Piedmont food: 5 great dishes from northern Italy
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Piedmont food: a tradition of fine cuisine you should discover
Piedmont food relies on tasty flavours and it is quite different from the other Italian region’s food. The Piedmont cuisine includes simple and hearty foods, such as polenta (an ancient Italian dish based on cereal flour) and fonduta (made with Fontina cheese, plenty of butter, milk and garnished with shaved white truffle).
Piedmont has got also a great tradition of appetizers: tartra’ piemontese (a savory tartra’ from Langhe), cavolo verza ripieno (stuffed Savoy cabbage), and insalata di carne cruda (raw meat salad).
The main speciality of the region, even for its stellar price, is the white truffle. Characterized by a very particular smell and taste, white truffles are harvested from January to August, and used in many dishes. This is definitely the most fancy Piedmont food you can find!
A great meal ends with a great dessert. Zabaione, Torta Gianduia and Panna cotta are probably the most delicious Piedmont desserts. Zabaione is made with custard, Marsala wine and egg yolks, while Panna cotta consists of a mixture of caramel, gelatin and cream, stirred together. For the nuts lovers, Piedmont is the best place to have a meal: in fact you can taste the Nocciola di Piemonte (Piedmont nut), which is a unique, protected local fruit produced in the area of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. It is also used in the preparation of the Torta Gianduia, a famous chocolate cake from Turin.
Bagna Cauda means “hot bath” in Piemontese. This hot Piedmont dish, which dates to 16th century, is made with melted butter, olive oil, basil, garlic and chopped anchovies. The sauce is kept hot and put in the centre of the table, so that the diners can dip food in it, especially bread and vegetables like celery, carrots, cabbage, peppers, artichoke and fennel.
Popular in autumn, during the harvest period, as well as in winter and at Christmas, Bagna Cauda can be served as an appetizer or main dish. In the Alba area, near Turin, they use to put truffles in the sauce, making it more unique and delicious.
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Tajarin is a thin, long pasta, yellow in colour, made with egg yolks and flour. It is served with ragu (a popular Italian sauce made with meat and tomato) or with sage and butter. The Piemontese dialectal name is similar to tagliolini and taglierini, as well as the shape reminds the one of tagliatelle. In comparison to the Emilia-Romagna typical dish, Tajarin are more narrow and smooth.
Did it feel like heaven when you tasted your Tajarin in a Piedmont restaurant? It’s pretty normal even kings love it. It’s believed that King Vittorio Emanuele II went crazy for this Piedmont food, and asked his lover Rosa Varcellana to prepare it for him by hand herself.
Alba White truffle
It is a rare subterranean fungus which grows in the countryside of Alba and Asti. It is used as seasoning for pasta, risotto, pizza and fried eggs, as well for many other dishes of the Piedmont tradition. The aroma is strong and pungent, and the flavor is strong and unique: this is the reason why, in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, Italian nobles required this special Piedmont food for their rich banquets.
Alba white truffle is one of the most precious and expensive foods: depending on the shape, color, smell and taste, its commercial value can reach and exceed tens of thousands of dollars in auctions. Just to give you an example, one white truffle which weighed 2 lbs has been sold for $330.000.
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Brasato al Barolo
Brasato means “braised” and consists of a stew cooked slowly, for a long time in the homonymous wine. The cooking, lasting several hours, allows the meat to flavor the aromas (spices, herbs and vegetables) present in the wine, as well as to soften.
A highly sought after dish that is prepared precisely using the red wine of Piedmont. A rich and succulent recipe to devote and give to guests during special occasions.
Vitel Tonnato is a traditional Piedmont recipe, based on meat and vegetables: it can be served as appetizer, as well as second dish. The veal meat is boiled for about two hours with carrots, leek and celery. Then, it is made to cool in the cooking liquid and cut in very thin slices. It is served cold, the slices covered by a sauce made of tuna, capers, mayonnaise and anchovies.
The dish probably originated in Cuneo, but many other regions claim its paternity, especially Lombardy, Emilia and Veneto.
Do you fancy Piedmont food but don’t know where to find your favourite products, such as Vitel Tonnato, Tajarin or Alba white truffle? Did you have an amazing experience in a Piedmont restaurant during your holiday, and now would you like to taste the particular food at your home, in England ?
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If you have planned to cook a new Italian recipe to your friends, and you want to have the best Piedmont food, the only thing you have to do is to search on the Italian Community Shop. You can also choose among many other categories, such as food, gluten free, pasta, coffee, olive oil, and drinks. All the brands are carefully selected for giving you the best experience of the Italian cuisine, directly at your home!
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