Dinner with the Vajras
@ Locanda dell’Arco, Cissone, Piedmont, Italy (7/3/2016)

After my visit to the G.D. Vajra Winery, Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isi Vaira, children of the owners, Aldo and Milena Vaira, took me to dinner at Locanda dell’Arco in the lovely mountaintop town of Cissone.

The restaurant Locanda dell’Arco is justifiably famous. Owner Giuseppe Giordano is the perfect host. And the setting is exquisite.

Cissone is about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of the town of Barolo. You have to drive up a winding mountain road (SP187) to get there. Cissone has a population of fewer than 100 people.
© Google Maps.

For each image, I have posted a compressed (and possibly cropped) version. Click on it to see the original, much larger image.

Arriving at the restaurant:

Giuseppe & Isi Vaira chat with owner Giuseppe Giordano:

Up the hill to the left of the restaurant is the yellow Parish Church of Santa Lucia
[S. Lucia was a virgin martyr and patron of the blind, the oculists, and the electricians],
and the old stone post office:

Our table is set:

Fagottino di Bresaola con Formaggio Caprino, legato con Erba Cipollina
(bundle of bresaola filled with goat cheese, tied with chives).
Photo on the left by Francesca Vaira.
Antipasti Misti
Clockwise from top left: Vitello Tonnato (finely sliced veal with tuna sauce),
Vitella Carne Cruda (local raw veal with anchovy sauce & shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano),
Insalata di Coniglio Grigio di Carmagnola con Tuma di Murazzano
(gray rabbit salad with Murazzano cheese):

Another Appetizer
Funghi Porcini sott’olio con Bresaola e scaglie di Parmigiano
(Porcini mushrooms in olive oil with Bresaola and Parmigiano-Reggiano).

Gnocchi di patate con toma frabosina di pura capra stagionata nel carbone vegetale
(Potato gnocchi in a sauce made with ash-covered goat cheese).

Coniglio ai Lamponi (rabbit with raspberries).

Fresh fruit and gelato and maybe a peach sauce?

A dog wanders through. Not uncommon while dining al fresco:

Francesca & Isi. The love in this family is pretty obvious:

What a spot for dinner, eh?

FWG chats with Giuseppe Giordano & Giuseppe Vaira:
Photo by Isi Vaira.

The FWG with Giuseppe Giordano & the Vairas:


The food and the setting were wonderful, only to be matched by the wines and the hospitality of the Vajra family. A magical evening.

Time to go nighty night:

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker.


The next morning, I started with a visit to Cantina Bartolo Mascarello.



All original content © Ken Vastola