Continuing from Part 1 of the Italian Food Awards…
The Hands-Down Best Meal:
Dinner in Alba post-truffle hunting. This was the meal our tour, “Piedmont: The Land of Barolo and Truffles” was named after. We started with grissini and the most amazing focaccia.
Grissini are thin, long and crispy breadsticks that are traditionally served in restaurants in northern Italy. They originated over 150 years ago, when they were made for a prince who couldn’t digest normal bread.
We had two anitpasti dishes. The first was a polenta with mushrooms and Parmesan. I don’t usually like polenta, but apparently I’ve been making it wrong, because I liked this!
Our second antipasto was a cheese sformata with a bechamel sauce, which is like a quiche with a very thin crust.
The primi course was definitely the star of the evening… fresh and traditional egg pasta with freshly shaved white truffles. And by ‘freshly shaved,’ I mean they actually came to our table and shaved them right there!
Secondi was wild boar with potatoes. I wasn’t a huge fan of the boar and was starting to feel quite full, so I stuck with a few bites. I wanted to leave room for dessert!
And it was a good thing I left room for dessert! Flourless chocolate cake a la mode served with mint and some kind of berries.
To round it all out, we enjoyed two types of Barolo wines and some Moscato d’Asti sparkling wine with dinner.
The Most-Consumed Produce:
Mushrooms, mushrooms, and more mushrooms. They are local and in-season, so we enjoyed them in multiple forms! In one meal alone, we had mushrooms prepared three ways: over mashed potatoes, fried, and baked & mixed in with potatoes.
The Most Common Dessert Combo:
Chocolate + hazelnut wins for this one, since hazelnuts are locally grown. Our third hotel was only a few blocks from the original Nutella factory, so the whole town smelled amazing in the morning.
Favorite Afternoon Snack:
Gelato shared with Dan. Though I somehow failed to take any pictures of it. My favorite flavors? It is a tie between crema (like vanilla, but so much creamier and delicious) and arancia rossa (red oranges…I think they are the same as blood oranges?).
Favorite Laid-Back Meal:
Oven-fired pizza. I love that we had so many “white pizza” options…I definitely prefer the olive oil/garlic combo base over red sauce!
Best Home-Cooked Meal:
On one of our first days, we stopped for lunch at a family farm and vineyard. They so kindly shared their wine with us, in addition to some delicious courses such as fried zucchini blossoms,
pasta carbonera (Dan was especially a fan of this!),
and homemade fruit preserves with cheese (see part 1).
More Italy recaps coming tomorrow!