The world of Boffa at Castello di Guarene

The young chef in the luxury mansion between Roero and Langa: the story of a nice dinner that goes well beyond territory

18-07-2017

The brigade at Castello di Guarene: left to right Marcello Dobrovolsky, Leonardo Bielsa, Gianluca Palomba, Mattia Bini, Orce Ilijev, Francesca Boano and chef Gabriele Boffa. One member of the kitchen staff was missing, Luca Colombo

Photogallery

Our dinner, in Tanio Liotta's photos. First appetizers: Fried chicken skin with tomato mayonnaise and a new take on the "alla bella Rosina" egg - in this case the egg is a quail egg with passion fruit
Fried nettles with Maldon salt​
Cruschi peppers with fresh ricotta, Marinated mackerel with chia chips
Sausage from Bra in Roman cabbage, Lardo, cucumber and sesame seeds, Corn chips, tomato sauce and avocado

There’s young Armin Causevic, from Bosnia, passionate and competent, who tells you about his passion for local wines, even the lesser known, and would spend hours telling you about a forgotten grape variety, about how Nascetta should be more appreciated...

There’s George Marica, from Romania, who runs the dining room admirably: he was the one to pick Causevic, who was working in a simple agritourism, to complete the high quality team.

There’s Leonardo Bielsa in the kitchen, the partly Swiss, partly Spanish sous chef, with his fiance’ Nicole, 100% Swiss from Berne, with a contagious smile, who instead takes care of the service, presents the dishes with love and not just those made by her partner.

There’s also Orce Ilijev from Macedonia in the kitchen, together with “our own" Francesca Boano (she was part of the Identità Expo super team), and other determined guys, supported by another Rumenian, Marcello Dobrovolsky.

Guarene castle

Guarene castle

In other words there’s a fresh, fertile international breeze that finally makes the kitchen at Castello di Guarene younger. The beautiful Relais & Châteaux until a few months ago was using blinkers but now has opened its view onto the world, which is in fact the best way to present this beautiful area (even in terms of gastronomy): we’re in Roero but Langhe are a few metres away. From above, there’s a panoramic view embracing Alba, and «Barbaresco, and Treiso over there» mentions the first author of this change that looks at the future.

We met Gabriele Boffa, born in 1987, at Expo: like Boano he was also in the team of Andrea Ribaldone at Identità, and he was already considered a great talent. Over the past few years he’s acquired more important experience, for instance in Mexico at Pujol (he told us about it in these two pieces: Il mio Messico in due bocconi e Il Messico: street food e mercati) after getting a good acquaintance of France – with Yannick Alléno – and Brazil with Lasai in Rio de Janeiro. An open minded training that comes very useful, now he has to face the best Piedmont, in a location with scarily high expectations: made in the 18th century, the castle accomplished a dream of Carlo Giacinto Roero, lord of Guarene.

Today it’s a luxury hotel (since 2014) and an important stop in the Piedmontese Baroque itinerary, with sixteen sumptuous bedrooms and a balconade dominating the over 60 km of UNESCO territory, with a glimpse of Monferrato.

Dining indoors...

Dining indoors...

...or outdoors

...or outdoors

Gabriele Boffa

Gabriele Boffa

Boffa faces the challenge with a rather cocky assertivity that comes from his age, his personality, his pride - he aims to become a prophet in his country, as he was born in Diano d'Alba – and by trusting his means. Which are significant, if you think that he’s been here since March the 15th and he’s already serving a convincing and most of all not banal menu. He speaks of percentages: «50% local, 30% from the rest of Piedmont, the rest from around the world» and his effort is that of interpreting the latter with a local view, «no umeboshi, no soy, but we can recreate the same flavours with Italian products, can’t we?». Let’s agree, even because the tasting is successful, as in the case of when he refers to the aroma of Mexican chilli peppers and he recreates it with our Italian cruschi peppers.

Two tasting menus (60 euros for 6 courses, 80 for 8), 7 in the brigade plus 2 interns arriving soon, seating 35 people maximum for a gourmet experience portrayed by Tanio Liotta, with his photos in the photogallery. Good first take!

Castello di Guarene
Via Alessandro Roero, 2 – Guarene (Cn)
Tel: +39 0173 441332
www.castellodiguarene.com


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Carlo Mangio

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One thing is for sure: the destination is delicious, by Carlo Passera


Photogallery

Our dinner, in Tanio Liotta's photos. First appetizers: Fried chicken skin with tomato mayonnaise and a new take on the "alla bella Rosina" egg - in this case the egg is a quail egg with passion fruit
Fried nettles with Maldon salt​
Cruschi peppers with fresh ricotta, Marinated mackerel with chia chips
Sausage from Bra in Roman cabbage, Lardo, cucumber and sesame seeds, Corn chips, tomato sauce and avocado
Italian style cheviche: raw ombrina, coriander oil, juniper, sauce of cherry tomatoes, of chilli pepper, of orange, of beetroot. Very good
Courgette, saras del fen, tomato, egg yolk with saffron: fresh, delicate, convincing
Cod, porcini, bagnèt verd
Seared calamari, ovuli reali, cellina olive and mustardela, adding that extra touch
A great, surprising dish: Entrecote, just seared, wild hop, cruschi pepper sauce, buckwheat. Almost a carpaccio, Piedmont has a new face
Risotto with carrots, ginger, pink pepper, eel lacquered with carrot. The eel is fantastic, the mix tends to sweetness but the balance works
Turbot, fennel, cream of lemon, fried cartilage fritta: masterful skills
Pigeon, braised shallot, tomato, ginger, black lemon from Mexico with nuts: the pigeon is matured for two weeks in hay, the heart is in brine, the leg is panfried, delicious