In this area it seems like trattorias are slowly disappearing and sadly being replaced by pizzerias. Pizzerias are not bad, but you wouldn’t go there just for a plate of pasta. Trattorias on the other hand are no-frills type of restaurants described as cooking “casalinga” style, meaning hearty down-home cooking at low prices. “Casalinga” literally means housewife! It seems that when you do find a trattoria, they are not as cheap as they used to be and prices are at least about 30 euros/person.

In the Saluzzo area, there is still one safe bet when looking to eat enormous quantities, good quality and unbeatable prices. Trattoria Commercio is in the center of a tiny town called Venasca at the foot of the Alps. I had been saving up my appetite for a week so I would be ready to eat their acclaimed Gnocchi alla Val Varaita. I have talked about these heavy caloric bombs many times in my posts, but these are the best around! The owner told me that they took over this trattoria about 13 years ago and wanted to keep a traditional menu but improve the quality. She told me that they make these fluffy homemade gnocchi fresh every morning and are lucky to have great tasting potatoes from the hillside. If there is a year when the potatoes are not so good, they use them to make a lot of mashed potatoes!

Because they always have the same menu, I recommend going once or twice a year when you really have a cheesy buttery gnocchi craving. Here is what was served this Sunday.

vitello tonnato
cheese souffle on toasted bread
snails in “diavola”red sauce
tongue with “bagnet verde”
gnocchi val varaita with browned butter and cheese
braised Venison and potatoes
homemade Fruit Tart
Wine: Barbera D’Asti
Price: from 25-28 euros

You can’t beat that but don’t go there if you are on a diet!

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