Piedmont: Wine, walking and white truffles -Travel Weekly

Joey Tyson enjoys wine, walking and white truffles in Italy’s Piedmont region.

The two dogs explode from the car like a pair of uncoiled springs, bounding down into the woods below. Igor, the hunter, slams the boot of his battered Fiat Panda shut and sets off in leisurely pursuit.

Vineyards line the surrounding hills, their neat red-and-yellow rows rising and falling with each gentle contour. But besides its rural good-looks, Piedmont’s landscape is famous for the rich flavours it produces, and today we’re after one of its most distinctive: the white truffle. This aromatic fungus, which can fetch thousands of pounds, grows in abundance here.

Hunters like Igor patrol the forests, diligently aided by their faithful hounds who have spent years learning the lay of the land. The prize, an unassuming bulb-like mass, is synonymous with fine dining all over the world. Like a truffle, Piedmont is worth uncovering, particularly for foodies. Tucked away in Italy’s northwest, the region takes its cuisine very seriously. It’s the home of world-renowned wines barolo, barbaresco and asti; it gave birth to the Slow Food movement; and Jamie Oliver recently pitched up here to film his Italian Christmas.

Langhe and Roero, a Unesco World Heritage Site in the province of Cuneo, and the base of my visit, offers a taste of Piedmont’s finest fare as well as some of Italy’s most underrated and gorgeous countryside. Grand farmhouses and the occasional castle dot the rustic, autumnal landscape. It’s a classic Italian setting in every sense. And while the foodie element is a huge selling point, its accessibility is too. Turin, Piedmont’s capital, is well connected to the UK by low-cost carriers and can be reached in about two hours. It is also gloriously under-visited and can be offered as an alternative to popular but overcrowded Tuscany and Lombardy.

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