your diet when you come to North West Italy! Nestled between the
Alps and the Mediterranean, with influences from the former Savoy
royal court combined with hearty peasant fare, with dash of Mare
Mediteraneo and blessed with a marvelous climate, Piedmont culinary
tradition is Italian food at its best!
Piedmont is famous throughout Italy for the wide range of antipasti
(appetizers) served both hot and cold before the main course. These
will typically include salami, and a variety of local vegetable
dishes, in which the chef shows off his skill, and a variety of
dips. Be warned and don’t order other dishes until you have
finished the antipasti!
For the primo (first course) you are as likely to find risotto
as well as pasta. Piedmont is Europe's biggest rice producer (from
the Po river valley), and risotto is as much a staple as the local
fresh made pasta dishes, which include a many varieties of Agnolotti
(ravioli) served with a variety of sauces. Another favourite is
Gnocchi (potato dumplings) a Ligurian specialty. Try it with Pesto
sauce, which originated in nearby Genoa.
The secondo (main course) can be beef, lamb or pork cooked in wine,
pollo (chicken) or fresh fish from nearby Liguria. These will be
accompanied by fresh local verdure (vegetables) such as asparagus,
artichokes or whatever is in season.
Next comes cheese, local or from neighbouring regions. The lush
alpine meadows of mountains surrounding Piedmont produce an array
of fine cheeses, such as Fontina, Castelmagno and Valceniso, not
to mention Gorgonzola and many types of “Grano” cheese
of which Parmiagiano is the most famous.
Finally, no Italian feast is complete without "Dolci"
(desert)! Piedmont boasts an almost infinite variety of deserts,
which have to be tried, words cannot describe. Local favourites
include "Bonet" (Chocolate egg custard); "Torta di
Nocciola" (Hazel-nut cake); and pears stewed in Barolo wine.
Piedmont is also famous for other food delicacies, to name a few:
"Tartufi" the legendary white truffles found around the
Monferatto and Langhe hills in autumn and prized more then gold
or their black French cousins; "Grissine" the crisp breadsticks
which originated in Turin; "Amaretti" a delicious macaroon
type biscuit, especially the ones from Mombarusso; and hazel-nut
chocolates from Turin (Gianduiotti) and Alba (Rocher & Ferrero)
In Italy wine is drunk as an essential part of a meal, the meal
probably being the most important. As well as the many superb restaurants
in Asti and Torino, the countryside towns and villages in the wine
region abound with fine restaurants and almost any village trattoria
can provide a gastronomical delight.Not to mention the innumerable
food and wine festivals (sagres) held each year in which the local
villages and towns show off their local special dishes. In September
in Asti, there is a two-day "grand" food festival "the
Sagre", in which some 40 communities set up a kitchen in the
main square to offer the world's largest restaurant for two days
At Villa Sampaguita, we are not competing with the magnificent
restaurants in the vicinity, and we are happy to recommend a growing
list. We can however, offer our guests who want a break from eating
out to join us for our simple home-cooking using the products from
our own garden and farm, combining Italian cuisine with an Asian
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