Second biggest region of Italy, the Piedmont is especially known for its industrial tradition, its mountains and for the Juventus F.C. On the contrary, its cooking is not so noted, at least not as its wines. We would like to invite you into a culinary and wine tour where you’ll discover delicious dishes to taste along with famous wines from Piedmont which all have a DOCG or DOC label guaranteeing their origin.
What we’re proposing you is a real Piedmont tour with suggestions about different dishes according to the area.
In Turin, cooking has its origins in the countryside tradition. It became more elaborate in time with the Duchy of Savoy court exigences and its will to imitate Paris’ cooking. The great immigrations from the South during the 60′ also influenced it and are nowadays entirely part of the Turin cooking.
We suggest you to try as an antipasto (meaning “before the meal”) the vitello tonnato, an association of veal meat and tuna fish sauce which seams a bit strange at first sight but is in fact really tasty. As a primo (a first course), we recommend you the agnolotti, a typical pasta from Piedmont stuffed with meat or fontina cheese and served in its broth or with just some butter and grated white truffle. It combines well with a young Barbera d’Asti, a DOCG red wine adapted to flavourful first courses like the agnolotti.
Then, we advise you the “fritto misto”, a dish which will bring you back in the peasantry lifetime, when the entrails of the animals slaughtered in autumn and winter were usually cooked. Today, this meat is often served with apples, peaches, apricots and “polenta dousa” which give the meal a sweet taste. To end on a high note, you have to try the famous Turin gianduiotti, made with chocolate and hazelnuts from the Langhe area, paired with an DOCG pink sparkling Alta Langa.
In Alba, the historical region of the Langhe area, you should begin a meal with some carne all’Albese, a veal carpaccio with grated white truffle. As a first course, the tajarin, a type of Piedmont tagliatelle, also with some white truffle (a typical ingredient of the city) would be good. A brasato al Barolo could follow, beef cooked a long time with wine, vegetables and spices. Naturally, in the case we suggest you to eat it with a DOCG wine of the same name.
The Barolo is in fact one of the most famous Italian wines; its production began in the 18th century, when the Count Camillo di Cavour tried to produce wine with Nebbiolo grapes using new techniques. It got great success and this wine became the “wine of the Kings” at the Savoy court.
Finally, the hazelnuts cake is the best way to finish the meal: this dessert made in autumn is typical from the Langhe area. Its hills are in fact the birthplace of the Piedmont Tonda Gentile hazelnuts race.
Asti is situated 30km far from Alba and also has a rich culinary tradition. You could taste here the bagna càuda as an antipasto: it’s an olive oil, garlic and anchovies sauce warmed in a terracotta pan and in which you dip pieces of cooked and raw vegetables. Usually, this dish is eaten for the whole meal but restaurants nowadays serve it in small portions. As a first course, we recommend you the risotto al Castelmagno (a Piedmont DOP cheese) with crushed toasted hazelnut accompanied by a DOCG white Roero Arneis wine, which is produced in the Cuneo region.
If you’re not already full, just try the fonduta piemontese; the fondue is a tradition of the area comprised between Switzerland, Savoy and Piedmont and each region adapted it to its preferences. It is made of molten fontina cheese mixed with milk and egg yolks in which you dip bread or polenta.
Eventually, a traditional fruit dessert of the Langhe and Monferrato areas are the pesche ripiene. Some pulp is removed from the peach and mixed with amaretto, butter, sugar and chocolate. Cooked in the oven and accompanied with a Moscato d’Asti, the most sold Italian sparkling wine in the world, these fruits are a marvel.
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