Wealthy, cultivated and famously gastronomic, Piedmont remains relatively undiscovered by American travelers. Turin, the headquarters of Fiat, belies its reputation as an industrial city by also being notably elegant, with a baroque center that features miles of shopping arcades. An hour south, the towns of Alba, Asti, Barolo and Barbaresco draw gourmets and oenophiles from around the world.
My two favorite Piedmont enotecas offer library-like selections of the wines produced in the surrounding areas. The Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco is housed in a striking 19th-century chapel and features numerous Barbaresco wines for sale and to taste. Located in the Falletti Castle, the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo offers a terrific number of wines from the 11 districts that comprise the Barolo wine zone (the property takes an annual winter break from mid-December to the end of February).
We love shopping for local gourmet delicacies in Piedmont. Bono Nella e Pagliarino is a cheese-lover’s paradise and a great place for an on-the-spot tasting lesson in Piemontese cheeses. Many connoisseurs consider the chocolates of Peyrano, founded in 1915 in Turin, to be among the best in the world. And the locally produced hazelnut oil of Paissa, also in Turin, deserves a place in your suitcase.
The charming town of Alba is the world’s white truffle capital. Its famous Truffle Market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from October through mid-December. Outside the season, visit Tartufi Ponzio for all manner of truffle-related products.