It seems like only yesterday that I was in Liguria... instead it has already been over four months and a lot has happened. I have met so many wonderful people who revolve around the world of Stars & Goblets and, in particular, to Lives on the Riviera [pictured is the very nice manager Gianni Boffredo, I am waiting for this article to be printed as well since I have chosen our picture as the cover!] I had the opportunity to taste many excellent Ligurian productsoften also Slow Food Presidia. I met new wineries and had new confirmations from wineries I already knew because they had sent me samples of their wines over the past year. I got to meet new friends and reacquaint myself with 'old' ones. But above all I had the opportunity to discover the Michelin-starred cuisine of three Michelin chefs... and tonight it is Gian Piero Vivalda's turn! 😍

Stars & Goblets is a beautiful idea of the business network "Lives on the Riviera". Founded in 2015, it groups together 25 wine and olive-growing companies of the Riviera di Ponente, making them stronger and more competitive in market penetration, and is a unique reality in the Liguria region (and not only there!). Stelle & Calici is a gourmet journey through the flavours of Liguria that is divided into 4 dinners where seasonal regional gastronomic excellences and Slow Food presidia are interpreted by 4 Michelin-starred chefs 'off the premises' and paired with PDO and PGI wines from the Riviera di Ponente. And as it is, doesn't it tickle your fancy to take part in the last stage? We'll have a nice toast together with the Piganò sparkling wine from Viticoltori Ingauni😍

Beautiful this photo of Eunice Brovida portraying, from the left, the Chef Gian Piero Vivalda, Massimo Enrico (President of Vite in Riviera) and Chef Fabrizio Barontini.

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - The Journey

Just this once I went to Liguria by train... the taxi service of Morris in his beautiful yellow Fiat 500! During the trip we had fun creating a series of stories on Instagram... have you seen them?

What a beautiful railway line that runs along the. Ligurian Sea! A pleasure to ride it on a beautiful sunny day! Although it was a long, long way to get there... Luckily, we stopped off at theBioVio agritourism before dinner for a restorative snack of hazelnut cake and coffee. Then a nice shower... and off to the aperitif prepared by the chef Fabrizio Barontini!😋

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - Chef Gian Piero Vivalda

But who is the Chef Gian Piero Vivaldawho has been awarded a second Michelin star in his restaurant Antica Corona Reale in Cerverein the province of Cuneo?

A historic Relais&Chateaux address between the Langhe and Monviso that celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2016, the restaurant run by the Vivalda family for five generations started out as a farmstead, to achieve - then - with the new millennium the culinary recognition that everyone knows. Chef-patron Gian Piero, with backgrounds at Georges Blanc and Alain Ducasse, creates menus devoted to excellence, proposing a colourful, fragrant, transparent cuisine characterised by high-level executions. The maison soon became a reference point for Italian and international gourmets, but also for numerous companies linked to the territory that supply him with capons, guinea fowl, veal, Carmagnola peppers, porcini mushrooms, and much more. [Michelin Guide Inspector].

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - The menu of 28 February/1 March

I found this menu the most successful from an architectural point of view. Reading the dishes intertwines Ligurian ingredients and Piedmontese preparations... and immediately my eye fell on the financier, whom I love madly!

The artichoke Spinoso d'Albenga, also known as Violetto d'Albenga, is a delicious artichoke that has the characteristic of being particularly tender and having a distinctly sweet tendency. I Oneglia red prawns they are delicious, especially raw... and sucking the head from the purple highlights is a unique experience for me! Le taggiasca olives I think they are one of the most famous Ligurian ingredients... impossible not to love them! The black truffle from Val Pennavaire is another border excellence between Liguria and Piedmont. The grey rabbit of Carmagnola is a traditional Piedmontese breed that owes its colour to its medium-sized chinchilla relative. It has an excellent yield, with lots of muscle and tender, not very stodgy meat. The Roccaverano kid is another delicious Piedmontese ingredient from the Langhe area. The Savona chinotto is a Slow Food Presidium that I would consume every hour of the day! Once upon a time, chinottos were candied using a long and laborious process that started with seawater, where they were soaked for several weeks. Historically, chinottos in maraschino were considered a delicious digestive that found a place on the counters of Italian and French bars. Why is it no longer used?

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - Chef Fabrizio Barontini's aperitif

It was certainly the best performance of all the Stelle & Calici aperitifs. Everything was delicious and I couldn't tell you what I enjoyed the most. Perhaps the salt cod? Maybe the sandwiches with mini chickpea burgers and caramelised red onion sauce? The idea of enhancing everything with edible flowers, which not only give colour but also flavour, is beautiful... Lentil Artichokes and Begonia - Peas, Centa Caviar - Olive Tomato and Celestine Agerato, Polenta Cod and Viola - Chickpeas Cuttlefish nasturtium.

What is certain is that the Piganò sparkling wine from Viticoltori Ingauni went well with all... degreasing to perfection and enhancing the delicate flavours elaborated by the chef. Straw yellow, fine and numerous perlage, with notes of citron and mango on the nose and a savoury and very fresh taste.

Chef Gian Piero Vivalda - the starter: Cuttlefish Martini from the Ligurian Gulf, Spina d'Albenga artichokes and Oneglia red prawns

The cuttlefish is artfully worked... and not at all taken for granted even for a chef of Vivalda's level. Fried artichokes are perfect and delicious. The artichoke puree amalgamates the flavours... delicious. I would have loved the red prawns from Oneglia raw... although I understand that it is not easy to put a crudo on a menu for so many people because not everyone likes it. Paired with two Pigato RLP DOC 2017 wines: Torre Pernice (which I already told you about in my last article that I invite you to read HERE) e Calleri Cellars. It is crystal clear and consistent straw yellow. The nose is very citrine, iodine and brackish, with pleasant notes of hydrocarbons and herbs. In the mouth it has a present pseudo-caloricity, but is nevertheless fresh, pleasantly fatty and long.

Chef Gian Piero Vivalda - the first course: Ravioli del plin with grey rabbit, Spina d'Albenga artichoke and Val Pennavaire black truffle

Absolutely the most successful dish of the evening... and I would say the most successful starter of all the Stelle & Calici evenings to date! The texture of the pasta is perfect, the taste of the filling is libidinous, the artichoke puree (the same as in the starter in my opinion) is always divine... and the truffle is worked in a very pleasant way. All the flavours are crisp and very well balanced. Paired with two Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC wines. Branch has a particularly interesting nose, intense and spicy, with notes of blueberries, cocoa, coffee powder. In the mouth it is still intense, soft, elegant and very fresh... overall very balanced. It has a somewhat rough finish (the tannins still need to round out) that is rather long. Foresti is completely different, already from the colour that turns more towards garnet. Undoubtedly the product of a slightly later harvest than the first, it has a broader nose in which toasted and spicy notes are joined by those of dried rose, leather, cherries in spirit and red fruit jam. In the mouth it is very soft but still fresh, with nice tannin and a very pleasant finish.

Chef Gian Piero Vivalda - the main course: Roccaverano kid on an olive spit, winter caponata with taggiasche olives and his finanziera

Ah, how much I love finanziera... and this is without doubt the best I have ever eaten! I would have licked the bottom of the pan for at least an hour in a way that not even my little fox would have managed! The kid is also quite tender and the 'golden' version is delicious. In combination we have two Granaccia wines RLP DOC 2015 very different from each other. Shalok from Poggio dei Gorleri Winery is a deep, impenetrable ruby red. When the glass is swirled, it forms regular, closely spaced arches that betray its high alcohol content. The nose is intertwined with notes of ink, undergrowth and morello cherry under spirits. In the mouth it is round, ripe, with notes of jammy fruit and sweet spices. The pseudo-caloricity is a little unbalanced and the tannins are still a little aggressive... but still very fresh and with a very long finish that veers towards cocoa. In the mouth, it needs a few more months in the bottle to express itself at its best. Innocenzo Turco's grit is completely different... I had already tasted it among the samples I was invited to take home the first time! It is a beautiful semi-transparent ruby red with garnet hues. On the nose strawberry jam, fresh raspberries, white pepper, rosehip, royal jelly, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the mouth it is hard, very savoury and with slightly green tannins. Nice final length.

Chef Gian Piero Vivalda - dessert: White chocolate and Savona chinotto mousse

What an extraordinary dessert! Chef Vivalda wins easily here with me: I am as addicted to white chocolate as I am to Savona chinotto... and if you put them together I enjoy it in an indescribable way! Good, very good! The chinotto jelly inside balanced the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly with its bitter tendency. Paired with the Passito di Pigato 2010 from La Vecchia Cantina which I found very good. It has a beautiful golden colour with amber highlights. The nose has notes of zabaglione, hazelnut, salted caramel, macadamia nuts and peach in syrup. In the mouth it is so savoury that it almost has a marsalata tendency. Great structure and great final length. A perfect match thanks to its savouriness.

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - after dinner bubbles do we have any?

Don't you want to end your dinner with a bubble? Ramoino's choice is perfect, with this masterpiece from 'La Vecchia Cantina' that never fails to make me fall in love with its creamy perlage, its citrus and mentholated aromas and its taste-olfactory balance. I do not know the disgorgement... perhaps a little recent, I would let it rest a little longer.

Time for reflections, photos, greetings, hugs... after a high level dinner where we ate divinely and drank better. The level of the wines was very high, I found no discordant notes... and I struggle to tell you which one I liked best. The pairings were all well constructed, with the excellence touched by the two Rossese di Dolceacqua wines with ravioli del plin.

Superb service by the Migliorini Hotel School students from Finale Ligurewho fulfilled my every bizarre request about service, spittoons and bottles.

This time it was the turn of the FISAR sommeliers for room service and I must say that they were very good and professional although in the explanations of wines I will be honest... The absence of Imperia's AIS delegate Augusto Manfredi I felt so mucha lot, a lot!

Vite in Riviera, Stelle e Calici - a spritz to say goodbye!

We may see each other often by now, with some more and some less, but it is always a pleasure to share these beautiful experiences with you! With the three talented instagrammers Adriano Amoretti, Matteo Franco and John Murnarne by @cantinasocial and with my fellow bloggers Patrizio Busa ( e Morris Lazzoni ( is never enough (and not even enough to drink...). So here we are, making our last toast before going to sleep, this time with a spritz prepared in the only bar in Ortovero open after a certain hour! The bartender looked at me like a rare animal when I asked for a Hugo.... 

So much for those who wage wars and those who have nothing better to do than criticise each other... we continue to love each other... cheers! 🥂😍

If you don't visit me in my beloved pond first... meet me on 29 March for the last leg of Stelle & Calici with Chef Marco Sacco (**Michelin).

I was also sorry not to say hello to my table neighbour and his sweetheart who was expecting... a 24-year-old phenomenon whom I didn't know but hope to meet again! I'm fascinated by their love story now... how cute!!! Good luck guys!

Vite in Riviera, Stars and Goblets - back to BioVio

Returning to the BioVio farm was wonderful. Let's be clear, even at Torre Pernice for the second leg I had a really good time... but what is it they say? You never forget your first love! And neither does thehospitality by Chiara or the his daughter Carolina's cakes! By the way... the Piedmont hazelnut cake you welcomed me with was nothing short of amazing... would you give me the recipe? 😍 This time I was in a different room from the first one, on the first floor... really giant and beautiful, almost bigger than my flat (well the living room certainly bigger😁)! The rooms have a very comfortable lift that goes directly into the room, and from what you can see in the photos, an amazing upgrade has been done!

All in all, the third leg of the Stelle & Calici (Stars & Goblets) trip organised by Vite in Riviera was also a wonderful experience... I can't wait until 29 March for the last leg... even though I will miss these Ligurian sojourns! Shall we organise something magical on the Riviera again? By the way, I have decided that I will draw up 'the perfect menu' with the 4 best dishes of each evening... and also with the 4 perfect wines to go with them!

For now, I will reveal what is my personal ranking of the best dishes, i.e. my 'combination menu' constructed with a dish from each chef according to my personal rating:

Stars & Goblets, stage 3 - first

Chef Gian Piero Vivalda

"Ravioli al plin di Coniglio Grigio, Carciofo spina d'Albenga e Tartufo Nero della Val Pennavaire" (Ravioli with grey rabbit, Albenga thorn artichoke and Val Pennavaire black truffle)

Stars & Goblets, stage 2 - second

Chef Igles Corelli

'Shank and Belly of Cabannina pushed© with wild sour cherry and soft celeriac'

Stars & Goblets, stage 1 - first

Chef Tommaso Arrigoni

'Tart, lemon cream, pear, chocolate and caper wafer'

Will the hors d'oeuvre really be the dish of the evening in stage 4?

Will the Chef Marco Sacco of Ristorante Il Piccolo Lago (2 Michelin stars) to confirm my idea of the perfect 'combination menu'? 😋

I'll tell you about it after 29 March! Remember to book because places are very limited and the 28 March evening is already sold out!

Have you ever tasted any of these Ligurian wines? Have you ever tasted the cuisine of one of these chefs? Write me in a comment below what you think!

Cheers ❤🍷



P.S. Morris, do you remember what the heck we were laughing at? Maybe you wrote it in your article on Vino per Passione... so if you like, go and read it now by clicking HERE.

P.P.S. For the most beautiful photos, i.e. those without my ubiquitous logo, thanks to photographer Eunice Brovida. For all other photos we thank Sony Italy and for providing me with my beloved little gem of a professional compact camera: the legendary Sony RX100M4!

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