Crema di topinambour con formaggio Montebore, uovo alla coque e sale affumicato
Serena y Fabrizio Rebollini
Country: Italy
City: 15060 Cantalupo Ligure (Alejandría)
Address: Pessinate, 53
(+39)0143 93138
Closed: Mondays
Price: 45 €
Tasting menu:: 32 €

The trip to Borbera Valley to discover Serena and Fabrizio Rebollini’s cuisine (aged 22 and 33) is really worth it; there is no doubt about it. This wonderful, wild and isolated place where quietness and the silence of the woods prevail is located in the south-eastern corner of Piedmont region, at the border between Lombardy and the provinces of Piacenza and Genoa. Although these regions share the same language (Ligurian), their cuisine is a mixture between the different local cultures. This small valley located on the foot of Mount Giarolo, frequented by the Genovese people who look for peace and by Swiss visitors who long to unpolluted spots, hosts small top quality farms: Quarantina potatoes in Genoa (mainly for pesto), the delicious Montebore cheese (made with raw milk, 70% cow-30% sheep, presented in three layers, like a wedding pie), vegetables (there are many vegetable gardens upstream from the valley), mushrooms, truffles and game.
Many things have changed since our first visit in 2005. We still remember how proud Fabrizio, very young then, showed us his exquisite local cuisine, while Serena still used to go to school. We remember the delicious homemade salami, the cappuccino with Parmesan cheese and boletus cream (excellent), the attractive tagliatelle with boletus, the succulent sbrisolona pie and the fragrance of the homemade bread. Nowadays, both brothers live a very dynamic life, full of passion, curiosity, movement and trips all over the world: trainings in important restaurants from Trentino, in Switzerland, together with the great Carlo Crisci, and in the United states, in 2011. With the experience they have been storing, we can say that the Rebollini brothers just do what they are expected to: they reinvent the cuisine of their land using all they have felt and seen during their trips.
We started with buttered cod with potatoes and warm tomato sauce, followed with a great Jerusalem artichoke cream with Montebore cheese, boiled egg and salt smoked with scales. The cheese is wonderfully magnified through a classical French method which, far from local standards, glorifies and raises the dairy product to haute cuisine. A dish that is worthy of Paris or London. Another proposal that perfectly reflects the chef’s work is the minestrone with pesto. In addition to the exquisiteness of the dish, the diner can fully enjoy both the land (the vegetable gardens and pesto) and the will to surpass oneself, as is confirmed by the gigantic and tasty oyster cut in half and lain over a perfect oyster sauce (training, technique and precision). Don’t miss the “bare-bottomed” raviolis which, simply spread out on the plate, express the chef’s historical knowledge. The best raviolis we have tasted in all the valley. At Fabrizio and Serena’s place, this pasta of worship, really good in all the region, is sublimely cooked: really precise taste of the stuffing, consistency of the pasta and, above all, the quality of the pinch of grated Parmesan cheese on the top. An extra old cheese that makes all the difference. You must also taste the exquisite and huge cod raviolis with sautéed tomato and marjoram. And don’t forget about the mains courses: local lamb in two versions (fried ribs and grilled leg), slice of salted cod with onion soup and capers sauce, and the gratifying thickly-cut beef “with herbs” (local breed).
Serena and Fabrizio represent the fourth generation of cooks who lead the restaurant. A responsibility they assume with the typical enthusiasm, curiosity and energy of their age. Let’s hope they will follow this path and cultivate the fields of haute cuisine of this extraordinary territory. We will support them!