To the uninitiated, truffles may just be foul tubers. But to the gourmand, it represents the ultimate in culinary delights, with some epicureans declaring that they have the fragrance of the gods. Although found in France, northern Spain, and other parts of Italy, the region around Alba is considered the quintessential truffle capital.
Then head to Piedmont to discover some of the most important wineries of Barolo and Barbaresco, taking in some truffle markets along the way and enjoying fine dining at selected restaurants.
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Your adventure starts in Milan, where your private driver will pick you up and take you to L’Albereta, a beautiful hotel located in a breathtaking setting amid vineyards and verdant hills. The hotel is famous for its premium spa and excellent food. Relax after your flight, pamper yourself with some beauty treatments and enjoy dinner at their award-winning restaurant.
The following morning take a guided tour of a Winery Estate that dates back to the Thirteenth century, with a visit to their wine museum. Here you will see how their award-winning Franciacorta DOCG and Curtefranca DOC are made. You will also be able to taste three premium wines while enjoying a light lunch of salami, prosciutto, cheeses and other delicious specialties.
Next, your chauffeur will take you on a leisurely drive to explore three imposing castles, the Castle of Carmagnola on the banks of Lake Iseo, The Castle of Bornato - a rare example of a Renaissance Villa built inside a Medieval Castle - and the Quistini Castle and its magnificent gardens.
In the afternoon you will be taken to one of the most exclusive estates of the area, for a private visit and tasting session designed for true wine-lovers. From this great producer, try a Cuvée Brut, a Rosé, a Satèn and a Pas Operé - all vintage sparkling wines. The visit lasts about an hour-and-a-half will give you a full understanding of the crafts, traditions and philosophy behind these great wines.
After two nights in Franciacorta it’s time to head to Piedmont. On your way to the hotel you will stop at the Orta Lake, a hidden gem that is often described as one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Enjoy the atmosphere that only this place can offer with its little medieval village and small island housing an ancient monastery. There will also be a surprise for foodies!
After lunch and some free time your driver will take you to Serralunga d’Alba, home to white truffles, dark chocolate and more delicious wine. The town thrives in October during the Truffle Festival, when it offers both aficionados and amateurs the chance to savour some of the world’s most decadent cuisine. Vines from local vineyards line the Langhe Hills and spread to the horizon. Grapes sprout and dangle with radiant colour against flowering hazelnut groves. Medieval towers rise over the city and the rolling lush hills around the region. Vibrant shops decorate the ancient narrow streets winding through the city. The medieval history thrives in the rich, red towers hovering over the streets.
In the evening, the music begins to sweep through the streets, echoing off the stone buildings. The aroma of rich pasta emanates from the restaurants, and the stalls from the truffle fair call you to taste each dish. The red towers turn pink in the setting sun. The old Roman gate surrounds the city center and marks the border of the ancient cityscape. Immerse yourself in the truffle market to see the exuberance of truffle hunters from around the world searching for the perfect pairing with the delicate treat. From a distance, the white truffle looks like a gold nugget guarded in each stall near enticing cheeses and fresh rolled pasta.
Your hotel will be the Boscareto, a luxury Spa resort located on the top of a hill offering terrific views, a premium spa and fine-dining restaurant (1 Michelin star)
Over the next few days you will explore the Langhe wine region, with its gentle hills and vineyards, ancient castles and charming villages such as La Morra, Barolo, Monforte, Serralunga. Enjoy boutique wineries, meet the owners and share your passion for incredible wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto.
Dining here is simply fabulous, with regional recipes carefully prepared for you using only local, organically-grown ingredients. Whether you’re in a family-run restaurant or somewhere more refined, you will always find a cozy atmosphere and excellent service. Order some "ravioli al plin" with some White Truffle from Alba on top and then try a "brasato”. Pair the whole thing with a great vintage Barolo and you will definitely be in heaven!
One whole day will be dedicated to the king of food: the white truffle. In the morning you will be met at the hotel lobby by an experienced truffle hunter and his dog. Go to the forest with him and start the hunt! During this exclusive experience you will get to know all the secrets behind this incredible food, how it’s hunted and why it is so special (and expensive!)
In the afternoon, visit the town of Alba and the world famous truffle fair. There are many truffle festivals in northern and central Italy in the autumn harvest season, but this one is the mother of them all. And you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the occasion. The pungent, unique smell is everywhere, and it’s not hard to find a pasta dish, risotto or grilled vegetables featuring the revered mushroom. Restaurants do their best to showcase the prized find on special menus. And since this is Italy, you’ll also find other regional items, such as cheese, cured meats, honey, wine, olive oil, and egg pastas.
During the course of the fair, expect concerts, wine tastings, a donkey race, a medieval parade, cooking workshops, and lots and lots of opportunities to taste the truffles over the course of five successive weekends. The festival is capped off with a live auction of the expensive and prized tuber, broadcast around the world!
This trip will end with an incredible dining experience in one of the most exclusive restaurants in the area. And it won’t be just the food that leaves you speechless. Because the restaurant houses one of the biggest wine cellars in Italy – worth more than four million euros!