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Forget about 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 and nights.

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 flare

Site Design by Erin Brewer

(Click to enlarge photos)
Il Primo-agnolotti al plin
Pranzo al Fresco
e la dolce!
Tartufi-a good days find
Salami Market in Asti