Tag Archives: Piemonte

A white Christmas in Dogliani

View of Monviso
Early Christmas morning: view of Monviso

Well, that went by fast! I hope you all had a nice Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year. As you can see, we decided to find us some snow (since it didn’t look like any was gonna fall in Lecco), and headed to our 2nd favorite region in Italy: Piemonte. There was just enough snow on the ground in Dogliani to make it worth the trip, but the surprise was that Dogliani is also a great place to base ourselves for future visits to the Langhe.

Agriturismo Minaldo
Italian farmstay in Dogliani: Agriturismo Minaldo

Out in the countryside and flanked by vineyards, the agriturismo is perfect for small families and couples. We took the apartment with kitchenette and ate in for Christmas eve and day. Breakfast is included in the daily rate and free wi-fi. The owners are wonderful, and their 3 little doggies make up the rest of the welcome committee.

Agriturismo Minaldo lane
Early morning walk for the pooches

Xmas with the kids in Dogliani
These two are out of shape. They were all worn out after a good romp in the white stuff.

Of course we had to stop in at all the wine shops that we had time for, and Cantina La Morra was the only one open on xmas eve. More Barolo than you can shake a stick at!

Cantina La Morra

I did not miss cooking one bit this Christmas, and from now on I think we’re going to do it like this if no snow falls in the chestnut forest: go on a little vacay. No fuss, the “kids” get to be snow bunnies, and zero stress. I almost feel like I was cheated out from not getting super stressed!

Xmas aperitivi 2016
Assorted tidbits from Picard grocery store, just heat and serve.

Xmas lunch 2016
Fresh agnolotti al plin pasta (3 minutes tops in a boiling pot of water) and tomato-basil sauce from a local market – just the thing to go with the complimentary bottle of Dogliani from the agriturismo.

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Fall favorites in the Piemonte region

Wine tasting in Barolo last month reminded me that autumn in Piemonte is an excellent time of year. The days are cooler, the leaves begin to turn color, and the seasonal delights of the table begin to show up on menus and at festivals. I read a comment on a travel forum where the person wasn’t aware of how great Piemonte can be in the fall, so here are my absolute favorite things that makes me want to be there each year.

Bollito Misto at Osteria del Borgo

Osteria del Borgo

Neither of us are heavy meat eaters but when in Piemonte…in the fall…this is the place for undernourished carnivores. Bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) are served from a large cart along with 7 sauces: salsa verde, minced pickled vegetables, grape-based cugnà, onion jam, salsa rossa, horseradish, and mostarda.

White truffles

Mister meets the truffle

The gold of piemontese gastronomy. Unfortunately, it’s a luxury that we can afford now and then. The International White Truffle Fair in Alba runs from October to November, drawing huge crowds in what I can only describe as truffle fever. We’re hoping the dachshund will come around and take to truffle-hunting instead of barking at cats or sleeping all day.

Nashi pears

Nashi "Dely"

Nashi pears still aren’t very well-known in Italy, but 2 farms that cultivate them – Trybeca in Centallo and Azienda Frutticola Romanisio in Piozzo – sell nashi by the crate at fall fairs around the region. It’s also possible to stop in and purchase at the farms. The ‘Try’ variety is juicy and has a distinctly sweet flavor, while the Dely (in the box above) is better for longer storage. Every year we look forward to the drive out to Cuneo to bring back, at the very least, 4 flats of the largest size available of the variety Dely or Aki.

Il Potage di Monteu Roero

il Potage

Another autumn tradition that I stumbled across a few years ago. Potage is a typical stewed dish of the Monteu Roero area, available on the menu of participating restaurants from mid-September to the end of December. It is made with meat, or chicken with bell peppers, or also cod, and is slowly cooked on top of a wood stove or potage (putagé in dialect), hence the name of the dish. This is served with soft polenta.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/potagemonteuroero

Bagna Càuda

Bagna Caud-iamo!

Again, one of Piemonte’s gifts to the italian table. A ‘hot bath’ of cooked garlic, anchovies and olive oil, perfect for dipping with a colorful variety of vegetables and fruit. There’s even a Bagna Cauda Day for enthusiastic fans of the pungent dish.

Barolo tasting as easy as 1, 2, 3…and 4

Enoteca Regionale del Barolo

If you’ve chanced upon this page looking for expert advice on Barolo the wine, I’m sorry, but expert I am not. What I can tell you, however, is how easy, fun, and educational an afternoon of wine-tasting can be if you visit the Enoteca Regionale in Barolo. With 32 labels to choose from, I dare you to walk out of there without feeling several sips wiser on tasting Barolo!

Barolo 101: the soil

Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, one Barolo can differ from another depending on the type of soil where the grapes were grown. Vines grown in sandy terrain yield wines that are fruity and less tannic, while vines grown in clay are more tannic. The enoteca takes the guess-work out of where to begin by grouping various Barolo in 3 soil types: sand, sand and clay, clay.

Each category has 8 labels to select from. This gives visitors an ample opportunity to note the nuances between various winemakers in any given soil type. Not fond of the harshness of tannins? Stick with category 1. Want to try them all? Start tasting in numerical order from less tannic to more tannic. A 4th and final category is dedicated entirely to bottles of aged Barolo. We tried only one (year 1984) and it tasted almost like a dessert wine.

Barolo 101: pick a wine, any wine

You’ll need to leave an identity document with the staff to receive a wine card and wine glasses. The automated system is super easy: insert card in single slot above category, place glass under dispenser, push screen to dispense, remove card and carry on.

Enoteca Regionale del Barolo

Pours are about 1/8th of a cup. Prices are listed for each label and range from 2€ to 4€ (the older Barolo in category 4). When you’re done, return card to the staff and they’ll total your pours. Great way for a do-it-yourself introduction to Barolo, and you can purchase bottles to bring home. Nice plus: the enoteca is dog-friendly too.

Barolo tasting Mister B hiding out in Barolo

Mister B was so terrified but he found a hiding spot from which to check things out.