Archive for the ‘orta’ Category

Date visited: 29 May 2011

After booking lunch at Villa Crespi, situated by Lake Orta in Orta San Guilio, we discovered that the bus from Stresa to Orta was not running as it was still low season. This wasn’t going to put us off though. We discovered that Lake Orta lay on the other side of Mottarone (a mountain standing above Stresa at around 1500m) so we decided to have a crack at walking/hiking from our hotel directly to the restaurant via an alpine mountain – why not burn the calories in advance of consuming them?

The scenery and the forest scents were absolutely spectacular. One boat, two cable cars to the top and a 17km walk down later, we reached the restaurant, decorated in the style of an Arabian palace – a very welcome oasis. After a quick change of shoes and a splash of water on my face, we were sat in a lovely patio facing the garden sipping a lovely franciacorta and sampling about 10 amuse bouches.

20110529-200643.jpgWe chose the ‘Taste of Italy from South to North’ tasting menu. Every dish was delicious and the wine well matched, only using Italian wines. Notable dishes are: a lovely amuse bouche of oyster with cucumber and yoghurt (my new favourite way of eating oysters), scampi and scallops served on a skewer with apple an celeriac broth, and gnocchi with seaweed and venus clams. They also served a tasty foie gras, scallop and pigeon course, but we both felt slightly overwhelmed by the richness and could not finish it. I was also disappointed by the cheeses but maybe once you’ve had cheese at Ledoyen and Arpege you have ruined all cheese experiences for life.

Dessert was excellent an fruit-based (I’ve decided that no restaurant should serve chocolate in the summer) and I really enjoyed the final wine pairing (unfortunately cant remember the wine: maybe Chambave Muscat 2009, certainly something sparkling and appley).

The staff were laid back, friendly but still professional. We chatted with a few people – of course showing off our 2.5 hour trek and learning from them about the history of the building. It was a wonderful lunch and a great end to our trip. Judging by the number of maseratis in the car park, you’ll pay a mean price to stay in one of the 14 luxurious hotel suites, but one can dream!

Read Full Post »