Specialties from the Langhe
Who is Clelia? I was born and raised in Paroldo, in the capital of the ‘Masche’.
Born behind the stove. I belong to the third generation of the Salvetti restaurant owners. I follow the traditions, using local products that are selected and processed during the day.
My dream was to become a teacher, but after I completed my study my father died. I decided, at the age of 20, to take his place behind the stove. The beginning was difficult but through tenacity and dedication, I am now very happy with the result. In my heart, I hope that my son Alessio, eventually will succeed me, in the tradition that flows in our veins. I would like to welcome you in my restaurant to temper your taste buds.
A hundred years have passed and Trattoria Salvetti is still located in Paroldo, Alta Langa. In the years leading up to World War I, Sebastiano Salvetti, the grandfather of Clelia, lives in Albenga. He works as a waiter at the larger restaurants. From the turn of the century he starts to work in Turin and Genoa. Here he worked in the ‘Grand Hotel des Genes’’ and he finds a job on the large ships of the Genoa-New York line. The work is good but he is often a long time away from home and his wife Margherita asks him to come back before the war breaks out.
He gets the opportunity to manage the “Trattoria dei Fiori’’ of Erminia Peirone. This woman, a widow with three children, gratefully accepts the Salvetti family to take over. In 1920 Sebastiano becomes the owner of the restaurant and after the birth of his son Silvio in 1922 he resumed his profession as a waiter. The Trattoria moved to a rented house in the neighbourhood and is run by his wife, assisted by Erminia and later by her eldest daughter Rosa.
When Sebastiano died in 1940, his son Silvio, eighteen years at that time, had to leave for the war. These are hard years not only because of the dangers and hardships that the war entails, but also for the serious health problems of Margherita. When Silvio returns from the front the Salvetti family has to start all over again. In the fifties Silvio, together with his sister Rosa, moves the trattoria to the town square.
In 1953 he married Elvira Minetti and in the following years the three children, Romano, Clelia and Franco, are born. A time of hard work begins, but with success. The trattoria is busy place in the sixties also for many Ligurian customers. These are happy years of hard work. They are expanding and become also a guesthouse. Nowadays this is called a agritourism.
Silvio dies far too early in 1979. His sister Rosa dies a few years later as well. The Salvetti family has survived in difficult times. In the eighties daughter Clelia, with the support of her mother Elvira, decides to continue the restaurant.
When she marries in 1986 with her husband Gian Marco, she makes a change to the type of trattoria. It does not renounce to the territory and its culinary tradition but it starts a revision of the dishes, a new arrangement of the place and a careful selection of the wines. It remains a small exclusive trattoria with thirty-five seats divided in two rooms. Salvetti serves an innovative menu with a Piedmont’s identity with some Ligurian influence’s. It features a varied seasonal menu, with the absence of deep-freezing (everything is prepared fresh and according to reservations). The choice of having only one waiter, Antonio, and one help in the kitchen, allows Clelia to take full care of the service and preparation of the dishes.
Clelia is well determined to continue in this manner. She revived the old traditions of cooks from Langhe who cooked in private houses bringing their experience to the kitchens of friendly customers. Clelia has confidence in the future of the trattoria. She remains true to her background and origin and her experiences off the past.
Romano Salvetti (author)