All week we've been enjoying the company of our french "eators" Curtis and Leigh and with Leigh unfortunately under the weather, we've taken Curtis out to La Libera for our final lunch together.
Quail & Smoked Foie Gras
After a nibble of this, Curtis has vowed to try his hand at smoking foie gras - I for one look forward to tasting the results. As with my previous smoked foie gras dish here, it is utterly sublime and is every bit as good as I expected it to be. Perfectly cooked quail sit underneath, crisp skin, juicy flesh and under that - a mix of sauteed cubes of vegetables (potatoes, eggplant, leek, celery)
Calamari and Porcini
Curtis choose the dish simply called calamari and porcini - shaved slices of raw porcini sit atop grilled baby calamari. Curtis' discerning palate was most impressed with this selection.
Paalo choose the veal tongue - served simply with giardinera. The tongue was melt in your mouth soft.
tajarin con ragu
Curtis chose the Piedmontese classic - tajarin served with a rich meat ragu. Curtis loves pasta and rated this amongst the best.
I couldn't go past the roasted suckling pig - the skin so crisp and thin, it was more like the finest toffee. The meat itself was moist and flavoursome and the simple accompaniment of baby beans just perfect.
Paalo decided to try the fish whose name I have regretfully forgotten - but I can't be blamed I was too distracted by the suckling pig. Lovely crisp skin, perfectly cooked and served with a mix of porcini and tomatoes.
As the meal was going so well and the second bottle of Prunotto opened we decided to order the cheese plate
as usual - a fabulous selection of local cheese - from soft goat curd to wine washed - there was a cheese here to please any taste.
We probably would have been quite satisfied to finish off with cheese but not wanting the lunch to end we ended up ordering dessert.
Curtis had his eyes on one thing and it was the chocolate fondant and it was even better than he imagined. What impressed us all was just how light this was - I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of fondants because they are generally not made correctly and are overly heavy and one dimensional - sorry but not cooking your cake batter does not a fondant make. This one though couldn't be any further away from the pretenders.
Paalo went traditional and ordered the tiramisu - even this was quite a light version of a much maligned dessert.
My choice was fiore di latte gelato with mixed fresh fruits - simple but refreshing.
Our second visit to La Libera has been every bit as good as our first and Curtis declared it one of his best meals ever. If you're in Alba, you really should find the time to visit.
Ristorante Osteria La Libera
Via Elvio Pertinace, 24
0173 293 155
Lunch - Tuesday to Saturday - 12 to 2.30pm
Dinner - Monday to Saturday - 7 to 11pm
Open every day in October.
Always check the website for opening hours.