Alba, Barolo, Cherasco, Asti
Hi, I am new to Chowhound and would like a bit of advice. I am going to the above places in a few weeks (during tartufi season) and would like to eat well but at the same time, I haven't got tons of cash spare currently. Could I please get some suggestions for eating as well as ideas for some good wine to buy. Thanks!
There have been comments here about some of these places over the past 6-12 months. Be sure to go to the upper right hand corner of this page and do a search for each of these places. Also do a search for Langhe and Piemonte (Piedmont). You should be able to retrieve the past threads.
There is an excellent enoteca in the castle above the village of Grinzane Cavour where you can taste & sample a wide variety of wines from the region. That will enable you to decide which wines you might like to buy.
Cherasco is well worth visiting. It is one of the few towns in Italy I have visited where the streets are straight and all the intersections area at right-angles. There is a chocolate shop there that makes & sells chopped, toasted hazelnuts covered in dark chocolate that are delicious. I would also recommend dining at Osteria la Rosa Rossa.
I would also add that the brochures & pamphlets at the tourist information offices in that region of Italy are among the best I have come across in Italy. They cover the food & wine scene very well and are usually available in English.
There should be a brochure listing what days food markets will be held at the various towns in the region. The market in Asti is especially good. I think it is held on Saturday mornings.
as others have said there are many posts about Piedmont restaurants in this forum. Even on a budget Piedmont is quite inexpensive compared to what people tell me are equivalent restaurants in N. America and U.K. But rest assured if you get off the well beaten internet pathways, there are innumerable small towns with wonderful local osterie which will cost you only a thumb and a toe, not an arm and a leg. But you will have a car I hope, I wouldn't consider getting around the Piedmont wine and food "zone" without wheels and its getting a little late in the year for motor or pedal cycles.
Good wine to buy is a vast subject:
* define good?
* what type of wine do you like?
* what's your budget?
Generally the 3 big wines of Piedmont are Barolo and Barbaresco made from Nebbiolo grapes and Barbera made from barbera grapes. A good Barolo starts at around 30-35 euro from the winery, a Barbaresco around 20-25 euro, and a good Barbera d'Asti around 10 euro. But you can get Nebbiolo wine made in other areas for around 10 euro, not the mention the plethora of other wines in the area, such as Dolcetto, Fresia, Ruche and Grignolino for reds and Arneis and Moscato d'Asti in whites. Go to a good enoteca for tasting several wines from different wineries or a wine bar.
BTW the 4 places you mentioned are close enough for you to stay in one place and truffle festivals can be found every weekend in Alba (October) and other towns in the zone (October through December).