A week in Piedmonte, Italy

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I have a continuing love affair with Italy, the food, the gorgeous people, the countryside, the food... To cap off our summer holidays we booked Villa Violetta, in San Marzano Oliveto, Piedmonte for the last week of our summer holidays. The three weeks prior was spent in our apartment in Stockholm.

The lovely villa was well equipped and the girls adored the pool, there were many a glass of vino drunk on the terrace as we lapped up the amazing view. We were in Barolo country after all. But here's a word of advice if you are hoping to get vegetarian food to match in this "gastronomical paradise", Piedmonte is not the right place. It's carnivore heaven, okay I'm pretty meticulous in my holiday planning and warning bells did ring when I did the research but I kept on thinking surely they can serve up a plate of pasta (it's Italy right) without any meat whatsoever. I was happy to forgo the wholewheat variety and even accept a little cheese but I did not get that far. So we drove, as far as Liguria, and cooked a lot. I'm not particularly spontaneous with my cooking so having to whip up something with fewer ingredients was a lot of fun.

Regardless we did enjoy some wonderful food on our road trips, of noteworthy praise was the Eataly branch in Milano and the Gianni Franzi restaurant in Vernazza, Cinque Terre. The waiter at Eataly deserves a medal for his passionate explanations that led to my selections including an outstanding glass of red. The latter restaurant was simply buzzing the afternoon we arrived, not surprising for summertime on the coast. Of additional note is the Princi chain of bakeries, we visited one in Milano for their delectable foccacias. I also enjoyed a lovely light chickpea salad there that was simply moreish.

I'm one of those food mad people that actually enjoys exploring the supermarkets when travelling. Stand-outs if you are in Turin are the Eataly chain, this is the original store and it is a delight to browse the shelves. Every Italian product imaginable seems to be stocked here, the only pre-requisite is that they be beautifully packaged! Another exceptional space is La Rinascentre at the Piazza Duomo in Milano.