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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Piedmontese Cuisine, a Hidden Jewel of Italian Food and Cooking

(Piedmontese version) Category:Maps of Piedmon...(Piedmontese version) Category:Maps of Piedmont Piedmont Piedmont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)In the Italian wine region of PiedmontIn the Italian wine region of Piedmont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great things about visiting Italy is that each region is almost like a different country. Each region has differences in dialect, cuisine, architecture, and topography.

Italy is no stranger to great cuisine. It is virtually impossible to not have a good meal in Italy. However, there are certain regions where the cuisine is more noted than others.

Recently become renowned for its cuisine is the Piedmont region of Italy. Piedmont, which in Italian means, at the foot of the mountain, is located just south of the Alps in the northwest region of Italy. It is a very industrialized region, being home to Turin, the automobile capital of Italy. The restaurant scene is now bursting with progressive and avant-garde type cooking.

The region is known for its egg-pasta dishes, truffles, polenta, and great wines, notably Barolo, Barbera and Barbaresco. Asti Spumante, a sparkling sweet wine also originates from this region. To a lesser degree, the region is known for its desserts and sweets.

Truffles - Tartufo in Italian

The truffle is truly an odd and peculiar delicacy. Basically it is a clump of fungus that is found in forests where it grows wild, a few inches underneath the top of the soil. It is gathered by using special truffle-sniffing canines. The most coveted ones are the tartufi bianchi, or the white truffles. They use them to flavor soups and other dishes, and often times will shave off a bit of the top to cover a pasta dish.

Polenta from the Piedmont Region

This creamy cornmeal dish is very popular in this part of Italy, as it is often served with carbonada (a meat stew) or mushrooms and of course shaved truffles.

Great Piedmontese wines

Not as noted as wines from Tuscany, the Piedmontese wines are very well-known as a high quality Italian wine. However, they probably produce the most variety of well-known wines than any other region of Italy. In addition, the region produced schnappslike brandies made from the local fruits and herbs that are common in this mountain region.

Grissini - breadsticks

Most of the meals in this region are accompanied by a long and thin breadstick called Grissini. Legend has it that is was invented to prevent digestive problems in the 17th century. It is also claimed that Napoleon Bonaparte was fond of these breadsticks, that he called them petite batons.

Desserts and Sweets

Although not as famous as some other regions of Italy, notably Sicily, the desserts and sweets in Piedmonte are typically lighter and not as sweet as their counterparts. The most common dessert is panna cotta, a cooked milk custard. They also like torta di nocciole, a dessert made from hazelnut.

Should your travels take you to this part the country during your Italian vacation, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the cuisine that does not have that much fanfare compared to other regions.

Larry Aiello is an avid Italophile that loves to share his knowledge and passion about Italy such as how to spend three days in Rome. He also loves to teach people Italian through his site which offers free Italian lessons.


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