Friday, October 14, 2016

The Italian Piedmone

The long flight across the pond- From Oregon to New York to Milan airport to Milan train station to outer points ....
Often flying into Milan is an attractively affordable way to approach Italy. One takes a train, bus or taxi to the main train station in Milan and can head out from there. Once you buy your ticket, and before getting on the train be sure to have your ticket "verified" in the yellow stamping machines. Board the train and presto, you're on your way.
We followed that route in a recent visit and ended up in Alessandria, chiefly because we did not want to drive a rental car out of Milan, a harrowing way to be introduced to the Italian road.
Regrettably it was a three hour wait for the Alessandria train and we were pretty jet lagged upon arrival. It made for a long day... A nap a dinner and a walk through the night festival, we're good to go-

We headed out of Alessandria the next day to head to Alba, in the truffle/Barolo/Barbaresco region of Italy. delightful impressive country and full of castles, friendly people and great food.
This piedmont area is spectacular in beauty and culinary delight. The dramatic landscapes roll with vineyards and medieval towers. Many of the small towns have culinary events and offer specialties of the region. The white truffle is particularly popular in this area.
We stayed in a Locanda, like an inn, often with food. The rooms were pleasant enough and the location on top of the vineyard hills was spectacular. The chef however had an over inflated view of his cuisine and we did not find it worth the penny pinching teaspoons of his presentations. With a kitchen staff of 7, a dining room staff of 5 and a restaurant that served 25 tops we suspect we were paying many salaries.
Driving in the countryside was a delight. Small roads with eye candy towns and vineyards made wandering a treat and we indulged our culinary desires with lunch rather than dinner
Wines we have enjoyed- Barbaresco, Barolo- became towns centered on
what they do best. Some towns, like Barbaresco were little more than a cluster of homes and of course, several wine stores. The local church has been made into the wine information and sales center, still sporting the angelic ceilings to the Wine Gods.
The towns follow the contours of the hills so in addition to being able to taste your favorite grape, you also get a bit of exercise between glasses. Barolo is a large town with shops, hotels, restaurants and all things wine. The long and rich history of these places weaves the wine story from the ground through the grapes.

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