When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Tucked away in the Po Valley, Da Manuela is a restaurant worth returning to for its ambience and salami for antipasto. And dessert!

ravioli is ready

We are straddling the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy: with Alessandria on one side, Pavia on the other. Down the middle, acting as the glue and marking the territory, runs the great river Po with its characteristic vegetation, silences and torrid summers; or, as in this season, its tremendous fog, and wouldn't you know: snow. I first wrote about Da Manuela in this same column in November 2001, (it feels like yesterday), and have now returned in December 2010. The allure has not faded.

Although it is situated close to the main traffic arteries, not far from the city, you're in another world. I don't know what it's like in the summer but in this snowy winter the place is truly magical.

Quit the main road (don't panic: you'll find your way easily with a GPS), leaving the ugliness and the cement of the city outskirts behind you, you find yourself in a green paradise, with an enormous, welcoming car park, surrounded on all sides by a garden, the tall trees dripping with icicles.

Climb a few steps framed in wood to enter this wonderfully dated, sprawling establishment, crammed with nooks, shelves, old-fashioned furniture, various ornaments, wrap-around seating and corners. Some of the rooms and lounges offer intimacy, even when it gets crowded. Perhaps most atmospheric, is the large dining room paneled in old wood with windows overlooking the surrounding countryside. Lucky are the couples in love who dine this well in such a romantic setting, and so close to the city. To sum up, here you'll discover a simple, rustic, bourgeois approach harking back to another era, which warms the heart.

The first thing to warm the stomach will be the homemade salami, followed by a hearty, cream of white bean soup, fried leeks and vegetable mousse. Then there's a little bit of everything and little of something (always well done!) to satisfy all tastes: excellent coppa (salt and air-cured pork), cotechino sausage, smoke-cured trout carpaccio, risotto, salami, frog legs (locally caught), black truffles, ravioli with braised duck sauce (slow-cookedall'Alessandrina), pasta fagioli(pasta and bean soup), beef braised in Bonardared wine, stewed chicken, eel, perch-trout, tripe, spare ribs with cabbage. Among the dozens (!) of cheeses, not to be missed is the alpeggio cheese produced by Massimo Bernardini in the Piedmont village of Viceno Crodo.

Among the twenty (!) homemade desserts, sample the gelato, a chocolate "salami" and walnut cake with warm zabaglione ...All is made with products that are mostly local and from the Piedmont region, for a total bill of 45-55 € per person.

RISTORANTE MANUELA ISOLASANT'ANTONIO (AL), VIA PO 31 TEL. 0131.857177 3394340032 FAX 0131.857454 Open Tues-Sun.

Read the original article in Italian

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Along The "New Border" Of Ukraine, Annexation Has Just Doubled The Danger

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukrainian territories in a ceremony in the Kremlin. In a village just a few kilometers away from what is now the Ukraine-Russia "border" in Putin's eyes, life continues amid constant shelling and the fear of what comes next.

Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in the village of Inhulka, near Kherson.

Stefan Schocher

INHULKA — The trail leads over a gravel road, a rickety pontoon bridge past a checkpoint. Here in the remote village of Inhulka near Kherson in southern Ukraine, soldiers sit in front of the village shop. Inside, two women run back and forth behind the counter, making coffee, selling sausages, weighing tomatoes. "Natalochka, where are the cookies," calls a dark-haired lady across the room.

But Natalochka, her colleague, is about to lose her nerve. "What kind of life is that?" she says, finally reaching up to grab the cookies from the top of a shelf. What kind of life can it be, she asks, when something is constantly exploding next to you and you don't know if you'll wake up in the morning.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Inhulka is the center of a rural community. 1,587 inhabitants, as the village chief says, one school, one kindergarten, one doctor, two stores. Since March, nothing here is as it used to be. That was when the Russian army came to the village.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ