Enrico Crippa is part of a comparatively youthful band of Italian chefs pushing the boundaries while simultaneously respecting regional culinary traditions. Born in Carate Brianza to the north of Milan, Crippa’s CV is as carefully considered as his moustache, detailing spells with Ferran Adrià, Michel Bras and Italian maestro Gualtiero Marchesi.
A spell in Japan – he opened a restaurant in Kobe for Marchesi back in 1996 – had a marked impact on Crippa’s cooking style that can still be felt today at his chic and rather feminine restaurant in Alba, the beating heart of Italy’s truffle industry. His more experimental dishes are concerned with purity of concept above all else: high impact but simple seasonal dishes with few overt bells and whistles save the odd bit of on-the-plate trickery. ‘Olives’ are constructed with minced veal and langoustine, while ‘fake pepper’ is deftly fashioned from tuna and anchovy pastes. The more creative side of the menu is balanced by more classic fare such as suckling pig and endives, veal sweetbread and artichoke or Fassona veal tartare.
Piazza Duomo is the result of a collaboration with the Ceretto family, an influential Piedmontese dynasty which produces much of the region’s famed wine and produce. As such, Crippa gets first pick of some spectacular produce: game, woodland mushrooms and, of course, truffles. The optimum time to visit the restaurant is in October and November when the white truffle season is in full swing and Crippa offers a truffle menu of legendary decadence.