Mauro Musso has a terrific story, one that starts with him pulling off his supermarket employee uniform, and following the whim to create Casa dei Tajarin, an artisan pasta workshop he runs out of the ground floor of his parents' home in Alba.
|Images © Katie Parla|
His tajarin are made with rare flours from ancient autoctonous grains and cereals, only the best in biodynamic and GMO-free staples sourced from Mulino Marino, Italy's premier heritage grain supplier, and organic eggs. Mauro spoke briefly before the carb-fest that followed, and passionately told us how his main focus was to provide a healthy, all-natural version of the traditional pasta of Piedmont's Langhe region, with digestibility taking first place, even before flavor. But I can assure you that the taste of his tajarin is exceptional. The dressings were very mild and subtly brought out the different flavors of the flours used in each different tajarin kind we tasted.
Here's the menu:
Tajarin made with einkorn flour, dressed with Taggiasca olive oil and cracked black pepper.
No wine was paired with this dish in order to avoid interference with the flavor of the "Enkir" pasta.
Soft wheat tajarin called 'Gentil Bianco' dressed with Beppe's Alpine raw milk butter, and white Alba truffles. We drank Champagne Brut Chauvet Carte Blanche with this one.
Soft wheat tajarin called 'Rosso delle Langhe,' dressed in a mild stockfish sauce. The 2009 southern Burgundy Chardonnay Domaine des Fossiles Brinonnais was a pleasant first for me.
White rye eggless rolled pasta salad, with toasted nuts, and three varieties of cubed cheese (goat's–, sheep's– and cow's milk). We paired these to a 2007 German Weingut Tesch "Unplugged" Riesling.
More Einkorn flour tajarin tossed with mixed vegetables and thyme. The wine was a 2004 Friulano "Galea" by I Clivi di Corno di Rosazzo.
Next up was "Sapori Antichi" tajarin, a blend of Einkorn, spelt, kamut, and rye dressed in a rabbit ragù. I gobbled it up so fast, I forgot to take a picture. With the meat sauce, we switched to a 2004 Barbaresco "Montestefano" of Cantina Baldo Rivella.
The triple "Khorasan" flour tajarin with a 3-meat ragù was the last sample, and by this time I was tipsy, so I only had a sip of Barolo Cantina Giulio Viglione (2004).
The platter of mixed cheeses that followed, had a smear of organic fig jam, pomegranate kernels and walnut meats. Oh, and a slice of fresh pear. The Robiola, Torretta di Capra and the Toma were my favorites.
At midnight my babysitter started freaking out, so I sadly had to skip dessert, which was the typical Piedmontese Panna Cotta. I'm sorry I couldn't stay and chat with the other participants sitting in the other rooms, and mostly that I couldn't say good-bye to Mauro, the tajarin master.
It was great to learn about his small pasta operation, and it was a treat to share the meal and wine with such a wonderful group of friends, all with one thing in common: love for good food.
Flash cut to today at noon. I'm meeting a fellow blogger/foodie friend visiting from out of town at Bonci's Pizzarium, and guess who was delivering three crates of assorted tajarin to be sold at the famed pizza shrine?
Needles to say I managed to say good-bye this time.