Piemonte Food (25)
Delicious local Italian typical products from the region of Turin and Piemonte. Where to go, what to look out for and when to find them in season. Start with the article below.
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.
Three good reasons for visiting the provincial capital of Piemonte? The home of Fiat; of course! 'Juventus', Italy's most supported football team; maybe not! And the third ... Well, we like the delightful cafés and pasticcerie or cake shops where you can sit in elegant surroundings and taste the good life as it must have been 100 years ago. Take your pick from the coffee bars listed below. We tried them all.
Following the Wine Route of the Tortona Hills, or Strada del Vino dei Colli Tortonesi, is the perfect way to discover not just the Doc Colli Tortonesi wines of this zone between Tortona and Voghera but fabulous typical products such as mushrooms, strawberries, cheese, salami and truffles. In fact, it is the only part of Piemonte which produces three types of truffles: white, black and 'summer' or Tuber Aestivum Vittadini.
From late October to just before Christmas, the white truffle is king in Alba. It commands the attention, and money, of locals and visitors who hunger to buy or taste it. In the shops, it is displayed under glass and sold by the gram at about € 400-500 per hundred grams.
To be honest, the truffles these days don't necessarily come from the local woods around the Ferrero Chocolate Factory, but more likely the unspoilt zones of the Monferrato in the south-eastern part of Piedmont. Yet Alba remains, as it always has, the key market for the commercialisation of the product in north Italy.
The tuba magnatum pico is located by a dedicated network of truffle hunters or 'trifulau' who search for it with their trusted dogs. Sliced fresh and without being cooked, it can enhance omelettes, fresh pasta or risotto. Butter sauce and the richer Piedmontese equivalent to the Swiss fonduta benefit from the truffle too, not to mention the wonders of truffle oil, truffle butter, or even rice.
With thanks to Tasting Tours, Asti.
Barbera Nizza is a Barbera d'Asti Superiore wine produced in a small area formed of 18 comuni in and around the town of Nizza Monferrato, province of Asti in Piemonte.
It is a zone of wine excellence inside the vast production territory of Barbera d'Asti This latter area comprises 118 comuni in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria.
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.
Could the cheese and wine parties in Biella be the best in Italy? Certainly, the 'sargnon' cheese is worth talking about. It is a 'goloso' fermented mixture of rum, grappa, gorgonzola and other spicy cheeses.
The well signposted wine route to the east of the city takes in Sostegno, Villa del Bosco, Mottalciata and Candelo amongst other towns and villages, as well as the zones five DOC wines (Bramaterra, Canavese, Coste della Sesia, Lessona and Erbaluce).
The Bra cheese festival is an essential appointment for all of us passionate about eating well, not only in Italy. Described as the biggest collection of quality cheeses in Italy each year, 'Cheese' is organised by Slow Food, the City of Bra and the Ente Turismo Alba, Bra, Langhe and Roero.
If you think you know the fizzy wine from Asti, then think again. The wine growing area in central Piemonte is a lot more diverse and interesting than a glass of white served up at office cocktail parties. The wine area is split in two, Basso Monferrato and Alto Ferrato.
October is white truffle month in Piemonte and the annual Alba truffle festival celebrating the famous 'tartufo bianco' truffles is a massive event. Alba is also home of the Associazione Nazionale 'Città del Tartufo' which was formed in 1990.