The most attentive among you surely noticed that the entire TBS Crew went to the Langhe region last week, to spend some time together in this area of rolling hills between Cuneo and Asti — in Piedmont, north western Italy, for those who are wondering. It was a first visit for many of us, and we all had a positive impression of the place. If you also would like to take a trip to this marvellous location in Piedmont, read our tips, and get your notebook out. Oh, and be warned: the food and the wine are great, so please, leave your guilty conscience at home!
Piedmont will welcome you with its green valleys and its rows of vines, making it the perfect setting for a magical weekend. Alba, the capital of truffles, is our first destination. It is a very small town with a hidden treasure underneath: the remains of a Roman era village, on top of which the current town developed later on. It is definitely worth a visit, with an archeologist who will tell you all the secrets of Alba Pompeia, as the location was called in Roman times — make sure you book ahead.
After that, make your way to Neive, another historical village, this time of the Middle Ages, which features a beautiful castle where you can have apéritif, too. Sit down for lunch at L’Aromatario, located in a beautiful, ivy-covered palace… Really so very atmospheric! Here, you will be able to enjoy dishes both from the sea and from the land, without of course forgetting local Piedmont traditional fare.
With a full stomach, you can move on to an experience that you must absolutely try in this place, since the Langhe region is known as the land of good wine. We recommend visiting the many wineries in the area that offer Barolo tasting: we went to Cantine Brunella, owned by the Baroli winemakers. Here, we learned about the differences between different types of Barolo wine, that usually depend on the location of the vines, as well as on the differences in exposure to sunlight.
Take in the sunset on the hills overlooking Barolo. Finally, make your way to the place that you will call home tonight: the Locanda del Pilone, a resort that also happens to be a starred restaurant. Their kitchen, headed by young chef Federico Gallo, 29 years old, won the much coveted Michelin star, and the meal you’ll have here, starting from the meat tartare antipasto, all the way to the homemade dessert pie, is a perfectly executed modern variation of traditional Piedmont specialties that will make you say “hmm, so delicious” plenty of times while you eat. After dinner, you will get the chance to taste Nocciolino, a homemade liquor, sitting on the verandah, taking in the beauty of your surroundings, and welcoming a warm, fuzzy feeling of drowsiness and relaxation.
Waking up surrounded by greenery, in a place where birdsong is the only noise you’ll hear, will already set the right mood for the day. Since you are in the land of truffles, we recommend an experience so unique to this place that you can hardly have it anywhere else: going truffle hunting! We went truffle hunting with Mr. Ezio, from the Tra Arte e Querce restaurant, who will accompany you on a 1-hour excursion in the local woods, looking for these prestigious mushrooms. Trust us, when your dog finds one of these treasures, you will be the first to rejoice! Also because you will get the chance to have your truffle just after your walk, during a lunch so delicious it will make you smile.
After hunting and dining, let the charming villages in the Langhe area bewitch you. We recommend visiting Pollenzo, Monteforte d’Alba, Morra, which features the super colorful Barolo chapel, and Barolo itself: with beautiful weather, you will be able to enjoy wide open green spaces, and untouched nature.
If you still have some time, stop by for a ritual that is typical of Piedmont tradition: the merenda sinoira. This is a tradition that can be traced back to local farmer culture: after a day of work on the fields, farmers used to get an energy boost by enjoying cold cuts, cheese, vitello tonnato (cold veal in a tuna sauce) and of course, a good glass of wine, while admiring the landscape. This will be a magical and tasty way to bid farewell to a place that will stay in your heart.