Al Cenacolo: A “Last Supper” in Chiavenna

Yesterday we had our family holiday big meal out at Al Cenacolo (“at the Last Supper”) in Chiavenna. Having gone that far from home, it was a big decision not to go to our beloved Lanterna Verde, but, because this place had been recommended to us by Dr. Maulé, we decided to take a chance – and were not disappointed.

Al Cenacolo is located in central Chiavenna, very easy to find. Just go through the gate shown above, and you’ll find it a few doors down on the left.

The menu is brief (there are probably seasonal changes) and totally without fish (smoked salmon appetizer doesn’t count!).

Four of us opted for the paté di fagiano (pheasant paté). We should have stuck to the restaurant critic’s rule – everyone get something different and share – because the paté was not that interesting.

It just didn’t have much flavor, and would have been better if served a little warmer and with toast, although the restaurant’s bread was excellent.

The house wine was a very good Grumello riserva (a local wine made from Nebbiolo grapes), made especially for Al Cenacolo by the Nino Negri winery, a bargain at 9 euros per half-liter, served in a very attractive carafe – I want one of these!

Ingvild and I opted to skip the first (pasta) course. Bruno and Enrico both had the tortelli d’anatra glassati (stuffed with duck breast), which were very good (I managed to get a bite of Enrico’s).

Graziella had Al Cenacolo’s version of pizzoccheri, in which the pasta was more like gnocchi, and very tastily drowned in butter and garlic. She couldn’t possibly finish it, so we all got to clean up the serving bowl.

For secondo, I had wanted the duck breast all’amarena (sour cherries), but they would not make it for fewer than two people – very disappointing as that was not specified on the menu! I hate when I make my mind up for a particular dish and then can’t have it.

So Ingvild and I both had carré di cervo (venison) served with an insufficient portion of salsa ai mirtilli neri (berry sauce). The meat itself was luscious, rich, and tender, though the presentation was unimaginative and the polenta squares boring. Roasted potatoes would have been a better accompaniment to this wonderful meat.

Enrico had a (small) leg of pork smothered in porcini, Bruno had kidney with mushrooms, and Graziella had lamb; they all said their dishes were good, but I didn’t taste them.

The dessert menu was not particularly exciting. We had two kinds of sorbet: plum drowned in Calvados, and mandarin with “two kinds of liquor” (which kinds wasn’t specified).

The total for the five of us, including one and a half liters of wine and lots of water, was about 260 euros. Altogether a worthwhile meal, even at that price, though not quite as spectacular as I would have liked.

Ristorante Al Cenacolo, via Pedretti 16, Chiavenna – closed Tuesday evening and all Wednesday – phone 0343 32123

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