Postcards from Italy. Asti in Piedmont

The Province of Asti lies at the heart of Piedmont and borders Liguria in the south.This mostly hilly territory stretches across Monferrato and a small area of the Langhe and the Langa Astigiana, and is traversed by the Tanaro River. Gentle hills alternate with valleys to create landscapes of unique beauty, and vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, to provide a kaleidoscope of shades and tones. I spent a week in this province planning our wine and slow food gourmet tour  which will take place in September.
Asti Piedmont
Asti Piedmont
The Asti area is a wine producer par excellence and the home of Asti Spumante DOCG (sparkling wine), renowned and exported all around the world.This area is world famous for its high-quality wines: from white wines to dry sparkling wines such as Cortese, Piemonte Chardonnay, Moscato d’Asti and, of course, Asti Spumante DOCG.

Among the prestigious red wines are the Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Dolcetto d’Asti, Brachetto d’Acqui and Piemonte Brachetto, while the local grappas and other spirits are none too shabby.
The most important product of Asti Province is the truffle, a real delicacy that can make even the simplest dishes special.
Among local vegetables, the cardo gobbo (the thistle of the artichoke) of Nizza Monferrato and the “square pepper” of Asti stand out, and both are regarded as essential ingredients for bagna caoda (a garlic and anchovy dip).
The area around Asti is renowned for its cheeses, such as robiola of Roccaverano and robiola di Cocconato.
The typical dishes of the territory are agnolotti, Monferrato-style potato gnocchi, ciotola di trifulau (cheese fondue with polenta and a sprinkling of truffles), Piedmont-style boiled meats, and, of course, bagna caoda.The local desserts include amaretti (amond cookies) from Mombaruzzo, canestrelli, the finocchini of Refrancore and hazelnut cakes.
Asti Italy
Folkloric events, the local cuisine based on traditional recipes and the local produce never fail to delight visitors. September is the perfect time to travel through the region of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna as there are so many festivals and fairs celebrating  the locovore of the region happening. The grape harvest celebrations, Porcini festivals, truffle fiars, and the celebration of the Chestnut, the Sagra, Italy’s best-kept food secret. A festival organised to show off a local food or drink (or both), a sagra is a place where you’ll eat well – and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitions, demonstrations and special menus and traditional dancing.
Wines from Asti

 

Words from http://www.italia.it/en/discover-italy  All images by Bruce White  the Wine and Food Traveller

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