Unlike most Italian regions, Piedmont is landlocked. This means that fish and seafood play a lesser role in the excellent Piedmont cuisine than they do in many other Italian regions. For centuries Piedmont was part of the French kingdom of Savoy. So you can expect French influence in Piedmont cuisine such as the extensive use of cream and butter. I’m not complaining.
Bagna Cauda (Anchovy and Garlic Dip) is a classic Piedmont dish, best enjoyed with Grissini, breadsticks that come from the capital, Turin and the surrounding area. This dish is easy to make, but if you want to do it right, you have to keep it simmering. While it is often enjoyed withwine, it’s a fine companion to the local Gavi DOCG also known as Corteste di Gavi DOCG. Now you probably won’t want to reserve such a wine for a pedestrian appetizer so finish the bottle with a fish or seafood dish.
Arguably the finest Piedmont Risotto is made with Barolo awine modestly known as the wine of kings and the king of wines. I don’t suggest pairing this Risotto with a white wine. You’ll enjoy a Risotto all Piedmontese (Risotto Piedmont Style) which is made from Italian rice, stock, butter, onions, and grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy it with a Roero Arneis DOCG wine made from an ancient white Piedmont grape. Some Langhe DOC white wines are based on this grape.
Tajarin in Bianco con Tartufi (Tagliatelle in Butter with Truffles) is a quick dish, unless you prepare the pasta from scratch. I suppose that you could substitute mushrooms for the white truffles but it wouldn’t be the same. This is another dish to enjoy with the Roero Arneis DOCG wine. By the way, when you pronounce its name you might ponder the fact that in the Piedmont dialect Arneis means “little rascal.”
If you’re not tired of Arneis wines, try pairing them with an old Piedmont favorite, Vitello Tonnato (Veal in Tuna Sauce) marinated in white wine. I don’t guarantee that it will be the same if you omit the anchovies.
Most regions ofhave their own version of Panetonne, a classic Christmas cake. Enjoy it with Asti DOCG, a local sparkling wine previously called Asti Spumante. They changed the name to upgrade the image. Another choice is the frizzy Moscato d’Asti DOCG which is quite low-alcohol. I’m not complaining.