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Food and Wine in Piemonte

Piemonte has been a closely guarded secret for vacationing chefs and food and wine lovers for years and this is where gastronomes feel at peace with the world, be it simple fresh farmhouse produce, perfectly made espressos or a full blown dinner at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants within the vicinity. For great cuisine, Piemonte has all the ingredients - corn and Arborio rice grown in the fertile plains of the River Po, apricots, peaches, figs and kiwi abound in Cuneo. Langhe is noted for its hazelnuts and the Monferrato hills are world famous for their wines and the white Alba Truffle. The local cuisine is sophisticated, French-influenced and always freshly prepared. There are numerous great restaurants in the area, many with a menu that mama has cooked that day, and we've left a list of these restaurants in the house. The quality is superb and even young children are specially catered for (it's difficult to find a child who doesn't like pasta!). Interestingly, the Slow Food Movement, the Old World's answer to the fast food revolution, was founded in Piemonte in a town called Bra- a medieval town on top of a ridge overlooking the wine growing areas towards Barolo.
Wine: Piemonte has earned its name as one of the top wine regions in the world with Barbaresco, Barolo, and Barbera as its jewels. Wine growing here is more strictly regulated than in other parts of Italy and the first priority is the high quality of its grapes. Although it does not produce huge quantities of each wine, it makes sure that each one is superb. It is fun to visit the small family-owned vineyards dotted around the hillsides, especially during harvesting time (from September) which is a family affair. The children have time off school and families and friends work side by side. Sometimes you need to book these wine visits in advance, so please research the wines you are interested in before arriving or we can send you our favourites. At the house, there is a list of local vineyards, and enotechas that you can visit without advance bookings. And, if you fancy a change from wine, you can tour the local Grappa manufacturer in Casalotto or visit the much maligned Asti Spumante at our local Contratto in Canelli.
Truffles: Truffles are in season nearly the whole year round. In summer and autumn you will find the black truffle. And then, from October to November, it is the season for the "White Diamond", one of the most sort after Piedmontese products. The white Alba truffle is renowned for its unique flavour and aroma and Michelin starred restaurants think nothing about paying hundreds of pounds just to add a few shavings to a prize dish. The truffle market in Alba, which is during October and November is a superb experience.
Hazelnuts: The hazelnuts from the groves around the area are used to make the local specialty - Hazelnut cake - as well as the delicious torrone. And, much to our children's delight, they are used in Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella, both of which are made in this region.
Cheese: Robiola di Roccaverano, the only DOP Italian goat's cheese, is fantastic for breakfast with fresh honey and bread. Other great cheeses from Piemonte include Fontina, Gorgonzola, Toma and Castelmagno. The world's largest cheese festival, organised by the Slow Food Movement, is held bi-annually in Bra
Grissini: These slim breadsticks were originally created in Piemonte 150 years ago for Prince Umberto, the son of King Vittorio Emanuele. He was a weak child, unable to digest normal bread -so this lighter version was created for him
Chocolate: The Torinese have a collective sweet tooth, with their city and region a major centre for production of everything from delicate handmade luxury chocolates and caramels to global products such as Nutella and Ferrero Rocher

 

 

 

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Some articles written by food and travel writers about Piemonte include:

www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/travel060602
www.micheleshah.com/index.asp?menu=6&datascelta=&id=172
www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0011/eatingitaly.shtml
www.thetravelzine.com/italy12.htm
www.slowfood.com

 
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