The Piedmont region stretches across the great Alpine arc: that includes the Pennine Alps and a portion of the Lepontine Alps. It includes two large hilly areas, the Langhe and the Monferrato. The Po River has its source in Piedmont and the region is crossed by several Alpine streams flowing into the Po. Many Alpine lakes dot the region. In the eastern section one can find two larger lakes: Lago Maggiore and Lago d’Orta. The regional capital is Turin. Other important cities are: Asti, Alessandria, Cuneo, Novara, Vercelli, Biella and Verbania.
In Turin and in Susa interesting traces of the Roman era can be found. The religious Romanesque-Gothic architecture is remarkable: examples are the Abbey of Vezzolano, the Sacra di San Michele, the Abbey of Staffarda, St. Antonio di Ranverso, St. Andrea in Vercelli and other churches in Saluzzo, Chieri and Ciriè. The Baroque style has greatly influenced the appearance of most Piedmontese cities, especially in Turin.
Some of the major sites in Turin, include the Royal Armory, the Egyptian Museum, the second most important in the world after the one in Cairo, with historical remains of the ancient civilization. The Sabauda Gallery houses pictorial works of the Piedmontese, Dutch and Flemish schools, as well as some valuable Tuscan works, such as the Beato Angelico and the Pollaiolo. The Borgogna Museum houses the works of the local Renaissance painters and the Civic Museum is dedicated to local history and art.
This northwestern region of Italy, is famous for egg pastas, vitello tonnato, the boiled-meat dish, bollito misto—plus well known red wines like Barolo, Barbera and Barbaresco. Torino (Turin) is a city of interesting contrasts between old the world and the new. The name of Torino is widely recognized as home to the famous Shroud of Torino, housed in the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista (“Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist”), but it is also the center of operations for the automobile manufacturers, Lancia and Fiat. Torino’s appeal is heightened even more by the city’s excellent artisan chocolates, no doubt influenced heavily by their proximity to Switzerland.
The valleys and pasture lands, protected in large part by the Alps, offer the ideal locations for growing grains like wheat, corn and rice. The terraced hills lend themselves well to growing grapes and, subsequently, wine production. Freshwater fish and eels are popular in Piedmontese cooking. Pork and pork products are on the table, as is good beef. Cattle thrive in Piedmont, and the dairy industry is strong, creating a love of cheeses, cream, milk and butter. Locals also have a fondness for game meats hunted in the forests. White truffles grow wild there and their distinctive flavor adds earthiness to many recipes.
The preferred pasta is a narrow handmade noodle called tajarin. They are often simmered in beef broth and topped with butter, grated Grana Padano cheese and shaved truffles. Agnolotti Piemontesi, similar to ravioli, are also popular. These meat and herb filled dumplings are generally served with fresh sage fried in butter and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.
The flatlands of Piemonte are Europe’s prominent supplier of Carnaroli rice and they are known for their creamy risotto dishes. It is cooked with butter and shaved truffles or made into panissa, a risotto flavored with red borlotti beans, Salam d’la Duja and pork rind. Frogs, meat or vegetables may also be used in rice dishes.
Piemonte produces large numbers of hazelnuts and they are put to good use in cakes and pastries, as well as torrone nougat and chocolates. Candied chestnuts, known as marron glacés, are famous worldwide. Other outstanding desserts include bonèt, a custard cake flavored with coffee or chocolate, panna cotta, a silky custard made with cream and caramel thickened with gelatin and torta gianduia, a decadent hazelnut and chocolate cake made with ground nuts instead of flour. Zabaione is a light custard made with Marsala wine and sweetened egg yolks.
Take a trip through the Piedmont region via the video below.
Piedmont Recipes To Make At Home
Zuppa di Cipolla al Vino Rosso
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 16 thin slices baguette
- 1 cup freshly grated Fontina cheese
Melt the butter in a heavy, wide pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 25 minutes, or until they are very soft and caramelized; stirring every few minutes to ensure they cook evenly.
Season with the salt and pepper, deglaze with the wine and cook for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the liquid into the onions.
Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, uncovered. Cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring once in a while.
Preheat the broiler.
Place 4 slices of baguette in each of 4 oven-proof soup bowls (preferably the sort with a handle). Scatter the Fontina over the bread.
Ladle the soup over the bread and place the dishes under the broiler. Broil the soup for 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot. Serves 4.
Maltagliati with Leek Sauce
- 1 lb all-purpose flour
- 6 whole eggs
- 6 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup light cream (half & half)
- ½ cup or more of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Salt to taste
Mix the flour and eggs in a mixing bowl or a food processor.
Roll the dough thin by hand or with a pasta machine. Cut the pasta into medium-size diamonds.
In a deep skillet, brown the leeks in the butter.
Cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water. Fresh pasta cooks quickly in about 2-3 minutes.
Drain and add it to the pan with the browned leeks.
Add the cream, mix well and finish with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.
Pan Roasted Meat with Hazelnuts
- Pork or veal tenderloin about 2 lbs.(800 grams)
- 3 ½ oz (100 grams) hazelnuts, chopped plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
- 2 cups (1 pint) milk
- Half an onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons Marsala wine
- 5 tablespoons (80 grams) Flour
In a large pot, brown the onion in the butter. Push the onions aside and add the meat and let it brown on all sides.
Add the Marsala wine and let it completely evaporate. Season the meat with salt and add the milk and chopped hazelnuts .
Cover the pan and cook the tenderloin for at least 120 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside.
Prepare a roux by mixing the flour with enough water to make a paste, mix well.
Bring the sauce in the pan to a boil, then whisk in the roux and cook until the sauce thickens, whisking the entire time.
Cut the meat into slices and serve coated with the sauce. Garnish with hazelnuts.
Salad of Roasted Peppers, Olives and Fontina
- 3 large yellow bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- White pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced, Italian green olives
- ¼ pound fontina, cut into long strip
Arrange the peppers on a grill rack above a charcoal fire, on wire racks positioned over the burners of a gas or electric stove, 2 to 3 inches under a preheated broiler, or in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F. Roast them until they are charred all over and tender inside, turning them frequently to insure they blacken evenly, about 30 minutes in the oven, but less time by the other methods. Set aside to cool.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, using your fingertips, peel off the skins. Cut the peppers in half and remove and discard the stems, ribs, and seeds (Do not do this under running water; it will wash away some of the delicious taste.) Cut the peppers lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips and place in a bowl. Add the oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, olives and cheese and toss gently to mix well. Serve at room temperature.
Baci di Dama (Lady Kisses) Cookies
- 1 cup hazelnut flour (finely ground hazelnuts)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 11 tablespoons cold butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Nutella (or any chocolate hazelnut spread)
In a mixing bowl combine the flours and the sugar. Cut the butter into small chunks and incorporate it into the flour mixture. It is best to use a wooden spoon or your fingers to completely mix the butter with the flour mixture to make the dough.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then take it out and form small balls the size of a quarter. When placing them on the cookie sheet, press down slightly so that they are flattened on one side. They will form a dome shape: flat on one side, rounded on the other.
Bake at 350 degrees F, for about 20 minutes, or until they just start to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
After the cookies have cooled spread a thin layer of Nutella on the flat side of the cookie and place another cookie on top, making a sandwich.