Tag Archives: cheese

4 things to do in Piedmont

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Piedmont is an very important Italian region for the food and wine world yet that has been undervalued by the travel world! In a way, this is a blessing for those wanting to escape the droves of tour buses and groups jam packed into Italy’s major destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence. Not only that, Piedmont is an ideal region to visit if you are a food and wine lover. The best cities to visit in Piedmont are Alba, Turin, Barolo and Bra. If you are planning a trip to Italy, consider Piedmont! Here is what we recommend for things to do in Piedmont:

1. Alba- tap into your inner hunter with a truffle hunt!

Sure, to the uninitiated truffle may just be a foul tuber, but to the gourmand, it represents the ultimate in gastronomic delights. Some would say it has the fragrance of the gods. Although found in France, northern Spain and other parts of Italy, the region around Alba is considered the quintessential truffle capital. It’s also the economic bellwether that determines the official price of truffles worldwide. Its method of discovery adds to the mystique.  A truffle hunt takes you through the the woods exploring with a truffle expert and their truffle hunting dog. Sniffing through the misty woods of Piedmont, the truffle-hunting dog will suddenly dig her paws into the crunchy soil to find a true gastronomic treasure: a large walnut-sized white truffle. At the end of a truffle hunt you’ll learn how to analyze truffles from a technical point of view, as true gourmand tasters do. You’ll learn more about the white truffle, how to use it, how to taste it, and how to preserve it. Totally a must do experience for active, nature loving Italian food lovers!

2. Love chocolate? Visit Turin’s historic chocolate producers!

If you are a chocolate lover, discover “chocolatropolis” Turin: a city of authentic Italian food culture. Visit some of the major points of interest during your trip to Turin and don’t miss captivating Baroque masterpieces like Piazza San Carlo, the Cupola del Guarini, the Royal Palace and Piazza Castello. Remember to stop and smell the flowers by taking a break in an historical caffè and experience Turin’s most traditional coffee: made just for chocolate lovers called “bicerin”, as well as some excellent confections, gelato and pastries. Turin will delight you with Baroque palaces, workshops, bakeries and confectioners.

3. Had enough food? Go on a Barolo wine tour and taste Italy’s finest wines!

Barolo wine is the undisputed king of Italian red wines. Both of the most celebrated Piedmont reds, Barolo and Barbaresco, are made from the Nebbiolo grape that yields deeply perfumed, mid-weight, wines with good aging potential. Among the other noteworthy Piedmont wines are the incisive, vibrant Barbera and the softer, lusher Dolcetto. The best wines of this area were made famous by Marc de Grazia’s “Selection of Fine Wines from The Great Crus Of Italy”, among many others Scavino, Cavallotto, Clerico, Altare and Molino. Whether you are a wine lover, collector or simply a wine drinker, a Barolo wine tour is a great activity to do when visiting Piedmont.

4. Cheese and Beer lover? Visit Bra!

Discover the best cheese in Italy when you visit Bra! The city is very small and very easy to reach by train from Turin. In the historical center part of town, there are plenty of gastronomic deli shops open to the public where you can explore all the different cheeses of the region and taste the ones that look curious to you! In addition to being a great destination for tasting artisan cheese in Piedmont, there is a huge craft beer movement happening in Piedmont and what better way to compliment your cheese tasting in Bra than with a visit to a very tasty brew pub!  (called “birreria” in Italian.) During September, there is the annual slow cheese festival organized by the Slow Food Movement which is a candyland of cheese, beer and wine tastings! In any case, Fall is the quite possibly the best time to visit Piedmont so why not plan it around a cheese festival!

Are these options not enough? Contact the expert travel staff at Le Baccanti to learn more about how you can have the Italian gourmet vacation of your dreams!

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Gelato in Italy

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Gelato is Italian ice cream and no matter what city you are in, you are bound to be surrounded by numerous gelateria. Traditionally, gelato in Italy is enjoyed as a cool-off snack as the peninsula basks in some of the continents warmest weather. In Sicily it gets so warm that they have granita for breakfast!

Every gelateria has its own spin and inventive selections. Don’t be alarmed if you see flavors like fig, pecorino cheese, gorgonzola (delightful!), balsamic, sesame seed or even cayenne pepper on the menù. Live in the moment and embrace the Italian gelato obsession! Here are some tips when you do want to enjoy a gelato in Italy:

Avoid any place with massive whipped mounds. These are guaranteed tourist traps that serve confectioned gelato that is more than likely filled with artificial colors, propellants (for the fluff) and chemically enhanced flavors.

If its neon colored anything, keep walking. Mint is not naturally bright green and neither is pistachio.

Don’t be afraid to try new flavors (even if it’s garlic!)! Ask your local gelataio what fruit is currently in season- the good gelateria will use fresh seasonal fruit and it will knock your socks off.

Order a small-medium cup, you will more than likely be able to have 2 -3 flavors and not leave with a tummy ache. Even though gelato is lighter than American ice cream, it is still a dessert which is undoubtedly high in sugar and milk fat. The massive waffle cones are not a force to be reckoned with if you are on a walking tour of the city.

Take a Gelato Tour in Italy so you can discover the real gelato in Italy with a gourmet guide. Don’t be fooled by all the gelato tricks out there. Not only that, you will discover the gelato shops not listed in mainstream guidebooks that only locals are in the know about.

Until we meet again, buon appetito!

Le Baccanti Tours is a luxury travel company located in Tuscany, Italy. We have been specializing in gourmet food, wine and cultural tours of Italy for over 10 years.Please see our website www.lebaccanti.com for more information on how to book your next trip to Italy with us!

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