Where to Stay, Eat, and Shop in Piemonte (updated June 2017)

 

Piemonte is located two hours by car southwest of Milano, a one hour drive from Torino, and only slightly more than three hours from Geneva International Airports, making it very accessible.

Stay

Corte Gondina. Located in La Morra you’ll look long and hard to find a more perfect “basecamp” for a wine trip. Bruno Viberti, his wife, and the staff will probably become your friends for life. www.cortegondina.it

Literally on the top of the hill in Monforte d’Alba, Villa Beccaris offers a great atmosphere. Supreme views, exquisite grounds, and immaculate service. www.villabeccaris.it/

Still in Monforte d’Alba, Le Case della Saracca, you’ll get modern comfort in the medieval part of the village. Open log fire places and candle lights wherever you go, means you have to book early to get one of the (only) 6 rooms.

A winery basically, with some very modern rooms, the Art Suites – Rocche Costemagna.  But, it is the view that makes you want to stay here. All of the Langhe, right in front of you.

Eat

Piemontese are as passionate about their food, as they are about their wines. It’s hard to go wrong choosing between the many Osterias, Trattorias, and Ristorante, but as everywhere else some are just that little much better than the others. Remember to book table(s), as they tend to fill up quickly.

(new)  I’ll put the new ones up top here.  Not because they are necessarily better than those below, but they are definitely worth your attention. 

I have not tasted gnocchi and ravioli in every single restaurant in Italy, but as for now, my top gnocchi (and a devine cheese sauce) and ravioli (words cannot describe it) is served at Repubblica di Perno, in Perno (+39 0173 78492).  You do not get to Perno by accident, so you have to plan to go there.  A curiosity I think, is the fact that their dog does not get up during pasta servings, only when meat is brought to the tables….

If bacala is your thing – it is definitely mine, for those who thought Norwegian dried cod was best served in Portugal and Spain need to try Piemonte – Osteria i Rebbi (+39 0173 78568) is your next culinary visit.  Located between Monforte and Dogliani, it also serves a vicious panna cotta.

A past favorite, Trattoria della Posta, has opened up again in Monforte.  But as I have not tried it out yet, I can only recommend it on past performances.

More e Macine is to Piemonte what Babbo is to New York City.  It for nothing else, go for the tiramisu (and some would say, the panna cotta).   Alex, the Chef, is constantly experimenting and changing items on the menu.

Serralunga, home of Vigna Rionda and other great vineyards, is also home to Centro Storico.  Perhaps the best mature Champagne list east of Champagne, and in general a cool place to go for both lunch and dinner. The owner, his wife, and his mother-in-law are legends in their own time, and you’ll be amazed what comes out of that small kitchen….

Osteria del Vignaiolo, 0173 50335, in Santa Maria, great little osteria , local food, attentive staff, deep wine list. It’s as typical of a Piemonte Osteria as can be, and ranks up there with the best.

Angelo Sibilla and Maria Cristina Rinaudi’s (of Ristorante le Torri fame) new restaurant, Mangè, is located in the center of La Morra and in addition to the normal Piemontese grub, they take pride in their seafood. (+39 339 5819189)

If Michelin guides your palate, there’s enough to go around, with Piazza Duomo (+39 0173 366167) in Alba,  Risorante Tornavento (+39 173 638352) in Treiso (unbeatable location), Ristorante all’Enoteca (+39 173 9595857) in Canale, and Ristorante Locanda nel Borgo Antico, (+39 173 56355) serving local cuisine in the center of Nebbiolo-land, the town of Barolo.

Since last update in 2015,  Ristorante Bovio, Osteria la Saracca, Ristorante Fior di Sale, and Osteria la Libera, have been ommited from list as they either has vanished or just not kept up the pace of the other Osterias, Trattorias and Ristorante in the area.

Shop

Most wineries have a stack of their own wines for you to buy after the tasting/tour. If not, most wines are available at the local village Cantinas (e.g. Cantina Communale La Morra), at more or less same price as the wineries. Multiple wine shops also exist, in most towns, with the Enoteca Fracchia & Berchialla a good bet for finding the best of the Langhe wines.

Do

Hug the cedar tree (for everlasting love)  http://bit.ly/11W8Xeu.  Check before going, there is a fence around it now, and they only open for special occassions.

Visit the Chapel (not so much religious as it is art – and wine)  http://bit.ly/15a32qX

 

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