The trip continues...
We dropped by Tsé-Tsé studio in Paris to meet Sigolène Prébois - one of the two creators of the beautiful range of porcelain dishes we stock. These handmade exquisite pieces each take up to a week to make - longer if the weather is bad or they are glazed with the gold or platinum. When they started in 1995 they approached Limoges but were turned away as they were asking for something beyond the norm with their quest for the uneven mutable feel which is their signature.
Sigolène herself loves to mix the pieces, using them daily. She enjoys the feel of the cups in her hands for coffee or tea, or cooking with the white porcelain pieces which are stronger than their fineness would indicate and are ovenproof. She loves the solidity, the feel and the sound as well as the look of her range. "The deformities are the beauty," she says.
From Paris we travelled to Piedmont in Italy and picked up a car for the first time this trip. Phil had been missing the long drives of previous journeys! Unlike the cities we had been in until now this area is easy to drive around with its rolling hills of vineyards and quiet roads aside from the many keen cyclists. It is an area famous for not only wine, but also hazelnuts, confectionary and more - our suppliers of Rocca wine, Alfieri pasta, Mandrile and Melis filled cuneesi, Flamigni panettone, Venchi rum chocolate, Pastiglie Leone pastilles and Fratelli Comino breadsticks are all here - and of course then there are the famous white truffles.
Tartuflanghe the provider of our excellent truffle salt, a sauce or two and the very moreish truffled potato chips were our first stop. As we did not arrive until late Friday afternoon production was over so we met the owners and admired the spotless truffle washing and cooking areas. As mentioned in a previous blog we had eaten a lot of potato chips in Spain, including a few of the truffled brands and can report on comparison the Tartuflanghe ones to be stronger in flavour, cut thicker and more protectively packaged.
There are many beautiful little towns to visit in this region and quite a few good restaurants, but our time is always limited so we followed our tradition of over 17 years of staying in the town of Barolo itself and enjoying a meal typical of the area more excellently executed than most at 'La Cantinetta'. Aside from the many wine shops and the museum of wine where you can taste many of the fine Barolo of this region the town also has a bar and tasting room set up three years by a couple from Turin who decided to follow their dreams. At 'La Vita Turchese' Stefano will treat you to a talk, complete with map and detail, on every wine you try. To accompany this you can try the local hazelnuts, cheese and cured meats.
We also visited Federica Rocca, of wine fame, to meet her gorgeous seven month old baby girl. Poor Federica had spent the last few nights up with the normally delightful Ginevra, who had a temperature, worrying as any new mother does. We enjoyed a walk around the ancient town of Saluzzo to give us all some fresh air.