Piedmonte – Barolo country – Italy

Piedmonte is in Italy’s far north west and believes it is the wine and food capital of Italy.  More English was spoken than in other parts of Italy and far more northern European languages could be heard, particularly German as it is so close to Switzerland and Germany.  The architecture and cities we visited were also markedly different to Toscana and other parts of Italy.

Piedmonte is the second largest of Italy’s 20 administrative areas (after Sicily). It borders France and Switzerland with over 40% of the land covered by mountains.

It is a fertile agricultural area producing a substantial amount of Italy’s grains. In addition it is an acknowledged wine producer – primarily it is well known for its Barolo vino rosso.

And home to some wonderful white tartufo (truffles) particularly around Alba.

This is the hilltop town of La Morra which is centrally placed in the wine growing district.

Piedmonte has two wines which it calls the king and queen of Piedmonte wines. These are both made totally from Nebbiolo grapes with the king being Barolo and the queen Barbaresco. The only difference between the two is the area where the grapes are grown. Both are grown under strict DOCG guidelines. The Barolo must not be released for four years and the Barbaresco for three years. Most plot holdings are relatively small with the exception of a few major growers such as Gaja. Below are just a few pics of the various vineyards.

Some grape pickers.

It looks like another great vintage!

Well someone has to do the work!

French barriques.

More bariques…..what an amazing cantina (cellar).

Piedmonte is also known for its food including the famous white truffle from Alba.

Street markets are prominent with local and national produce from around Italy.

Street market in Asti.

Sundried tomatoes

Garlic

fava beans

Restaurants in general were very good with excellent food outcomes.  Below are some examples of the food produced in Peidmonte restaurants.  Specialities of the area include Risottos, Taglionini pasta, truffles (black but especially white), raw sausages from Bra, veal, pork and more pork and of course all washed down with a spumante from Asti to start and then magnificent Piedmontese vinos followed by our favourite Saracco dessert vino.

mmmmnnn…tartufo bianco (white truffle) shaved over al dente taglionini pasta

asparagus risotto with raw egg stirred throughout

vitello(veal) stew

stuffed vegetables with ricotta mixture and a tomato coulis

local cheeses including ewes, cows and goats

Piedmonte is well worth a visit. Towns are not as “antica” as in other areas such as Toscana but they do have an appeal. Here are just a few snaps of some of the towns…

Alba Cathedral

A typical Alba street

Part of main Square in Alba

Barolo

La Morra Cathedral

Bra Townhall

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