Italy’s second-largest region is arguably its most elegant: a purveyor of Slow Food and fine wine, regal palazzi and an atmosphere that is superficially more français than italiano. But dig deeper and you’ll discover that Piedmont has ‘Made in Italy’ stamped all over it. Emerging from the chaos of the Austrian wars, the unification movement first exploded here in the 1850s, when the noble House of Savoy provided the nascent nation with its first prime minister and its dynastic royal family.
- Piedmont is white truffle from Alba
Any list of the region’s culinary specialities is topped by the truffle. This curious fungus - lumpy and unattractive to look at, but highly prized for its unique taste and aroma - comes in two forms. Black truffles are more common, whereas white truffles are considerably rarer, harvested from August to January in and around Alba, south-east of Turin. The best way to eat them is as raw shavings added to simple dishes such as plain tagliolini (egg noodles).
- Piedmont is Barolo
Piedmont has been producing wine since classical times and it is also the birthplace of Vermouth, the basis of cocktails such as the Martini, but one of the most highly acclaimed of the region’s wines is Barolo, a full-bodied dry red produced from Nebbiolo grapes in the Langhe region, which has been given the prestigious DOCG mark. It suits rich meats and powerful cheeses, but is, above all, the choice accompaniment to truffle dishes.
Barbaresco is another DOCG red with a similarly rich, luscious flavour, though more ruby red in colour than the garnet of Barolo and with a more pronounced, tannic acidity. Barbera, once a rustic red, has undergone 10 years’ refinement and is now an acclaimed DOC, as is the dry red Dolcetto. Piedmont’s most famous wine is the sparkling white Asti Spumante DOCG. The related Moscato d’Asti DOCG is a still dessert wine best sampled alongside the delicious Langhe hazelnut cake.
- Piedmont is landscape of Langhe
The landscapes of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato vineyards are part of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.
The landscape is a resource that belongs to all, a natural and cultural legacy that at the same time, is a living system in continuous evolution, resulting from the relationship between nature and man's labour. The rural landscape in particular is the result of the territories' calling, its limiting factors and its potentiality as well as technical peculiarities and methods used by man to produce.