Piedmont Cooking & Truffle tour

Catch of the day

Best truffle market in the world

Refined cuisine and world class wines

As you know the next edition of our Salone del Gusto tour is not until October 2014, HOWEVER there is an option for those of you who cannot wait that long to visit Piedmont and enjoy its exquisite wines, cuisine, and landscapes.

Carlo and I have come up with a nice idea for those who prefer not to wait two years before taking an extraordinary culinary tour. In addition to a rich offering of cultural and culinary experiences, the itinerary will include the International Truffle Market in Alba, a foodie’s paradise.

The truffle market is a true spectacle allowing you to observe “trifulao,” as truffle hunters are called in Piedmont, sell their precious finds. Buyers smell and re-smell the valuable “tartufi” before settling on a price. This year the average price was in the range of $5700 per kilogram, about $170 per ounce. Severe drought in Europe made this product more expensive than ever. The market offers more than truffles – it’s a close up of Piedmont’s incredible wines, cheeses, mushrooms, preserves of every kind, chocolate, and torrone made with the delicious local hazelnuts known for their flavor and quality. There are so many tempting specialties and an opportunity to learn about the products by talking to the producers and tasting at will.

The tour includes two full day visits of Torino, an elegant Italian city that has perfectly preserved all the richness the royal family of Savoy left behind after the Monarchy fell in Italy in I946. There will also be winery visits and wine tastings, cooking classes, outdoor market visits, even a spa session (optional not included in the package price), chocolate tasting, and an extensive tour program to visit some of the most popular wine villages of the Piedmont Langhe area. You will even experience a truffle hunt with dogs.

The package includes 8 nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, transportation throughout the tour, wine tastings and cooking class as indicated in the itinerary, entrance fees when required, wine with meals, local professional guides, a bilingual tour escort.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1 – Oct. 6/Sunday – Arrival day
Arrival at Torino Caselle airport. Transfer by private coach to Hotel Villa San Carlo in Cortemilia, a well-known wine town near Turin. Welcome drink and a brief look at Carlo’s wine cellar. Gourmet dinner with a Grand Tasting Menu paired with four wines. Caffé, after-dinner drink and “buona notte.”

Truffle market

Day 2 – Oct. 7/Monday – Relaxing day/Truffle hunting
Colazione alla Piemontese. Breakfast Piedmont style before a truffle-hunting outing with a famous local “trifulao,” (truffle hunter). Light lunch to savor the truffles found, dessert and a properly paired wine, before heading out on the Strada delle Nocciole (Hazelnut Road). Visit the quaint village of Bergolo and the medieval, well kept, castle of Prunetto with a visit accompanied by an English-speaking guide. Return to Cortemilia in the afternoon for a cooking demonstration class. In this class, Carlo, an accomplished chef, will demonstrate how to prepare a delicious Italian meal. We will assist him in the preparation of our evening dinner.

Carlo in the kitchen

Day 3 – Oct. 8/Tuesday – Acqui Terme/Wine and Spa
The morning will be dedicated to our bodies. We’ll reach Acqui Terme, a Spa town famous for its natural hot springs. There are many choices at the spa such as: “Chocolate Beauty Day” (please, call us for details), “Cleopatra Beauty Day,” a “Mud Bath and Massage,” face massage, full–body massage, “Stone massage,” etc. The choice is totally up to you. (Spa services are not included in the package price). There will be time for strolling the streets of Acqui Terme to enjoy its excellent shopping opportunities and piazzas. Be sure to look for Acqui’s very interesting medieval area. In the afternoon we will travel a panoramic cheese road where we will stop at a small farm in Roccaverano, well known for its production of cheese and Moscato wines. Return to our hotel where Carlo will masterly prepare another of his famous dinners. Buona notte!

First class dining

Day 4 – Oct. 9/Wednesday – Torino – city of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games
Morning ride to Torino, a very elegant and sophisticated city, that was Italy’s former capital, and before that, the seat of its Royal Family. The city has preserved intact its elegant “palazzos” and other attractions from that era. Beautiful shops and miles of “portici” (arcades) make Torino an ideal place for shopping and outdoor meetings before lunch or dinner. Its “Gianduiotto,” a tender soft paste made of first quality cocoa and hazelnuts (another local product) are not to be missed. Walking guided tour with an English-speaking guide and free time in the afternoon for personal activities. Return to Hotel Villa San Carlo for dinner and overnight.

Refined cuisine

Day 5 – Oct. 10/Thursday – Hazelnut Road- Grinzane/Barolo/Pollenzo/Cherasco
After breakfast a relaxing ride on the “Hazelnut Road, stop for a visit of Grinzane Cavour Castle that houses the largest Grappa library in the world. We continue to Barolo for a visit of well-known winery and tasting. Then a visit of Cherasco a very interesting Roman town. Beeing in the area we can not miss a visit of the “Banca del Vino” the only bank in the world where transactions are made with the wine. Return to Cortemilia for dinner.

Wine tasting at Angelo Gaja winery

Day 6 – Oct. 11/Friday – Venaria Reale, former Italian Royal House country residence and Eatitaly
A visit to the Venaria Reale, the former royal country residence that was built in the style of the French Palace of Versailles. The residence and its gardens were recently restored to its past splendor. On the return, we will stop to visit Eatitaly, an exquisite food emporium. Return to Villa San Carlo for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Oct. 12/Saturday – Truffle Market in Alba
After breakfast, departure for Alba to enjoy its weekly outdoor market that will include its fascinating truffle market. This unique and interesting happening is well worth the trip. Free time for lunch. Tour of the city’s underground with an English-speaking expert in archeology. Free time to roam through the truffle market and taste the fantastic food products on display. After lunch we will visit a small lab that specializes in the production of various traditional sweets. Return to Cortemilia for our five-course farewell dinner.
Day 8 – Oct. 130/Sunday – Departure
Early transfer to Turin Caselle airport for departure.*

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