Re-imagining Italy

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A gorgeous day in the Piemonte!

Having studied in Rome during my junior year of college, and visited the picturesque if tourist-soaked towns of Firenze, Sorrento and Pompeii, I am no stranger to Italy’s charm. But prior to this past May, I’d yet to set foot in the Piemonte, an Italian region that’s often overlooked in favor of its more glamorous counterparts (Tuscany most of all). Little could I have prepared myself for the wonders in store when five lucky writers and myself visited this region last month. Our trip came courtesy of , proprietor of Beni di Batasiolo Winery and Il Boscareto Resort and Spa in Serralunga d’Alba.

Speaking of Serralunga d’Alba, just take in that view….

Scenes like the one above defined most of our group’s two-hour from the Milan Malpensa airport to Il Boscareto, during which we also passed a number of cyclists. The sport is increasingly popular in the region, which is fast becoming a vacation haven for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as gastronomes.

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Amazing veal dish

I certainly learned why the Piemonte holds appeal for the latter after trying some of the local fare at La Rei, Il Boscareto’s on-site restaurant. Though lacking the thick tomato-based sauces and stews I typically associate with Italian fare, I soon became enamored of the delicate agnolotti (egg-based ravioli stuffed with meat

and vegetables) that began each meal, as well as secondary courses like veal in Barolo sauce. The delicate frog legs served during one meal were also a delicious nod to the strong French influence in the region- the country is a mere couple of hours away by car- while the torta de nocciole ending one meal spoke to the divine possibilities of the hazelnut, another popular regional ingredient. (It came as no surprise when I later learned that Ferrero Rocher & Nutella are based in Piemonte).

However, it was the region’s wines that truly won my Piemonte allegiance. From a light Moscato d’Asti with just the right amount of acidity to balance out its sweetness, to the gripping yet gentle tannins of Batasiolo’s 2000 Cerequio Barolo DOCG, with aromatics of dried rose petals and chocolate, I was blown away by the versatility and depth of the region’s bottled offerings—which, in my opinion, is far greater than Tuscany’s. Perhaps the greatest quality of the Piemonte wines I tried, however, was their food-friendliness. Each bite of vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce), another regional speciality, made a perfect marriage to a sip of Batasiolo’s Gavi di Gavi Granee DOCG. The

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Group picture

Moscato Spumante Rose’s acidity cut right through the creamy, fatty goodness of our cheese course, while its sweetness lingered just long enough to remind us of the true desserts of the region—our gracious hosts at Beni di Batasiolo and Il Boscareto, and the welcoming people of the Piemonte.

Fiorenzo and company treated us to a truly revelatory experience, in a region that has long been underappreciated given its many charms.  I know that I hope to return a piu tarde!