La Palta: Easter Lunch in Emilia

A “Ristorante-Bar” in Italy is unusual enough to sound paradoxical, but La Palta is exactly that. It combines the professional elegance of a restaurant (in this case, with a Michelen star) and the warm friendliness of the neighborhood bar. Somehow, all of this happens in a tiny village along the Tidone River, an hour and a half south of Milan and two hours north of Bologna

The secret is family. Pictured here is chef, Isa Mazzochi, along with her husband, Roberto Gazzola and sister, Monica Mazzocchi, who manage the dining room.

Isa, Roberto, Monica
After a full lunch service of over five hours, they posed for me, all smiling and full of energy and enthusiasm even with the knowledge that the dinner service was about to begin.

The food reveals Isa’s love for the local, seasonal ingredients of her own hometown and her ability to juxtapose them with creative flair.
Isa2

The starter was a lovely slice of foie gras decorated with a cracker hand made in the shape of the Easter dove.
teaser

As Antipasto, there was “My Mother’s Soup”, a Bread Soup with Spring Vegetables
soup

For the first course, a Snail Risotto with Morel Mushrooms in a base made from a leafy green (crescione) that grows wild along the river.
snails

For the main course, Rabbit with Asparagus and an Almond Pesto, Sprinkled with Boiled Egg.
rabbit

Dishes were available à la carte or four course menu (40 euro)/six course tasting menu (75 euro).

The wine list is enormous and includes an almost encyclopedic list of Italian and international wines. For the Easter lunch, Roberto suggested an artisan champagne made from old vines in a traditional way with indigenous yeasts. Clean and very dry, it was the ideal accompaniment to the meal.
champagne

By the time I finished, the dining room was beginning to empty. With large windows, it opens out onto a pastoral vista that was bursting with bright, spring green even on a grey afternoon.

main room

Before leaving, I stopped into the bar. I love the fact that it maintains its original character. Pictures of family members and locals lined the wall, and Isa’s mother, who was there, told me about them.

bar

I had the full, happy feeling of having been welcomed into the family along with an experience of true excellence.

La Palta
Località Bilegno, 67
Borgonovo Val Tidone (PC) 29011
t. 0523 862103 – m. 345 3360722
lapalta@libero.it – chiuso il lunedì

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