Posted: October 30, 2012
Fall in Piedmont, Italy is all about the harvest and regional specialties. World-famous wine varietals like Barbera, Barolo, and Barbaresco are grown in the hills surrounding Alba and Asti, and even tiny vineyards have gained international acclaim in recent years. Alba is also home to the annual Fiere del Tartufo, or white truffle festival, which is a foodie’s dream come true. And every 2 years, Torino plays host to the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, the Slow Food movement’s expo and convention to celebrate the most respected traditional and regional products of Italian cuisine.
Unfortunately, this year’s truffle pickings have been slim, owed to an extremely dry summer, which has rendered the soil like concrete. This has made for an incredibly expensive market in the much sought-after delicacies, good for the lucky few who have already found some, bad for the buyers and truffle addicts.
While down there, we took the opportunity to visit one of our favorite Barbera and Barbaresco wineries, La Spinetta, for a private tour and tasting. Manuela Rivetti, granddaughter of the founders, showed us around the incredibly modern winery. What began as a Moscato wintery in the 70’s now imports 40% of their wines to the USA, and has expanded into Tuscany, where they also grow Sangiovese.
an extensive tasting, we headed back to Roddi, and our favorite Locanda, Cascina Barin, for a rest before dinner - which turns into happy hour snacks and a bottle of Roero Arneis. In the nearby town of Verduno, Trattoria Dai Bercau has become an annual pilgrimage for us, and their family-style servings of tagarin pasta, vitello tartare, coniglio brasato, and more did not disappoint. By the end of the meal, you’re sharing bottles of Barbera with the other tables, and things get pretty loose.
The next day, on to the Salone del Gusto, at Torino’s Lingotto Expo, housed in the old Fiat factory complex. The best producers of Italy’s iconic regional products, from Aceto Balsamico DOP to olive oils, San Daniele proscuitto to salsiccia Calabrese, grappas and artisanal beers, and a million types of cheese. If you love Italian cuisine as much as we do, put this event on your calendar for October 2014 - or better yet, come and join us for a multi-day tour of Piedmont, and all the delicious flavors that it has to offer.