The Piemonte region of Italy
Maybe its the French influence, dare we say, but the cheeses of Piemonte are some of Italy's most luxurious. Visitors to the region should note, however, that many fine varieties are produced locally and in such small amounts that commercialization is impossible, even by the web. A top ten:
The Langa Astigiana is the mountainous zone of the province of Asti in Piemonte which occupies the the valleys between the two stretches of the River Bormida. To be more specific it is the territory whose natural borders are the towns of Acqui Terme (province of Alessandria), Canelli (Asti) and Cortemilia (Cuneo).
Lake Maggiore is shared by two Italian regions. While the eastern shores nestle in Lombardia, the western side of the Lake marks the north eastern corner of Piemonte and even the border with Switzerland a few kilometers north of Cannobio. As you might expect, the cultural exchanges over the centuries have left their mark in the names of the towns and various comuni.
The Strada del Vino dell'Alto Monferrato e Terre del Gavi winds its way through the mountain communities of Alta Val Lemme-Alto Ovadese and Alta Valle Orba, Erro e Bormida in Piemonte. The Wine Route has two main points of reference in this zone just south of Alessandria: the Ornithological Museum of Tagliolo and the public enoteca 'Bottega del Vino' in Cavatore.
The carnival of Ivrea is one of Italy's most spectacular thanks to one enterprising ingredient - the Battle of the Oranges. Three days of build up and offically sanctioned and tighly organized violence when the squares and piazze are turned into battle grounds between 9 competing teams and 3000 people.
The origin of the madness goes back to a legendary people's revolt against Count Ranieri of Biandrate and is based on liberty and freedom of expression. It really is a genuine experience and something I had always wanted to participate in since we began Delicious Italy. The invite came in 2014 and was 4 days, not only braving the oranges, but seeing all the preparations behind the scenes, from the preparation of the horses pulling the carts to the tradtional food and wider festivities. Read my full report of the Historical Carnival of Ivrea here.
Between the Piemontesi & chocolate there is a 350 year old love affair and it's no coincidence that the region and Turin have both played a leading role in the Italian chocolate industry. This is evidenced by the presence of some of the largest confectionary companies in Italy and indeed the world.