Autumn in Piedmont Italy is the perfect season for foodies, wine lovers, and everyone looking to enjoy the Piedmont wine region, the white Alba truffles, the Piedmontese cuisine and the splendour of nature.
Harvest season in Italy is a magical time, with wine, oil, chestnut and food festivals in many of the country’s sprawling regions. One of our favourites is undoubtedly Piedmont, where you can discover the best Italian food and wine experiences during a fall getaway in Italy.
The rich and fascinating Piedmont region of Italy provides the visitor with a scenic tapestry of medieval hilltop villages, ancient castles, alpine pastures, pristine lakes and lush rolling vineyards.
The region’s undulating hillsides and vineyards lay on a grand spectacle of immense beauty during fall. This is when the vivid colour-changing landscapes transform from green to striking, sun-tinged shades of yellow, orange and red — all set to the glorious backdrop of the Alps. Piedmont in autumn is nothing short of spectacular.
Some of the best products are also harvested during this time: grapes that turn into bold red wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco, truffles that give dishes an irresistible touch, and chestnuts that are expertly glazed by skilled confectioners to become the legendary marrons glacés.
To celebrate this autumnal culinary cornucopia, Piedmont hosts a fantastic range of food and wine festivals each year. These are attended by world-class chefs, sommeliers and passionate foodies from around the globe.
Alba, the white truffle capital of the world
The city of Alba, is nestled in the hills of the southern Piedmont region, an ideal location between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountain range of the Alps and a must-visit for any foodie. The beating heart in the middle of the Langhe, Alba, is surrounded by an extraordinary landscape known for its rich culinary bounty from the nearby hills. Autumn brings with it a host of seasonal food favourites, not least the precious white truffle, which is always a highlight on any epicurean calendar.
Alba is renowned internationally for its great red wines and its tasty cuisine but above all because every autumn sees the arrival of the highly coveted white truffle.
White truffles are widely considered the most expensive and prized in the world, and the white Alba truffle has an unmistakable flavour and is exceptionally aromatic. Top chefs will tell you that the best white truffles are sourced from Alba. In the 1930s, an entrepreneur named Giacomo Morra launched the world’s first truffle-selling company. And it was through his early efforts of championing the fungi and sending them as gifts to celebrities and world leaders such as Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill that the world came to love this unknown delicacy. Morra also created the International Alba White Truffle Fair..
The International Alba White Truffle Fair, also known as the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, is held in the city every fall as a tribute to the gastronomic delights found in northern Italy. This year, the 92nd Edition of Piedmont’s International Alba White Truffle Festival takes place between the 8th of October and the 4th of December. Every weekend truffle hunters, winemakers, chefs, food artisans and buyers gather to celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Piedmont. With the perfume of the truffles filling the air, the festival calendar is filled with culinary events ranging from live cooking demonstrations by leading chefs and classes on wine pairing to truffle sensory analysis and food stalls.
In addition, the International Alba White Truffle Market is a celebration of the Piedmontese cuisine and culinary bounty. Local winemakers generously pour samples of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Barolo from vines that have been passed down in families for generations, local bakers use the popular hazelnut (Nutella is based in Alba) to create all kinds of sweets, and stalls are brimming with some of the best cheeses and salumi in the world.
The famous UNESCO wine region of Piedmont produces a rich variety of award-winning wines
Autumn is also a fantastic time to tour Piedmont’s many vineyards and wineries and enjoy some of the best wines in Italy. Just think of the famous three B’s — Barbaresco, Barolo, and Barbera — along with Dolcetto or Nebbiolo wines to realise how much this region can offer.
Located in northwest Italy, Piedmont sits on the slopes of the Alp foothills. This unique geographical spot lends two key features influencing the region’s climate: the cool Alps and the balmy Mediterranean. Characterised by warm days and cool nights, morning mists and a long growing season, Piedmont is one of Italy’s best terroirs for wine. This combination of variation in natural conditions provides the framework for the region’s diverse terroirs — wine from Piedmont ranges from the finest reds to some of the most vibrant, light whites.
In 2014, the ‘Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato’ was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This landscape covers five areas with outstanding scenery and distinctive wines: the Langhe hills of Barolo, the Barbaresco wine hills, Nizza Monferrato for its Barbera wine production, Canelli for its Asti Spumante sparkling wine and Monferrato for its particular underground wine cellars called “infernots”.
With an awe-inspiring landscape and world-class wines, the Piedmont wine region is the perfect destination for wine lovers from all over the world.
The Piedmont region of Italy – A land of Slow Food and Cheese Festivals
Piedmont is known for its delicious cuisine as much as its famous wines. During autumn, nearly every town has a sagra, a food festival dedicated to their local delicacy, while the hills are buzzing with the sounds of the harvest.
This is also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Slow Food Movement in its birthplace, rich with sustainable farming, local sourcing and cultural heritage preservation initiatives founded in this region. The Slow Food international headquarters are located in Bra — the town in Piedmont where Carlo Petrini founded the movement in the 1980s.
A Mecca for cheese-lovers from around the world, the biennial Cheese Festival is organised by Slow Food Italy and the City of Bra. It is the largest international event dedicated to raw milk cheese and dairy products. Market farmers, herders, cheesemakers, cheesemongers and dairymen will encourage cheese-loving visitors to share in their passion for all things dairy. The Slow Food Cheese Festival 2023 will take place on September 12-20.
Piedmont cuisine, a gastronomic haven
Gastronomically, Piedmont is undoubtedly one of Italy’s most exciting regions for food and wine connoisseurs. Deeply steeped in food and wine culture, autumn in Piedmont is a time of harvest and celebration.
Spellbinding landscapes with vibrant autumn shades and breathtaking views, charming medieval villages, rolling hills blanketed with neat rows of vines, pasta dusted with shaved truffle, and great wine that oenophiles cannot miss — these are all just a few reasons to visit this gastronomic paradise in the Piedmont region. Guaranteed to wow, Piedmont is a perfect example of the marriage between food and wine and is loved by gourmands worldwide.
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