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Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna in early January?

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  • jad2 Sep 7, 2008 12:37 PM
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I'm planning a trip to Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont over the first two weeks of January. The first restaurants and agritourismos I have looked into appear to be closed at that time -- especially in the Alba area (da cesare, dei cacciatorre, ada nada). Is this a bad time to travel to these regions for a food and wine trip?

Thanks!!

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  1. Personally, Ive enjoyed winter off-season travel in Italy, but Id say that the weeks right after New Year is a very low season for Italian tourism , and and a likely time for seasonal closings. Plus its pretty cold at this time in these regions. Our last New Years trip to Florence and Venice involved snow and below-freezing temps. You might be better served by going a month earlier or later.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      I agree with Jen. I live in Romagna and, believe me, the worst month because of bad weather, cold and snow, is January and it is also true that most part of restaurants and hospitality structures are closed in that period.
      If you can delay until April, or run now and plan your trip on next month, October, then it is quite better.
      Anyway, if it is not possible, about Emilia-Romagna I can help you for accomodation and food and wine trips, don't worry.

      1. re: vidanto

        Vidanto,
        Are you in the business in any way re recommending restaurants or hotels?
        That is what it seems from many of your posts. For instance, are you in the PR business in any way. Are you a consultant to restaurants and/or hotels in any way?

        1. re: vidanto

          Hi vidanto, Glad to hear you live in Romagna. I too will be in Emilia Romagna in the first two weeks of January 09. Can't change the month unforturnately!

          We are expecting it to be cold; so long as we can find some wonderful cuisine to warm us up we'll survive! I too am interested in your help with accomodation wine and food so we may maximise our time in each town.

          I am excited about the region, but a little concerned we will miss the best of it due to the weather.
          E

          1. re: Ebeth

            Will you have a car ?
            Which are you desires and your needs ?
            Also about accomodation and the way you like to taste and delight wine and food.
            Are you interested to attend at local festival ?
            The best you tell me, the best I will manage to help you.
            Ciao.

            1. re: vidanto

              We are in the same boat as Ebeth: can't change the dates, but still looking forward to the trip and making the best of what's available. We will have a car and are not worried about the cold and snow - that's what makes it an adventure.

              We're interested in restaurants, wine, ham, cheese, and festivals, but we're open to anything

              1. re: jad2

                I just reccommended to someone else, so I'll post here as well, if you're in Emilia-Romagna, you should certainly visit an acetaia to see balsamico production in the old style. The one that I visited was Acetaia Bompana, and you can find information here: www.bompana.com

                Here is also the official Commune di Modena website with information for tourists. http://turismo.comune.modena.it/index...

                One of the more visually stunning cafe's in Modena is located across from the cathedral in Piazza Grande, named Cafe Concerto. Don't expect much in the way of service (in fact, they kind of pride themselves on being the rudest people around) but they have an amazing brunch on Sunday mornings, and almost all the staff speaks even a little English. Oh, and don't pay with a credit card there. They get very very very upset (found that one out the hard way...)

                Definitely don't forget to have tigelle while you are here. I have had it in Modena, but I understand that it's best in the mountains surrounding.

                Hope this helps!!

                1. re: jad2

                  Would you mind to follow me in a very funky trip and we will name it "3 by 3" meaning 3 different places and in each one for 3 days/night ?
                  So, you could begin your trip at the D&B POVERO DIAVOLO in Torriana, a small cute town in Romagna. The location, unusual, very sweet and comfortable, will enable you nice and interesting day trips to visit Valmarecchia and Montefeltro, with the must of Urbino (in Marche, yes, but unpossible to miss it) and enjoy the dinners prepared by the chef Giorgio and their breakfast. The patrons are Stefania and Fausto.
                  Then, from Torriana to Comacchio at the D&B LA COMACINA. Comacchio in January is magical. The nickname of Comacchio is the little Venice as also Comacchio has water channels rather than normal streets. Staying there your day trips have to include, surely, Ravenna and Ferrara. The special dinners at La Comacina are the kingdom of the seafood !
                  But you enjoy ham, cheese and the best food, isn't it ?
                  Well. Let's take your third step in Paradise, meaning at the D&B ANTICA CORTE PALLAVICINA in Polesine Parmense, along the river Po. You will taste the best Culatello di Zibello and gorgeous Parmigiano-Reggiano and salame and, believe me, the best of the best among the tru typical Emilia food. The chef is Massimo Spigaroli and so . . .no further words.
                  It is very probable that during the period there are festivals focused on pork and other typical foods.
                  You will enjoy this trip !
                  Ciao.

        2. A day in Parma could be ideal for hearty food, especially as it is likely to be cold! You could also try visiting the Parmesan cheese and ham factories as they operate all year round. Try contacting staff@parmagolosa.it. They organise some really good days out like this.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coombe

            I just came back from 1 day and half in Polesime Parmense focused on Culatello di Zibello DOP.
            I suggest Soragna and there visit the Museo del Parmigiano-Reggiano.

          2. Ah ha!! I live in Modena!! I moved here in January of last year, and really didn't find it all that bad in terms of cold or snow, but then again... I'm from Michigan!! hahaha... Anyway, I know, for instance, that my husband's company is closed for the Christmas holidays up until the second week of January, so make sure that you at the very least come after that. If you would like to stay in Modena, I can tell you some of the hotels that are here. There are also acetaia's and other things, though I don't know what their schedule is in the winter months, but it would be easy to find out. If you have nerves of steel and know how to drive a stick, then go ahead and drive, but... it's risky and expensive in terms of fuel, etc. The trains are amazing, and you can get anywhere with little-to-no hassle. Day trip to Florence? No problem. Venice? No problem. I also don't recal restaurants or stores being closed when we first arrived here, which was the week before my husband began work. There are a lot of restaurants in the area, and they all pride themselves on being amazing. There is one that was started by Luciano Pavarotti that I hear is quite good, then there's Pomodoro which I really enjoy (but that may be because they have a waiter who speaks English in a wonderful way, "This is a chicken who has had..... surgery!")

            If you're not worried about cold, etc, then you should be fine. Like I said, I didn't find it too cold, and there was a smattering of snow on the ground when we arrived, but it was gone the following day. What I can tell you is that it is very very foggy almost all the time, at least in Modena. Hmm... Well, I'm trying to think of what else to tell you, but I'm drawing a blank! Let me know if you would like to hear about anything else!

            1 Reply
            1. re: MichelleinItaly

              Don't forget this is the height of the opera and concert season and there are many wonderful small opera houses across the Po River towns in the winter. Unfortunately many restaurants do close at this time as the owners take their vacations now before the tourism season starts up for them later in the year.

              Be sure to get the Slow Food Locande et Osteria d'Italia guide in English for restaurants in all areas of Italy.

              Do expect cold, damp and occasionally the thickest fog you can ever imagine. Makes it all seem more mystical and romantic and life and markets still go on all over. The surprise is heading out to the Ligurian Riviera at this time and finding green and flowers and dryer weather - I did a Christmas time hike along the Cinque Terre and the fabulous trail between CaMogli and Portofino with a wonderful little restaurant in the walk or boat in village of San Frutuoso.

            2. Is a good time for truffle and wine in zona Alba you coulds try to "Il Nido" Neive (B&B)very good and no more expansive.In Turin for shopping you can try Bicerin (Consolata place) and Migliore Via Bellezia 8
              http://viabellezia8bis.blog.lastampa.it/

              1. You might want to consider the Monferrato region. We have made an information web page for friends and family that visit: http://www.edandmel.4t.com/
                I am very happy to answer any questions about the region.

                1. So, I'm also headed to Italy in January and a little worried about not experiencing the country at it's prime, but I can't change the timing and I am a little thrilled about the absence of tourists anyhow. I've got four nights in Rome and then the other three I was thinking of staying in Bologna as a base and then taking the train to Parma and Modena (we won't have a car). Does anyone know if there is an agriturismo open in the winter, though? I would love that. Any recommendations for wine bars in Bologna?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: slopetoridge

                    Italy is incredibly fun in all seasons. My wife and I just returned from Italy a few days before Christmas. Although the Bologna parking lots were full, we found a space in a church lot within the old city opened for the holidays. The crowds of shoppers and the Christmas lights reminded us of downtown San Francisco before shopping centers. It was great.

                    As usual, we went to the Piemonte, but it snowed in December for the first time in 10 years. We had to stay in Alba an extra day. It was tough, since we enjoyed one of the great meals of the trip. We went to Osteria Dell’ Arco recommended in the English version Slow Food guide, “Osterie & Loncande D’Italia”. We had an outstanding meal in which I especially enjoyed my veal tongue. A youngish man came to talk with the party at the next table and unwrapped some large white truffles he had, which filled the restaurant with their aroma. For dessert, I ordered the panna cotta with fresh pears. I had a glass of Moscato d’Asti with it and was blown away. I’ve had great wines with long finishes, but I’ve never had a dessert with a long finish. This is what the wine did to the dessert.

                    Click the pictures for the dessert and the snow in Alba.

                     
                     
                  2. You could stay a few days in Bra, the birthplace of the Slow Food Movement, which is a good base for visiting Cuneo with its big food market, the cheese making zone of Castelmagno and the grappa distilleries of the area.
                    We were given excellent restaurant recommendations and advice by Matteo Ascheri of the Hotel Cantine Ascheri.
                    This hotel opened in 2005 over the winery of the Ascheri Family, winemakers in the region since the 1800’s. The design, by family friend and architect Marco Poncellini is very modern in a post industrial style with references to the surrounding countryside, mountains and vineyards throughout the building with the use of wood, iron, earthy tones and even glass walls on the outside with earth from each of the 3 vineyards they cultivate. There are cheeky touches like spy hole telescopes in the walls of the rooms focused on the snowy Alps and interesting structures in the distance.
                    The place is an absolute delight throughout with helpful and courteous staff; I loved the amazing breakfasts where you can try the raw Bra sausage and unpasteurised cheeses as well as superbly cooked breakfasts, home made cakes, preserves and sweet things or freshly churned alpine butter on fresh baked bread.
                    The rooms are modern and individual with original furnishings and an eye to detail throughout; a library stuffed with books about wine, food and Piedmonte history makes it easy to relax for an hour and immerse yourself in the folklore of the region.
                    The staff are happy to arrange a visit to the wine making and bottling facility below, which you can glimpse through various windows cut into the floor of the public area.
                    A bonus of staying at the hotel is the rustic restaurant on the site of the
                    original Ascheri winery in the courtyard of the grounds called Osteria Murivecchi
                    Booking is recommended as the 4 atmospheric dining rooms were all pretty full when we arrived on a quiet Tuesday night in town, you can see that the same attention to detail found in the hotel is applied here too.
                    they have a website - http://www.ascherihotel.it/welcome_en...