Monday, November 3, 2014

Journey to Piedmont: The Land of Truffles and Wines

We have encountered the following conversation countless times in the past few months:

"So, heard you guys are heading to Italy soon. Where about are you going?"
"Oh, Piedmont" we replied.

Usually that would lead to an awkward silence. Even when we tried to explain that Piedmont is an area in Northern Italy close to Milan, many were still a bit confused at where exactly we were heading to, and why.

And I don't blame them. Piedmont, despite being the second largest region in Italy, was hardly the first travel destination that came to mind for most international travelers, unlike say, Tuscany (thanks to numerous books and movies which romanticized it) And most people were likely more familiar with individual towns and places within the region than Piedmont as a whole.

For wine connoisseurs, I bet most, if not all, would know Barolo and Barbaresco being two of the finest wines produced in Italy. Some might even be familiar to Moscato d'Asti, an easy drinking, sweet sparkling white wine made from Moscato grapes. Food lovers would probably have at least heard of the town of Alba for its most famous produce white truffles, and its annual truffles fair and auction drawing worldwide attention every fall. If you are a sports fan, you may remember Turin being the home of the glorious Juventus football club and its signature black and white stripes jersey, or as the host city for the Winter Olympics not long ago (2006, to be exact).

Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti, Alba, Turin... they were just some of the many towns located within the region of Piedmont that we got the chance to explore when we came to this great land in our recent travel.

It was indeed the wines and more importantly, white truffles that drew us to Piedmont initially when we plan on our next journey. We love to travel during fall when weather's milder and the summer crowd has dissipated (and air ticket prices went considerably lower too) It's been over 2 years since we last set foot in Europe, and given we were traveling at around the prime white truffle harvest season (in late October/early November), it just made perfect sense for us to explore Piedmont this time. And as we started planning, we learned that Piedmont has much more to offer than just white truffles or wines or football...

(This is the first part of the Journey to Piedmont series, a writing project capturing our recent travel experiences to the region - check out the rest of the stories here)

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