Introducing Piedmont

 
                      • Barbaresco’s vines around Barbaresco (CN)
 
 
 
                      • The Mole Antonelliana, symbol of Turin
 
Anyway, Piedmont remains “a haven of tranquillity where you can meander among the vines and sip wine in castle cellars. In-the-know foodies seek out Piedmont’s white truffles, hazelnuts, chocolates, and vintages such as Barbaresco, Barolo and sparkling Asti. Its abundance of fresh produce and artisan traditions inspired the Slow Food Movement here, which is based around savouring the simple pleasures in life – an art which the Piemontesi know from immemorial time…”
(ibidem)
                      • The hills of Monte Aribaldo, around Treiso (CN)
                      • Fragrances of summer…
“…a malicious but affectionate legend insinuates that Piemontesi are men of few words just to hide their bad breath after a rude bàgna caôda, a savoury sauce of extra-virgin olive oil, anchovy fillets and such a profusion of garlic to dazzle the poor tenderfeet of this ancient, barbarian ritual! But if Piemontesi are always far from the most ostentatious gestures, you must rather accuse (or praise?) the essential and dry geography of their land: everything there is secret, hidden, almost secluded, truffles are underground, cardoons are thorny, chamois live solitary in to the wild…
 
The Fall -when sun loses its widest strength and fireplaces burn, while the clear air of the country is propitious to appetite and digestion and you need strong wines to face the misty nights- is the grand feast of Piedmont’s cuisine: all dishes are actually based on all the bounties harvested or ripe in Autumn, from September till November: mushrooms and partridges; thistles and pheasants; hazelnuts and grapes! The Piemontesi dust an endless series of meats with the white truffle: a porcini salad; a risotto with cheese fondue; the bàgna caôda, where they dip the crispy cardoon or a tender, ‘squared’ pepper. They also prepare sophisticated dinners with the local game, such as delicate quails or the shadowy hare; stuff the vineyards’ peaches with a delicate cream of chocolate and hazelnuts, all sort of bites that they already enjoy with the open nostrils before having hold the fork…
                      • … and savours of Fall
                      • The classic Piedmont’s style big oak casks
The courses smell an incredible fragrance, an unbelievable variety of nuances: what kind of dish isn’t delicate but strong in the meantime, harsh but smooth in Piedmont’s cuisine? From the ‘spring onions’ of Ivrea to the cheese of Chiaverano, from a full-bodied Gattinara red wine till the “civèt” marinade, everything brings the mark of a land whose people are not talkative but take food very seriously!
Try for instance the specialties of the Valle Sesia. like the violin-shaped “mocetta”, made with the leg of the deer and seasoned like a Parma; the “überlekke”, a local version of the French “Pot-au-feu”; the river trout, marinated in sweet-‘n-sour “carpione; the “tettarina dell’alpeggio”, the udder of the cow: salted, stewed, but served cold.
However, the cookery of the whole Piedmont -so delicate and tasty- reveals in many preparations the traces of the nearby France cuisine…
 
The vegetables are served raw , always aromatised with the unfailing garlic; veal is as popular as the beef…
If in Aosta Valley you can find a the rye-flour dark bread, quite imperishable, everywhere bread is white and soft, whilst breadsticks are thin, dry and a bit twisted. Pale thistles demand sturdy and laborious teeth. The porcini -thinly sliced and sometimes fried- are often served raw, seasoned with salt, black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil.
Anyway, butter -the yellow, creamy butter of the alpine pastures- is more used than oil, that normally comes from Liguria.
                      • The Pumpkin Fair in the small village of Piea (AT)
 
                      • Vines around Alba (CN)
Wines too are no laughing matter! Could perhaps somebody feel free and easy with the majesty of a Barolo or a Barbaresco? And you will hear poetic ballads and rhymes on Barbera, the wine “dark as the blood and mighty as a passion”, not suitable for a fading lady or an excitable palate…
Generally speaking, in Piedmont all food tastes of the natural beauty: of woods and valleys; of mountains and hills; of torrents and pond; of green vines and thick bunches of grape…
And under the oaks hides the white truffle, whose vague fragrance reminds us of the strong scent of the earth and of the ethereal perfume of the woman…
The ancient culture and civilisation of Piedmont expressed herself in the kitchens too, not only in Politics and Arts. Two were the styles: the simple food of the countryside tables and the sophisticated preparations of the kingly palaces, when the Sovereigns of Savoy were allied to the Court of France…”
(Font: Anna Gosetti della Salda’s “La cucina regionale italiana – Translation and adaptation by Paolo Ferrero)
   
Some general information/institutional Piedmont related links: