The Wine and Truffles Adventure in Piemonte, Italy
Hosted by Debbie and Barry Frangipane
Come experience the magic of Piemonte (Piedmont), the home of the rare white truffles and the most important wines in Italy...
Piedmont is the home of the Slow Food movement and is renowned for the quality of its food and its gourmet cuisine. Everywhere you will find local artisan producers of cheese, salami, chocolate.... The area has the highest concentration of gourmet chefs in Italy and there is food to satisfy every palette. The region is also rich in history, pageantry and breathtaking scenery. Our villa is in the golden triangle of wine production and is ideally based for 'gourmeting' and sightseeing for all of the major activities and events in Piedmont.
We will stay in a newly renovated 400 year-old palazzo near the famous wine town of Asti. Many rooms have terraces and a 360 degree view of the surrounding vineyards. The entire palazzo will be exclusively ours, complete with a professional kitchen with plenty of room for those eager to learn. In 2007 our villa was awarded the Traveler's Award for top 10 Hotel Gems in Europe. Tripadvisor.com has rated the villa as high as the third best hotel in Italy, and the villa was recently featured on BBC's Luxury Travel Channel.
There are landscaped gardens with a large covered pergola, a lounge bar, wine tasting room, game room and sun terraces, and a superb swimming pool, a small gym, and courtyard with views along the valley. Dining "alfresco" with a view of the surrounding vineyards is a magnificent experience. To see more photos of the villa, click here.
All of our bedrooms have en suite bathrooms, mini-bars and tea and coffee machines. There is also a mix of styles throughout the villa, from the exotic Moroccan room to the refined French Quarter and the rustic Italian style rooms with their lustrous woods and wrought iron furnishings.
The fine people of La Spinetta wines, whose 2000 Barolo earned a score of 100 points from Wine Spectator magazine, will be treating us to a night of food and wine pairing in our villa home. Pairing the perfect Piemonte wines with sumptuous foods will provide memories for years to come. Watch this video to see Barry Frangipane interview Manuela Rivetti of La Spinetta.
We have been invited to a special Barbaresco tasting and lunch at Marchesi di Gresy. Watch our friend Marco the enologist explain why Marchesi di Gresy's wines are so highly acclaimed.
The Piedmont area is known throughout the world for its exquisite truffles - especially the white truffle. During the truffle months, this region goes mad for this upscale relative of the mushroom. There are fairs every weekend - the main ones are in Alba and Asti - and the restaurants are filled with that distinctive, earthy aroma.
For many, part of the pleasure is in the hunting. Our villa is within walking distance of one of the most prolific regions for truffles in the area. You will join our local expert who has been pulling truffles from the ground for at least 3 decades. He and his very accomplished dog, Rocky, will 'sniff out' the most likely places to find our own 'white gold'. They have now been mentioned on the Letterman show; appeared on the BBC and are in Francesco's Italy and Vanity Fair! Amongst his finds was a fist-sized one which fetched 150 euros.
Once we have mastered cooking with truffles we will move on to the indescribable pleasures of digestion. Italians have, out of necessity due to their love of dining, perfected the art of completing the dining experience with the perfect digestivo. In order to properly understand this integral part of the dining experience, we will visit the local grappa distillery and museum located within 5 minutes from our villa.
We will see how Italians make this “liquid gold” (also known as Italian moonshine) in their own homes, while tasting a variety of grappa enabling us to better pair the perfect grappa to complement our meals. Discover which grappa is better suited for your taste buds! Perhaps you will like the cherry infused grappa, or maybe you will be swayed by the divine grappa made with baby strawberries.
We will be visiting the historic bakery of Moriondo Carlo, the home of Amaretti Biscotti since 1798. Dip your fingers in the batter and think of our return to the villa where we will experience the sinful dolci made with these local treats.
Silvia, a local producer of delicious cheeses has invited us to visit her farm to see how she and her friends craft these artisan cheeses. Of course, no cheese tasting would be complete without wine!
We will be invited to a private chocolate tasting. Giacomo, a second generation chocolatier, has developed a passion for chocolate that is almost an art. This artisan chocolate maker imports cocoa from around the world to make his own select blends of chocolate. Giacomo applies his craftsmanship to Piemonte specialties from chocolate salami to Amaretti Marengo to Gianduja, a hazelnut chocolate unlike any other.
His liqueur-filled Mandridrugnin, and his chospice (a dark chocolate with spices) are a real triumph of confectionery artistry and skill.
As a final celebration, we will be treated to a luxurious gala dinner and private party in the cantinas of the Contratto winery used by the Italians in WWII to hide their wine from the Germans. Michelin star chef Mariuccia from a local, highly acclaimed restaurant will create a celebration of the traditions of Piemonte exclusively for us in this special setting.
Come join us on this adventure in the home of Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Asti wines.
Our host Barry Frangipane will be teaching us how to make authentic Tiramisu. Since his mother was raised in Treviso , a bustling town in the Veneto where Tiramisu was created, Barry feels it is important to pass down the proper technique for making this delicious dessert.
Debbie Frangipane will cook (market permitting) from her favorites which include:
Vittello Tonnato, Pasta Bolognese, brescaola, Bigoi in Salsa, pasta in tomato onion butter sauce, Gelato filled oranges, Sarde in Saor con polenta, baba rhum cakes, brandy marinated oranges, fritto misto, torta di mandorle e pignoli con crema di limone, melone con marsala, prosciutto con melone (with San Daniele, of course!) Parmesan encrusted rack of lamb, bruschetta, foccaccia con cipolle, foccaccia con rosmarino, eggplant parmesan, mushroom timbale, torta al'aranciata, manicotti, insalata caprese, asparaghi con prosciutto e fontina, zuppa inglese, coniglio con patate rosmarino, gnochetti all San Daniele in cestino con montasio, pasta aglio e olio, caponata, crispelli.
Debbie will be teaching us the fine art of making cannoli shells, while Barry helps us make a variety of fillings using fresh ricotta from the local market. Recipes will be provided for many of the meals prepared at the villa.
Contact us to arrange a trip exclusively for your group to Piemonte!