Piedmont – the “foot of the mountain” – located in northwest Italy and bordered by both Switzerland and France, is home to a unique blend of culinary delights.
With its beautiful mountains and rich agricultural lands, Piedmont, which famously hosted the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, is home to a unique blend of cuisine influenced by its alpine locale, with warm dips such as bagna càuda and fonduta, Italian breadsticks called grissini, the white Alba truffle, the famous aperitif Vermouth and premium chocolate confections.
Bagna Càuda: Made with Italian anchovies, fresh garlic, butter, olive oil and sometimes cream and a shaving of fresh white Alba truffle, this decadent warm dip for raw, roasted or boiled vegetables is a Piedmont classic.
Fonduta: Using Fontina Valle d’Aosta DOP cheese from the neighbouring region of Aosta Valley, Piedmont’s decadent interpretation of fondue is made with a blend of the melted cheese, egg yolks, milk, butter and topped with white Alba truffle.
Grissini: A specialty of Turin, these thin, crispy breadsticks are hand-made and flavoured with local herbs, spices or seeds. They’re perfect for serving at the beginning of a meal, or wrap with Italian prosciutto as an appetizer.
Vermouth: Originating in Turin, centuries ago, this herb-infused fortified wine is traditionally enjoyed as an aperitif prior to a meal. Turin’s style of vermouth is sweet, herbaceous and reddish brown in colour, and is a key ingredient in the famed Manhattan cocktail.
Tartufo d’Alba: In October and November, the open-air markets and festivals scent town after town with the aroma of this region’s treasured white truffle. Gourmet shops here in Canada carry imported white Alba truffles – dried or fresh in jars – or its essence infused in olive oil and salt.
Gianduja: This silky, spreadable chocolate with hazelnut paste was created in Turin in the late 1700s by a crafty chocolatier. Since then, his original recipe has spawned other Italian specialties, including Gianduiotti, Turin’s famous hazelnut chocolate.