Piemonte or Piedmont is a wonderful region in Northern Italy, standing at the foot of the Alps and lined by France and Switzerland. The area is full of astonishingly beautiful valleys, rolling hills covered in vines and charming little villages that offer grand tastes of Italian cuisine.
In Piemonte, much as everywhere else in Italy, local traditions and first class ingredients get the spotlight. At the same time the area has proved itself as a culinarily progressive region. Centuries-old recipes are still made with local ingredients such as white truffles and handmade pasta, but with a fresh and brave flare.
I’ve developed a habbit of summering in Italy each year. In the summer of 2014 Piemonte and the incredible Azienda Agricola Incisiana was my home for a brief moment. The beautiful villa is the epitome of Italy. With panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards, the place was so beautiful it was sort of difficult to leave, even for a minute. Naturally most of my time was spent getting to know the vineyards and trying new recipes in the kitchen, sometimes incorporating the fresh lavender from the garden.
The villa had a tower with a rooftop terrace that was also in daily use. It was a fantastic place to enjoy an Aperol Spritz and some crostini piemontesi, crisp bread with delicious toppings from the nearby farms.
Not Just a Tomato
A tomato or a cucumber never tastes as good back home in Finland as it does in Italy. The sun-ripened tomatoes are juicy and firm, incredibly red and sweet. Of course the beautiful surroundings bring their own special something to the table.
Piemonte is the promised land for many dedicated foodies. It’s not surprising, since the region has given the world many delicious gifts: Gianduja (the original Nutella), delicate white truffles, nougat, tajarin pasta and bagna càuda, a hot dip made with olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies.
The greatest gift Piemonte has given the world has to be Barolo, the king of wines. Other notable wines of the region are Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and the sweet Moscato d’Asti.
I had great and memorable experiences in the quaint trattorias of the surrounding villages, but what I miss most about Piemonte are those al fresco dinners, sitting by the pool and watching the sun set behind the hills, enjoying a glass of local wine and trying homemade local delicacies.
Topping up the tan in Piemonte
Nebbiolo vines are aplenty in Piemonte