ITS FOOD & DRINK
The stirring gastronomy of Piedmont relies on quality and the creative refined ingenuity of the ancient courts of the nobility, appreciated for centuries by gourmands across Europe. A rich sampling which includes some undisputed favourites: truffles, hazelnuts from the area of the Langhe and Monferrato, and salami from Turgia (produced with the meat of milk cows which have not yielded calves), while the vast range of cheeses comprise Grana Padano, Gorgonzola with its green and blue veins, Taleggio and Robiola. To begin our journey amid the flavours of Piedmont, an antipasto misto [mixed appetiser] with meats, various types of sliced ham and salami, and frittate di erbe [herb seasoned omelettes], followed by a first course of agnolotti [small square cases of pasta filled with minced meat and vegetables] or tabarin (homemade tagliatelle). The baton can then be passed on to the traditional bagna cauda, with its show of vegetables dipped in a sauce concocted from garlic, anchovies and olive oil, accompanied perhaps by a few glasses of excellent regional wine, chosen from among the myriad of Barbera, Dolcetto dAlba, Barolo and Brachetto d'Acqui. Desserts in Piedmont are second to none, beginning with the panna cotta (pudding covered with caramel), zabaione (a cream made with eggs and sugar served with dry biscuits), krumiri [biscuits] and marron glacs (Cuneo chestnuts prepared in a glaze). And don't miss out on tasting the gianduiotto, an exquisite chocolate whose origins date back to 1865 in the heart of Turin.
From the Alps to the area of Monferrato, from the Apennines to great wines. A holiday skiing and bob-sleighing up in the peaks of Mont Blanc and Monviso, or strolling along pleasantly delightful promenades on Lake Maggiore. Or, armed with photographic cameras and maps, admiring fascinating Savoy residences, Medieval castles in the area of Langhe, and as an intermezzo an incursion to Turin for a mini-tour of Palazzo Reale (the residence of the Savoy until 1865), the Mole Antonelliana (currently the home of the National Museum of Cinema), the city's Renaissance Duomo, Cappella della Sacra Sindone, and Contemporary and Modern Art gallery. Those on the lookout for unusual sights won't want to miss the new Museum of Fruit, hosting an incredible collection of artificial fruit created by Francesco Garnier Valletti. Sights which are worth even more than one visit include Ivrea's castle of the four towers [Quattro Torri], the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta at Asti, erected on the foundations of a temple dedicated to Juno, and the imposing Forte delle Finestrelle, an original defensive structure, jutting out over Monte Orsiera. On the other hand, those seeking relaxation can venture out to the thermal baths at Valdieri and Vinadio in Valle Stura, or Acqui Terme, to be coddled and pampered with therapeutic, relaxing treatments, while wine-lovers preferring the fragrances of must can opt for one of Piedmont's wine and flavour routes [Strade del Vino e dei Sapori]: along the Colli Tortonesi, Asti, the area of upper Monferrato and the Canavese. A long, stimulating and appetising journey which can end once more in the higher altitudes and mountain air, perhaps this time on the slopes of Sestriere or the Milky Way [Via Lattea] (some of the best known trails on the planet), for one last run before heading back home.