Guido da Costigliole

Relais San Maurizio

Località San Maurizio, 39

2058 S.Stefano Belbo (CN) - Italy

Tel.: + 39 0141 841900

Fax. +39 0141 843833

November 2007

Alciati is without question the most celebrated name in Piedmontese cuisine. For decades Guido Alciati, his wife Lidia and their family ran Guido, the landmark restaurant in Costigliole d’Asti. Guido attracted diners from all over the world for Lidia’s sublime cooking and Guido’s legendary wine list. Upon Guido’s passing some years ago, his sons Pietro and Andrea went their separate ways. Pietro opened his version of Guido in the beautiful gastronomical complex in Pollenzo, which is worth a visit just to see the grounds. Unfortunately I have had mixed experiences both times I have eaten there.

This was my first visit to Andrea’s Guido, which is located in the gorgeous Relais San Maurizio in the heart of Moscato country.  The restaurant itself is beautifully appointed. The tables are spaced far apart but the vaulted ceiling gives a sense of intimacy. As we walked in the heady aromas of white truffles seemed to bounce off the walls of the dining room much like a voice reverberates in a cathedral. An extensive cellar lies below, full of treasures from all of the region’s top producers. For a very reasonable corkage fee of 10 euros the restaurant will serve any wine a diner brings in. There are also personal lockers for those who want to store their own wines at the restaurant. Angelo Gaja has lockers #1 and #2. Customers who have access to their own truffles can bring them in and have a menu custom-designed around the truffle. I am not sure what this is called, BYOT perhaps, but the idea of walking into Guido with my own truffles sounds immensely appealing. I have made a note to try this next time.

Da Guido serves mostly lighter, refined versions of the area’s classic dishes. The vitello tonnato was wonderful and delicate as were Lidia’s agnolotti, which we sampled in two versions. Agnolotti al Plin is the classic preparation of agnolotti filled with meat and seasoned with butter and sprinkle of Parmiggiano Reggiano. The Agnolotti di Lidia were served on a linen napkin, with no seasoning or sauce, a tradition that harkens back to the old Piedmontese custom which called for the agnolotti to be served unseasoned to the family patriarch for his approval prior or being served to the rest of the family. This antiquated tradition is of course no longer practiced, but it was great to taste the agnolotti in this pure, unadulterated fashion. What can I say about the poached egg with white truffles? It was sublime. If there is a more sensual dish in the world, I have yet to discover it, particularly when paired with a Barolo or Barbaresco of similar stature. The brasato, served with a condiment of chocolate, was also delicious, although I admit a fondness for the more simple Piedmontese dishes. I am not a huge dessert person, so the delicious small pastries that were brought out with the coffee were just perfect.

Angelo Gaja’s 2001 Chardonnay Gaia e Rey is one of the better versions of this wine. It offered plenty of varietal character and a beautifully woven, caressing fabric but frankly I had a hard time understanding it. As good as this wine was it simply couldn’t compare to a top-level Chardonnay from Burgundy or California. Giacomo Conterno’s 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino enjoyed a stellar showing. It was of course much too young but still delivered immense pleasure in ripe, generous style. The 1997 Monfortino remains one of the greatest wines from this vintage, and it was superb on this night. I can’t think of another wine I enjoy more at the end of dinner in Piedmont than Paolo Saracco’s Moscato d’Asti “Moscato d’Autunno” which is a benchmark for fine Moscato. The 2007 was rich, creamy and generous on the palate, with gorgeous inner perfume and terrific overall balance. It was the perfect wine with which to finish this superb dinner. 


Vitello tonnato

Agnolotti al Plin

Agnolotti di Lidia

Poached egg with white truffles

Brasato al Barolo 



Gaja Chardonnay Gaia e Rey



Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino



Saracco Moscato d’Asti “Moscato d’Autunno”


--Antonio Galloni