Gastronomic tours in the Piedmont
If you would like to do some gastronomic tourism in Piedmont, but you don’t know where to start with, the following suggestions might be of help to you.
Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any special request or would would like to clarify any issue concerning the local cuisine.
Gastronomic tourism in Piedmont, the most popular destinations:
» Wine Tastings
Piedmont is known mostly for its red dry wines, being Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebiolo and Barbera the most popular ones. However, there are also several types of high quality white wines, such as Gavi and Arneis. Last, but not least the offer of sparkling wines is very important.
The best way to get to know those wines is tasting them at canteens in their production areas.
In the Langhe we find the Barolo and Barbaresco A visit to their wineries can be complemented with a relaxing tour of the old town of Barolo or a visit to any of the wine-specialized shops wine shops at the historic centre of Barbaresco. There you should not miss its 11th century tower, from the top of which you can admire a beautiful panorama of the Langhe and Roero.
Sparkling wines are produced in the Roero area (closer to Asti); its sandy soil is specially fit for white and sparkling wines’ grapes.
Let’s not forget the grappa, a grape based liquor. One of its best reputed distilleries is located near Alexandria. Also in the Langhe there are a few artisanal producers of high quality grappa ready to share with us their “secrets”.
Wineries do differ in size and volume of production. Some of the smaller ones are household type farms with a traditional way of making wine, with more than 200 years of history.
There is a great variety of cheese farms and cooperatives in the area. In some of them, being farms, you can also see the animals (this is especially interesting if you have children with you). Cheeses and sausages can be tasted there in a homey environment.
It is possible to visit, as example, an old cheese producer, with tastings of 10 or more cheeses both locally produced and from other regions of Italy and abroad. There, they will illustrate you about Italy’s extraordinary biodiversity and the places of production of the most popular Italian cheeses. You can continue the visit with their small museum where is displayed the equipment that was used to make cheese 100 years ago.
» Hazelnut plantations and local sweets
Alba is known as the capital of the nutella, produced by Ferrero Rocher, a hazelnut-based cream.
But there are also smaller producers with plantations where hazelnuts are grown and used for the production of sweets and tasty local pastries. You can visit them, listen to the explanations of their growing and production processes and taste and buy their sweets.
In Autumn, the highlight of any gastronomic program in Piedmont is the white truffle and its hunt (black truffles are less appreciated than the white ones).
A tourist guide can organize a truffle “hunt” with a hunter and his dog. This could be followed by a lunch or a dinner at a local restaurant with typical dishes based on these truffles.
During the hunt, the guide will explain you the secrets and curious facts of the truffle hunt.
From October to November, during week-ends, the international fair of the white truffle is held in Alba. Its visit is highly recommended.
» Cooking Classes
If you are interested on local cuisine, cooking lessons focused on preparing local dishes can be organized.
Local Chefs will assist you on the preparation of different dishes and will share with you some of their secrets.
This usually ends up with a lunch of diner based on the dishes that you just prepared.
Visits can also be arranged to local salami / sausage producer cooperatives, with tastings of their products.
Mushrooms and rice are also typical products of the local cuisine.
Tastings are usually held in picturesque hills and can be complemented with visits to picturesque local towns and beautiful panoramas.
The Basilica of Maria Ausiliatrice in Turin was built in 1868. It belongs to the religious order of the Salesians, founded in Piedmont by Don Bosco, a follower of Francis de Sales.