Piedmont is the second-largest of Italy’s 20 regions, and is often referred to as “Tuscany without the tourists,” altho we like Travel + Leisure magazine’s description of it as “Italy’s gastronomic capital.” In fact, the Slow Food movement now popular in the U.S. began in Piedmont.
With an area of 9800 square miles bordering the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, at the very top of the Italian boot, Piedmont has almost 5 million residents, almost half of whom reside in mountainous areas. The rest live in the lowlands, and are involved with agriculture: rice, corn, dairy products, fruit (cherries) and grapes. Vineyards in Piedmont produce some of the world’s most respected red wines – Barolo and Barberesco, Nebbiolo and Barbera. In addition to the famous white truffles of Alba, the region produces snails, cheeses like robiola, gorgonzola and toma, vermouth, venison and veal, and gianduja chocolate.