|Piedmont Cuisine - More than Just Wine!||| Print ||
|Written by Larry Aiello|
|Tuesday, 10 July 2012 16:48|
The Italian region of Piedmont has been popular for years because of its outstanding and notable wine production. Located just south of the Alps, it is home to the Asti and Barolo varieties, both of which have won awards and accolades over the years and are considered to be prestigious labels. Travelers flock here to visit the vineyards and sample the wines at source, enjoying the delightful scenery that you might expect to find on the edge of one of the world's most famous mountain ranges.
But in recent years the region has begun to shine in the culinary world, demonstrating a flair for cuisine rather than just its wine. Always well known for its regional polenta dishes and egg pasta creations, it's stepped up a gear and turned its food into the stuff of a restaurant critic's dream. In fact, it's become so popular that people travel for miles to experience it's emerging restaurant scene and it's become renowned for certain creations.
Truffles - Italian Delicacy
Known in Italian as tartufo, truffles are a wrinkled fungus about the size of a particularly large walnut. They're found growing wild in the forests of the region and because they grow a few inches below the surface of the earth, they're usually only found by specially trained dogs. Originally pigs were used to hunt down the delicate foodstuff, but because it was hit or miss whether you'd get to the truffle before the pig ate it, dogs were trained for the purpose instead. The special truffle is the bianchi truffle which is white in color. They're very expensive and used sparingly in cooking, but they can be found in all manner of dishes, from soups to pasta.
Piedmont polenta is a special affair, and converts to this cornmeal dish will love the variation at play here. It has a creamy texture and takes on the flavor of the rest of the meal. A favorite in the north of Italy is to serve it with a traditional meat stew known as a carbonada, but it also goes well with mushroom dishes or truffles.
The wines from the Piedmont region are all very well regarded, but they don't have the same fame that wines from other Italian regions, such as Tuscany, can count on. That said, some of their particular wines, like the Asti Spumante, are famous worldwide, even if most of us couldn't name the region it comes from. Not content with their wine making though, the Piedmontese people are the creators of a schnapps-style brandy made from locally grown fruits and herbs.
The long, crunchy and thin sticks of dough that the Italians call grissini are very often served as accompaniments to Italian meals, and they're certainly very popular in this region. They were thought to have originated in the 14th Century and often form part of the traditional antipasto starter that the country is famous for.
Desserts and Sweets
The Piedmont region certainly doesn't come to mind when you think of sweet dishes, but that doesn't mean they don't produce any. In fact, this part of Italy seems to prefer slightly less sweetness at the end of their meals, and you'd be more likely to find a good panna cotta (cooked custard) than some of the heavier, riches dishes found towards the south.
Photo credit: From Wikipedia Commons - author: Arpingstone