Ant – Novello
One of the highlights on my trip to Langhe, was the dinner at ANT. Honestly, using the word dinner to describe it doesn’t do it any justice. So let me rephrase: one of the highlights on my trip to Langhe was the incredible culinary experience at ANT. Alex, and the rest of the team at ANT, brought me on a journey that I didn’t even know I needed. And it’s a journey you should take as well.
The Adventure Begins
The evening started with a deep dive in their untraditional, mesmerizing wine cellar. ANT does not have a wine list. Instead, you get to pick the wines yourself, from the many options laid out before you. And they are literally laid out – along the pathway, in corners, in the wall. It felt almost like going on a treasure hunt. When you’ve found your bottle(s), you return to your table, and wait for the first dish to arrive.
No, I haven’t skipped a step. Just like there is no wine list, there is no menu. So you don’t order. They will just bring you food, one dish after another. Now, here’s where I was quite nervous. Because, believe it or not, I am a picky eater. And to not have the option to pick and choose frankly scared the shit out of me. But I decided to dive in, head first, and just embrace the concept. And I am so glad I did.
The ANT Adventure Continues
The first thing to arrive on the table was a drink, which had been prepared right beside our table. I took one sip, and wasn’t a huge fan. But then the food came. When we asked what it was, Alex told us that they normally don’t tell you what you’re eating until after. Again, my stomach did a summersault, but hey, I had decided to embrace the concept, so I did. Now, back to the drink I didn’t immediately like. With this first dish, which was something fried in a mayo ish sauce, it was a perfect match. And this would be the theme the rest of the evening.
The team at ANT managed to entertain our tastebuds the whole evening, with the most unlikely combinations of ingredients. One dish was a sort of salad with slices of salami, leaves of different sorts, tomato, strawberry, octopus and a clear sauce. Might sound quite odd, but the combination was exquisite. And this comes from someone who does not eat squid.
Throughout the evening I kept having the feeling of “I’m not sure I love it, but at the same time I can’t stop eating it and it’s actually delicious”. Because, again, I am a picky eater, but the food was just so well thought out and prepared, that it didn’t matter that I “normally don’t like this”. It was definitely a night where my tastebuds were challenged and entertained all at the same time. And I will gladly do it again. And again!
Almost all the ingredients at ANT is locally sourced. It’s also home-made. And they try to not waste any food. The ice cream we had for dessert was made with leftovers from the week before. They even try to use parts of an ingredient that normally would not be used, always keeping it interesting! And the menu changes every week, with no repeats, which means you’ll never eat the same thing twice. Like Alex said, “we cook dishes that feel like the right thing for the time and the moment”.