the region’s fabulous produce (including vegetables from the restaurant’s own Smallholding) in dishes that respect Italy’s culinary traditions, while exploring new frontiers. This approach also reflects Crippa’s CV, which includes spells working with some of Europe’s most influential chefs from Ferran Adrià and Michel Bras to the godfather of Italian cuisine, Gualtiero Marchesi.
Classics such as suckling pig with asparagus or Fassona veal tartare are offset by more daring modernist dishes on the menu. Think ‘olives’ that are actually made with minced veal and langoustine or ‘fake pepper’ created from tuna and anchovy pastes. Crippa’s time in Japan, where he opened a restaurant in Kobe for Marchesi, is also referenced with the use of Dashi Stock and tempura, while Alba’s most famous export takes pride of place on a luxurious seasonal white truffle menu.
The restaurant, which is the result of a collaboration with a local family wine business, has a stellar cellar containing wines from many of Italy’s greatest vine- yards, including a wide selection available by the glass.