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.
The brilliant contemporary Italian cooking at chef Enrico Crippa’s three-star Piazza Duomo (Piazza Risorgimento 4, Alba. Tel. 0173-366-167) makes it the best restaurant in Piedmont. I also love Trattoria della Posta (Località Sant’Anna 87, Monforte d’Alba. Tel. 0173-78120), a well-run old tavern with a wonderful wine list and a terrace with a view of the Langhe hills.
Enotecas offer a library-like selection of the wines produced in the surrounding area. The Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco (Piazza del Municipio 7) is housed in a chapel dating to the mid-19th century and features exhibits on Barbaresco wines. The Enoteca Regionale del Barolo (Piazza Falletti 1) is located in the Falletti Castle and offers a terrific number of wines from the 11 districts that comprise the Barolo wine zone (the property re-opens from its annual winter break on March 1st).
Feast on Chocolate and Cheese
I love shopping for local gourmet delicacies in Piedmont. Bono Nella e Pagliarino (Via Roma 44, Canale) is a cheese-lover’s paradise and a great place for an on-the-spot tasting lesson in Piemontese cheeses. And many chocolate connoisseurs consider the chocolates of Peyrano (Corso Moncalieri 47, Turin), founded in 1915, to be among the best in the world.