Piedmont food traditions and heritage

Eat and drink in Piedmont

The Piedmontese have long treasured their rich heritage of good food and wine.

Their traditions of excellence are now famous all over the world and in authoritative international restaurant guides and reviews the highest ranking Italian restaurants are always Piedmontese.

This resounding success is owed to the supreme skill of chefs in blending the flavors of tradition with modern innovative cuisines, as well as to the superlative quality of fresh Piedmontese produce.

A region and its people maintain their identity through their unique cuisine, which is the combination of what the lands yields them and their skill in transforming this produce into food.

Throughout any normal day, Piedmontese people constantly make use of the myriad of quality products available. Fresh fruit in season and excellent milk provide a healthy balanced breakfast. For lunch there are the cheeses from high mountain pastures and meat from beef cattle, bred for quality, handled by butchers skilled in traditional methods. Piedmont can boast no less than nine cheeses certified as protected in origin DOP (denominazione di origine protetta).

The traditional breeds of cattle and pigs are guaranteed not only by government inspection but also by the producers’ own voluntary labelling system and the Piedmontese butchers’ hallmark of quality – COALVI (Consorzio di Allevatori Vitelli Razza Piedmontse).

Eat & drink Piedmont

Piedmontese traditional cooking has a wide range of wonderful cakes and biscuits for afternoon tea or coffee, enough to satisfy the sweetest tooth. And at dinner time genuine Piedmontese produce provides rich and satisfying meals. Superb rice, truffles and a wide range of fresh vegetables are luxuries that are the norm for anyone living in this region.

With their meals the Piedmontese can choose to drink spring waters, varying in mineral content and flavour, or sweet or dry wines: red, rosè, or white, but always of excellent quality. In actual fact, 80% of the wines in Piedmont carry DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) e DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita) certification.

A wide choice of birrerias cater for dedicated beer drinkers, who will also be delighted to discover small traditional breweries throughout Piedmont, where they can sample traditionally made, high quality beer and ales.

The secrets of Piedmontse cuisine can only be discovered through a long journey through time, tastes and flavours. Every two years the Salone del Gusto, Italy’s most important food and wine fair, takes up the challenge to guide us on this voyage of discovery, and succeeds magnificently, judging from response from critics and public.

But this is only one of many examples of the celebration of the food and wine culture in the region: they range from the Fiera del Tartufo (Truffle Fair) in Alba to the Cheese fair held in Bra; from the Universita’ di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo (University of Gastronomic Sciences) to the ICIF (Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners) in Costigliola, Asti; not to mention those two important cultural organizations, Piedmont Internazionale and Slow Food.

Events, schools and projects, all aimed at presenting high quality Piedmont food and wines, and confirming the Regional government’s commitment to their protection and promotion.

Not just eating to live then, but learning how to develop the capacity to appreciate the subtleties of taste and flavour. The awakening of this new interest in the culture of food and wine is also owed to the untiring efforts of the chefs and restaurateurs who have worked over the years to recreate and develop recipes from the traditions of Piedmontese cuisine, while finding the classic wines to accompany and complement them.

Today Piedmontese food and wine offers products with certificates of origin, Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP), of provenance, Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP), of traditional farming methods (PAT). These products include rice from the provinces of Vercelli and Novara, milk and cheeses from high mountain pastures, fruit grown on the foothills of the Alps, vegetable produce and the superb Piedmontese beef and pork: all guaranteed and regularly inspected for certification by local government, by Consortiums or by the producers’ own labeling.

Piedmont has always offered an abundance of wild produce from the land, especially in autumn, the season of truffles and mushrooms. Known and appreciated since ancient times, the white truffle was a prized delicacy in all the royal courts of eighteenth century Europe. And time has not dimmed its appeal or value: at truffle auctions today some rare varieties are sold for astronomical prices, as high as 2000 Euros per kilo.
Courtesy of Regione Piedmont