Osteria Fior di Roccia, 2008

The day: 21st May, Dinner.
The place:
Via Nazionale 2, Lon di Vezzano (TN), Italy (tel +39 0461 864029)
The venue: Osteria Fior di Roccia
Closest airports: Brescia (Ryanair), Verona (British Airways)
The food: Traditional regional cuisine with a modern take
The drinks: only local and short, but with evident care (all wines are described)

As you may recall, Osteria Fior di Roccia has been open now for just over a year. We have been here many more times since we first told you, and it is about time we gave you an update.

Inside, the same warm and informal atmosphere

The menu is very enticing: starters go from the €6.50 of carne salada tartare with wholemeal croutons and apple vinegar baby lettuce, to the €750 of golden lavarello (local fresh water fish) fillets with crunchy herbs on a bed of polenta. Primi go form the €7 of Donkey (donkey? Yes, donkey) ragout maccheroni on mature goat cheese fondue to €7.50 of the fresh pasta lasagnette with vegetable Julienne and Boscatella (local cheese) melt; while mains go from the €8 of the Trentino cheese platter (served with figs mostarda and walnut bread), to the €12 of the steamed salmerino (local trout) fillets with steamed vegetables and rocket pesto.

On top of all this, on this visit the special Asparagus menu was also available, and though one could have the whole three course menu at €26, each dish is also available on its own. Besides this seasonal menu, there is also a four course “Fior di Roccia” set menu at €24.50 (or €32.50 if taking the wine pairing).

While perusing the list, here comes a nice greeting from the kitchen: a lentils puree with crunchy speck. The white speck you see is yoghurt, lending its nice acidity to this in principle earthy yet light dish.

And to scoop it all up, a bread basket worth this name: we can confirm this is home made, and it changes every night.

To begin, we decided to go for a starter and a pasta:

Flaking mille feuille of rainbow trout and home made crackers with sprouts in yogurt (€7);

Egg caserecce with basil, walnut and tomato sauce (€7);


The pasta was a delightful pasta dish in what was basically a local take on pesto, with the walnuts replacing the pine nuts, and tomatoes thrown in for good measure. Although the pasta itself was just a tad over, this dish was as simple as appetizing, with the scrumptious walnuts, coming both as chunky halves and coarsely ground bits, aptly buttressed by the freshness of the basil.

But what we both really fell for was the trout: the lightest of crackers, but with personality, separating a very flavoursome trout mousse, with the trout coming out very intensely (perhaps someone else near by might want to take notice). The dollop of yogurt with sprouts complemented the rich mousse very fittingly. A great, classy dish well above the trattoria level that these prices would suggest.

Next, it’s pork night:

Roasted pork shank (half) with sautéed potatoes (€11)

Pork fillet in fine herbs and vegetable ‘mediterranea’ (€11.50)


The shank is the concrete example that pure comfort food need not be uncouth, even in a trattoria: the potatoes, crisp on the outside and tender inside; the meat, falling off the bone beautifully, moist, rich, tender, lean, juicy, and it was really hard to keep us off the bone! It had been cooked just right, concentrating all flavours beautifully. This is one for the glutton, who can have his fill and not feel guilty.

With the pork fillet, we move to another level: we hope you can see the pink yet perfectly cooked slices of this succulent pork, vacuum cooked at 62 degrees until the meat in the core reaches 58 degrees, then sizzled in herbs. Incredibly tender. And the accompanying tower of mediterranean vegetables provided a counterpoint of flavours: layers of aubergines filled with courgettes and capped by a slice of tomato showered in Trentigrana. Luscious and comforting, with some zing lent by fresh oregano. We cannot imagine better cooked pork fillet, and the accompanying vegetable tower (literally) elevates the dish and multiplies the themes.

Remember, this is an ‘osteria’, in order to check the internal temperature vacuum is lost in one fillet (that must hurt the wallet at least a bit), and, sure you are in the middle of the mountains, but you can have it for less than £8!

Of course we could not let desserts go:

warm carrot and almonds cake with Mount Bondone honey parfait (€5);

iced cappuccino with whisky cream and coconut foam (€5).


The cake : moist, soft, light yet ‘bodily’. The honey parfait an explosion of honey. Although the cake itself was light, soft and moist enough to hold its own, it was married very aptly with the parfait and the custard. Very impressive.

And what about the cappuccino? Beginning with whipped cream topped with grated coconut and hazelnut, sitting on the coffee parfait, with a progression of flavours as you dig deeper and deeper. Whisky and coffee melting beautifully, the two biscuits a congenial contrast in consistency, for a thoroughly classy dessert.

With a one litre bottle of water at €2 and a bottle of Berzamina 2005 Trevisan at €14 (don’t tell us you don’t know the Berzamina grape…OK maybe we’ll tell you more at some point in a special post), our total bill came to…€62.50.

For this food and cuisine, the price strikes the food lover as borderline crazy. Here you can experience very high quality food, with a lot of care in the kitchen and in the dining room, at rock bottom prices. Cristina Menestrina runs the dining room with care, attention to detail and warmth, while Chef Michel Menestrina labours his passion in the kitchen. He is obviously restraining himself, catering mainly for the local market. You sense that he could cook equally well even ‘haute cuisine’ dishes, he has all the technique and the presentation skill needed. But abilities are evident already on a menu that reinterprets tradition, and makes a higher level of cuisine available at prices that are affordable to the locals, and that the locals obviously like, judging from the footfall. It is a joy to eat here also for the atmosphere. But it is just a short drive from Trento, and we guess it won’t be too long before the trendy city people and the food guide fanatics head this way. Run over there, so that by the time the guides discover them, you will be able to say you were here before!

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8 comments on “Osteria Fior di Roccia, 2008

  1. ruth says:

    just found this following our nose up a dirt track. thought you might be interested…http://osteriaaltorrione.it/

  2. Man-Woman says:

    Thanks, that sounds exactly like the sort of places we hunt for.Don’t know when we’ll be next in Chianti, but if we do…m&w

  3. Napoléon says:

    Carissimi,ho appena incontrato il vostro sito per caso.Complimenti per le vostre analisi, precise, rigorose, e le fotografie (a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say).Un’osservazione generale: le vostre indicazioni topografiche sono spesso vaghe, comunque risultano molto difficile da trovare sulle carte stradale (utilizzo la Michelin 459, Italia NE). Possibile essere più precisi, dare più dettagli, come avete incominciato da fare in qualche caso ? Con ogni rispetto, c’è progresso da raggiungere. Mille grazie.Appunto, dovè esatamente stà Lon di Vezzano ? Presso Vezzano, sulla S 45 b, a 13 km al Ovest di Trento ?Quesito delicato, adesso. Sarò nel Trentino per una settimana a metà ottobre (2008) colla macchina. In quale locale (locali) mi consiglierebbe di soggiornare come base di visita ? Terro le vostre indicazioni confidenziali (in quanto si puo fare su un blog, leggibile da tutti …). Osservazione finale: nel mio paese (la Francia) è usuale in ristoranti “buoni”, cioè quelli frequentabili per la freschezza dei loro prodotti, l’eccellenza della loro cucina, la modestia del cuoco (che evita di prendersi per una prima ballerina, come, oïmè, tanti di loro fanno adesso e ti impongono di considerarli), essere pregati di scegliere i dessert già dall’inizio del pranzo (si veda la vostra esperienza non cospicua in uno dei locali del Trentino visitati da voi). Molti di questi dessert sono addirittura complessi, delicati da fare (si pensa ai “Soufflés”, al Grand Marnier per esempio, o a una Tarte Tatin), quindi richiedono tempo. Per di più, una volta fatti, devono essere portati (e consumati) immediatamente sul posto (una Tatin dev’essere servita caldissima).Vi chiedo scusa per la lunghezza del mio messagio.Ancora una volta, congratulazioni.Con molte (anticipate) grazieNapoléon (mica modesta, questa …)

  4. Man-Woman says:

    Dear Napoleon,thanks for your comments and (constructive) criticism. Indeed regarding the more precise indications needed you are spot on, we have been planning for a while to insert a map of the places we visit, but never got around to doing it (unfortunately we have a real job after all)…but your message may well be the final spur!Anyway you identified Lon di Vezzano correctly.We see your point on desserts, but apart from exceptional cases (where the final preparation requires, say, more than 20 minutes), we much prefer those restaurants where you are free to order desserts when you want, and are asked to wait a bit for the more complex ones that need to be finished on the spot. Waiting makes taste sweeter…At any rate, as you are French, let us know what you think in case you pass by any of the places we have visited in France (mainly Alsace). It’s always good to hear the judgement of the locals, who understand tradition much better than us.And congratulations for your excellent Italian!man and woman

  5. Man-Woman says:

    Napoleon,to test your italian, here is the same answer above:grazie pre le tue osservazioni e per le critiche (costruttive!). Hai senz’altro ragione per quanto riguarda indicazioni geografiche più precise: infatti, e’ da tanto che pensiamo di inserire una mappa con “segnaposti” per ogni ristorante, ma ci vuole tempo, e abbiamo pur sempre un lavoro… ma magari il tuo messaggio ci da proprio lo stimolo che ci serve!In ogni modo hai identificato correttamente Lon di Vezzano. comprendiamo il tuo punto sui sui dessert, ma a parte casi eccezionali (dove la preparazione finale richiede per esempio più di 20 minuti), preferiamo quei ristoranti in cui si e’ liberi di ordinare i dessert quando si vuole, magari dovendo aspettare per quelle preparazioni che richiedono piu’ lavoro. L’attesa rende il gusto più dolce… Ad ogni modo, dato che sei francese, se dovessi passare per uno dei posti che abbiamo visitato in Francia (pricipalmente l’Alsazia) ci farebbe molto piacere sapere cosa ne pensi. E’ sempre gran cosa avere il giudizio dei locali, che capiscono la tradizione molto meglio di noi. E congratulazioni per il tuo italiano eccellente! man and woman

  6. Napoléon says:

    Grazie per la Vostra cortesissima risposta del 21 di luglio, e le informazioni estese.Ho vissuto in Alsace, ci sono dei ottimi posti dovè sopravivere gastronomicamente. Ma il mio soggiorno risale ad anni, anzi decenni, fa. Comunque, Vi sapro dire.Sui desserts: le due scuole sono raccomandabile. Ci sentiremmo.Continuate ad informarci cosi bene, per il nostro più intero e più sostanziato piacere.A presto.Napoléon

  7. pedalaforte says:

    THIS place was our favorite restaurant in the region — after we found it, of course (and that is not to say it is difficult to get to. We just thought we were on the wrong road as we snaked farther and father up that tiny road in our large vans.)We had 17 of us, so we were a painful bunch to serve. But the service was outstanding — from Cristina and another helper.Back to food. I have the menu somewhere; I'll look. We had pre-ordered and Michele came up with what looked like a fantastic regional representation of the gems of the season. Looked like=was. In other words, he came through brilliantly at every level.Our first bite was many of our party's favorite bite of the entire two-week cyclign trip: baked, stuffed zucchini flowers. These were tender, filled with just the right amount of creamy cheese, but baked perfectly to add that luscious crunchy caramelization. Perfect. And on through to what I thought was the best bite of the trip: a semifreddo cream concoction (orange-water laced) drizzled with an in-season elderberry sauce. i'm not a huge dessert maestro; I like my calories in savory format. But this was perfect texturally in my mouth and — how do I turn the word "scrumptious" into an adverb — exceptionally tasty. Hmmmm, that will do for the adverb. In the middle, besides a plate of their great house salami, we had chard gnocchetti with Puzzone di Moena cheese: jeez, that was another creamy, rich package of flavor; their house pasta — I would call it pennette, small penne — with "fresh?" tomatoes and definitely fresh arugula that added some lively bite to this. Nice.Our main dish was some kind of pork "sack" — stuffed pork with finferle mushrooms and another new cheese for me — Boscatella di Fiave.This was a fantastic place to eat, and get this. The price: 28 euros a person. Imagine that! They gave us a two-euro break for bringing in 17 of us, but even at 30 euros, this place has to be the bargain of the century.I cannot recommend this place more highly. Cristina was pure and complete and total pleasure to work with. And we were late for our reservations. Really late. We had lost a couple of bodies on the day's ride up to the Asiago plateau, including a couple of folks near hypothermic after a mountain deluge caught us out fromthe sag-that-wasn't-a-sag vehicle! But Cristina (and Michele) couldn't have been more gracious. We did call to plead mercy.We went to a number of great restaurants on this trip in Trento, Bolzano, Bormio and, espcially, in Piemonte. Thsoe included at least one Michelin-starred place (Scrigno del Duomo). And Fior di Roccia at least matched the best of them, and surpassed most of them. This is the one place I would re-visit absolutely of all of them, especially given the true bargain price.The drive is well worth it.Man: Thanks so much for your well-written and, of course, well researched input. Next time we might get to Margon, but, given the prices, we ssurely will go back to this one. I will add thoughts when I get time about Il Libertino (very good food and a nice time) and Scrigno del Duomo (great food, maybe won't go back, etc.). Ciao, Tim

  8. Man-Woman says:

    Ciao Tim,we are so glad that everything went well at FdR! And looking forward to your impressions of Libertino and Scrigno.

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