The Harper Notebook: Where to Eat in Piedmont, Italy

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Wealthy, cultivated and gastronomic, Piedmont remains relatively undiscovered by American travelers. Turin, until 2011 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. Here are five recommendations in the Piedmont region.

Linguine with white truffles at <em>Guido</em>, Serralunga d'Alba, Italy © Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Pool at Villa Tiboldi, Piedmont, Italy © Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Where to Eat and Drink

The brilliant contemporary Italian cooking at chef Enrico Crippa's three-star Piazza Dumo (Piazza Risorgimento 4, Alba) makes it the best restaurant in Piedmont. I also love Trattoria della Posta, a well-run old tavern with a wonderful wine list and a terrace with a view of the Langhe hills (Localita Sant'anna 87, Monteforte d'Alba).

Taglierini with ragout at <em>Trattoria della Posta</em>
Taglierini with ragout at Trattoria della Posta

Turin’s grandest café is the Caffè San Carlo (Piazza San Carlo 156). It opened in 1822 and has been serving superlative coffee and good sandwiches since. Nearby, the Caffè Torino (Piazza San Carlo 204) is another charming grande dame with gilded moldings and huge fireplaces. At Baratti & Milano (Piazza Castello 29), the specialty is hot chocolate, plus pastries made on the premises, maybe a Barattina, a luscious chocolate and hazelnut confection.

Enotecas offer a library-like selection of the wines produced in the surrounding area. The Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco (Piazza del Munipio 7) is housed in an early 19th-century chapel 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.

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. Atmospheric and upscale Paissa (Piazza San Carolo 196, Turin) stocks everything from pasta to chocolate, but the locally produced hazelnut oil really deserves a place in your suitcase . And many chocolate connoisseurs consider the chocolates of Peyrano (Corso Moncalieri 47, Turin), founded in 1915, to be among the best in the world.

The charming little town of Alba is the world’s white truffle capital, and there’s no better time to visit than when the truffles are in season from October to early December. Don’t miss the International Alba White Truffle Fair, with its Truffle Market on Saturdays and Sundays. The best place to stock up on truffle products, including delicious pastes, powders and sauces, is at Tartufi Ponzio (Via Vittorio Emanuele 7A).

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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