Piedmont typical products and specialities
According to our history and tradition, in Piedmont you’ll find a great number of typical products and specialities: why is that?
Because through centuries of history, domination, control and cohabitation with other cultures we’ve absorbed many influences of their tradition, and as usual the traditions reflect themselves in the cuisine and specialities.
The most renowned products of this region are:
• Piedmontese pralines made with the best chocolate and hazelnuts, or cherries and other delicious ingredients.
• Bicerin Torinese: a very tasty coffee aromatized with gianduiotto – chocolate – and enriched with cream.
• Margheritine di Stresa: the famous biscuits named after our Queen Margherita of Savoy (yes, she’s the same Margherita of the famous Pizza Margherita: she was a gourmand!)
• Krumiri: with their unusual moustache shape, they were made in honour of King Vittorio Emanuele II and since 1878 they have been delighting both young and old.
• Rice: as you read, there is a centuries-long rice cultivation tradition in this region.
• Pasta fresca: homemade pasta exists in a great number of shapes and qualities in Italy; in this region you’ll find above all Tajarin, Agnolotti, Raviolini del Plin and many others.
• Gnocchi all’ossolana: potatoes, chestnuts and pumpkin are the ingredients of this tasty speciality served with Alpine cheese (only in the Ossola area, a particular mountainous part of this region).
• Meat: veal, beef, poultry or pork: you’ll find every kind of meat here. The most famous is the Fassona Piemontese, a steak, but you could also try the renowned Carne Cruda all’Albese, Vitello Tonnato, Brasato al Barolo, or Bollito Misto.
• Truffles: the undisputed star among them is the Alba White Truffle, but, trust me, the black ones are not that bad at all.
• Fish: there is a great number of fresh water fish to try in this region and many different recipes to prepare them: soused, grilled, fried, with risotto, baked, marinated… fish used to be a food for poor people and nowadays it’s a really precious protagonist of our regional cuisine.
• Cheese: Gorgonzola, Castelmagno, Bettelmatt, Alpine cheese, Grana Padano, Bra, Robiola and Taleggio are only a few of our numerous regional cheeses: cow, goat, or sheep cheese – there are so many flavours that you’ll definitely find your favourite.
• Ham and Salami: there might be even more varieties of these than the cheese, and with a lot of differences depending on their production-area. Prosciutto from Vigezzo or Cuneo, liver Mortadella, Bresaola, Duja salame, Lardo, Coppa, just to mention a few.
• Fruit and Herbal Liquors.
• Many fresh vegetables: the most famous dish is Bagna Cauda, which consists of many fresh vegetables served with a warm sauce made from olive oil, garlic and anchovies.
Of all the finest products from this wonderful region, our wines compete with the best all over the world. You’ve probably heard of names such as Barolo, Barnaresco and Barbera, but we have more wines with the DOC or DOCG acronyms on their labels.
According to official Italian wine classification laws, you can read DOC and DOCG on the Italian wine bottles: what do these acronyms mean?
DOC means Denominazione d’Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).
DOCG means Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin).
The regulation for the Italian wines describes the features needed to be respected by a wine in order to be listed as a DOC or DOCG.
There are less characteristics for the DOC than for the DOCG:
• production area (strictly limited)
• grapes (variety and permitted proportion)
• alcohol level
• wine colour
• style of wine (red, white, sparkling, rosè, full/medium/light-bodied, aromatic)
• wine-making and maturation techniques
The DOCG are the best Italian wines. To get this designation, the wines have to pass tighter controls and respect more restrictive characteristics (lower grape yields allowed, restricted vineyards, deeper analysis and tasting controls in order to be approved by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture). This designation exists since 1980, and guarantee the highest quality.
For each DOC or DOCG there is a law: it protects the producer from fake products being sold under the protected name, but also the consumers are protected. It could be pretty confusing to look for a wine in a big shop: too many names, a great number of labels…but you’ll read DOC or DOCG only on a few of them.
I’ll list them here below: these are the wines that represent my lovely Piedmont.
Piedmontese wines DOC and DOCG
- Barbera d’Alba
- Barbera del Monferrato
- Cisterna d’Asti
- Colli Tortonesi
- Collina Torinese
- Colline Novaresi
- Colline Saluzzesi
- Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato
- Coste della Sesia
- Dolcetto d’Acqui
- Dolcetto d’Alba
- Dolcetto d’Asti
- Dolcetto di Ovada
- Freisa d’Asti
- Freisa di Chieri
- Grignolino d’Asti
- Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese
- Malvasia di Casorzo d’Asti
- Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco
- Nebbiolo d’Alba
- Rubino di Cantavenna
- Terre Alfieri
- Valli Ossolane
- Verduno Pelaverga
- Alta Langa
- Barbera d’Asti
- Barbera del Monferrato Superiore
- Brachetto d’Acqui o Acqui
- Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba
- Dolcetto di Ovada Superiore
- Erbaluce di Caluso
- Gavi o Cortese di Gavi
- Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato
In this region there are a lot of other products that you’ll discover once you’re here, and one of the best ways to do that is by tasting typical products where they are made, or in exclusive locations.