Piemonte Food (24)
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.
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.
Once upon a time the Salone del Vino was the premier enogastronomic event in the Lingotto of Turin. It then started to alternate every year with the Salone del Gusto, but such has been the success of the latter that former no longer exists, usurped by the now huge International Salone del Gusto and Terra Made, as well as the new kid on the block, Slow Fish in Genoa.
This premier Slow Food event takes place in the last weekend of October in even years and over 5 days. The amount of institutional and corporate sponsors may not sit too well with the original concept, but don't be fooled that Italy's best food and wine show begins and ends here.
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. All images copyright Delicious Italy.
Truffles are especially mysterious and secretive things. Whether black or white, do we know really enough to bluff our way through a Piemonte wine book launch. The 'Charter of Specific Qualties for the Tuber Magnatum Pico' by the 'Associazione per Il Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo' in Alba reveals all, and we have a copy. Here are a few tips we are happy to share.
From late December 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 € 400-500,00 per one hundred grams.
To be honest, the truffles these days dont necessarily come from the local woods around the Ferrero Chocolate Factory, but more likely the unspoilt zones of the Monferrato area in the south-eastern part of Piedmont.
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.