“Err” thats what my scale said this morning, two days after we came back from Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. So I tried again, and this time it said “One at the time”, followed by “Err”. But I really dont feel like “Err”. I feel like I ate very well, as in plenty of non processed, organic home cooking very well. In fact, it was the greatest food trip of our young lives, and the first Italy trip where food and wine was the main focus. The biggest tourist attraction on this trip was a statue of an oversized woman squeezing her breasts. I will have much more about this trip, but meanwhile here’s a small recap of what we did in the Piedmont leg where we spent four days filled with wine, white truffles, onions, wrong turns, mushrooms, lakes, black truffles, vineyards, wrong turns after dark, and more white truffles.
Day 1 – Lago di Orta
45 minutes from Malpensa there’s this beautiful gem most Americans never heard of. Lake Orta. We stayed at Agriturismo il Cucchiaio di Legno 5 minutes from the lake, and the entire food itinerary this day surrounded the Agriturismo. Starting with the picnic basket that we used on the picnic tables on the stunning Sacro Monte di Orta where the picture on top was taken. Ending with a 10+ courser at their restaurant. More to come on that too. And in between the meals we explored the magical town of Orta San Giulio, where we bought Raffi, a small but deadly stinky truffle that we carried with us the entire trip, only to discover yesterday that Raffi tragically died
Day 2 – Alba, Cherasco
One of the reasons for this trip is the Truffle Festival in Alba, a town renowned for its White Truffles and hazelnuts. The entire town smells of Truffles and Nutella (this is the birthplace of Nutella). But the big bonus on this day was the huge Saturday market where we indulged in chocolates which I regret not buying more. Lunch on this day was at La Bottega del Vicoletto, a typical small family trattoria, where we had our first of many truffle tastings.
Before checking into a hotel with the best views from the toilet I’ve ever seen, we stopped at the Castle of Grinzane Cavour. Its a magnificent castle, bested only by the stunning 360 panoramic views around it. Its trully a great introduction to the Langhe area
After we rested a bit, we went to explore the town of Cherasco, known for its snails and kisses, as in the famous Baci di Cherasco chocolates. But the main target of course was dinner at Osteria La Torre, one of many great restaurants in that area
Overnight in Tota Virginia in Serralunga D’Alba (3 nights). I chose this place because it was the only one in the area I could pronounce
Day 3 – Neive, Barbaresco, and The Lunch
The main event on this day was the 3 hour lunch at Il Centro in Priocca. A meal for the ages, and an experience we will never forget. The sheer number of great eats within a 20 km radius of Alba is quite shocking. I will have more on this meal in no time
In the morning we explored the tiny, picturesque Neive where we sampled some more wine and crashed a Macedonian religious service. We then went on a drive where I counted 34 ooohs and Ahhs from Mrs Z. Half of them out of fear really. After lunch we explored the village of Barbaresco. And capped the day with a nice dinner at Castello di Verduno winery’s restaurant Ca Del Re in Verduno, another local Slow Food place
Day 4 – Barolo, Another great lunch, Serralunga
Drove to Barolo the long way to find this odd looking church. Barolo is another stunner, not overrun with tourists considering its name. But we were more interested in the breadstick manufacturer than wine, where we got a private demo of the breadstick making process. More spectacular views everywhere we turned, but none perhaps like the drive from Barolo to Serravalle D’alba and our power lunch with the three brothers at Trattoria La Coccinella. Yet another gem.
After lunch we drove to Serralunga D’Alba to explore the village and take a tour of the castle, one of many in the area including a pretty one viewed from the toilet at Tota Virginia. Dinner at Schiavenza, another popular local winery
Click here for the of the trip