market table with white dishes with various white truffles at different prices listed on hand written cards
Home » Food Destinations in Italy » Piedmont » Traditional Food In Piedmont– A Local’s Tips on Food In Piedmont You Must Try During Your Visit

Traditional Food In Piedmont– A Local’s Tips on Food In Piedmont You Must Try During Your Visit

Last updated on May 13th, 2024

A guide to the traditional food in Piedmont, including foods to try when you visit Turin and the rest of the region. Plus, info on the Slow Food movement, wines of Piedmont, and the main ingredients used by cooks in Piedmont, Italy.

Are you thinking about visiting Piedmont on your trip to Italy? Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) is Italy’s culinary epicenter, and let’s face it, the real reason many of us return to Italy is because of its amazing food! 

So if Piedmont really is the king of all of Italy’s regions when it comes to food, how might you go around combing your way through it? Which dishes should you try? And what about all that fabulous wine? 

Look no further than here: the only foodie guide you need to visit Turin (Torino) and the rest of Piedmont. All of our recommendations for food in Piedmont is based on our travel experiences, dining with Italian friends and family, and academic studies. I first spent time in Piedmont as a college student studying the Slow Food movement and it won my heart. I am always looking for an excuse to return to indulge in its wealthy, rich food traditions. 

Read on for a complete guide to the traditional food in Piedmont, including:

  • a rundown of the local cuisine
  • a quick guide to local cheeses
  • a list of its most popular dishes including pronunciations
  • the top ingredients and flavors you will want to keep in mind while traveling
  • our top places for trying our favorites

Food In Piedmont vs Italian Food

In English, ‘piedmont‘ intends a gentle slope leading from the foot of a mountain range to flat land, which is exactly what the region of Piedmont is. Lying between the Alps and sea level, Piemonte breathes the words “mountain life” with lush, fertile farmlands towering under beautiful, indescribable mountain ranges. 

Because of this, it’s developed profound traditions in growing produce and rice, raising livestock, and boasts some of the greatest wines in the world with 12 DOCGs and 46 DOC wines! Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera d’Asti may ring a bell to all you wine lovers out there.

In addition, it’s also home to the Slow Food movement and Eataly, and its meat, cheeses, and truffles are world-renowned. If that doesn’t sound like an impressive resume, then I don’t know what does!

Food In Piedmont is very luxurious, rich and hearty. It’s meant to fill you up and keep you that way, even in the coldest of winter winds and temperatures. Thus, they produce and eat a lot of red meat, cheese and butter. Polenta and rice are preferred over pasta but the pasta they do make either enriched with eggs, dripping in butter, or stuffed with local delicacies. It’s sinful! But don’t let all the dairy scare you, you will burn it all off with all the walking, hiking, biking and skiing that there is to do in this enormous region!

Food In Piedmont doesn’t stray too far from the Italian tradition of cooking locally, using seasonal ingredients and produce. You will notice food available will change depending on the season. Locals take their meals very seriously and particularly enjoy antipasti or appetizers. Take note of all the local cheeses and hearty, flavorful list of appetizers. 

What is the Slow Food Movement?

snail moving on pavement in foreground with a yard in the background
The snail, symbol of the Slow Food Movement

Piedmont is where the Slow Food movement was founded in the late 1980’s by Carlo Petrini. It is devoted to preserving local food cultures and traditions that are slowly but surely disappearing in Italy all the while empowering local artisans and farms by providing resources to farmers and opening up channels to increase sales and communication to consumers.  

In short, the movement aims at maintaining and sharing three main principles:

  1. Good Food: food that is grown, produced and made adhering to quality standards.
  2. Wholesome Food: food that is produced sustainably without harm to the environment while promoting biodiversity among foodsystems. 
  3. Right Food: the idea that farms and artisans are paid fairly and given equal opportunity to grow and produce their food in this manner. 

In addition, the organization works to protect dying ‘breeds’ of plants and livestock by preserving seeds and their means of reproduction and environment for successful growth. Local food making traditions that are dying out with newer generations are also documented and supported by the organization as a way to maintain Italy’s cultural identity. 

The movement plays a large role in the food scene in larger towns and cities where you will notice many products and foods will be marked with the Slow Food stamp of approval. Even entire restaurants may be supported by the movement for their dedication to maintaining old traditions of cooking, recipes and relations with local farmers. 

Did You Know?: The Slow Food in Italy got its start thanks to the America fast food chain, McDonald’s.

Cheese in Piedmont

basket of tomino cheese ready for sale on a table
Tomino
  • Paglierina: (pronounced pah-yee-ehr-ee-nah in Italian) this is a soft and creamy cow’s milk cheese produced in Cuneo and Turin. It’s aged for 10-20 days and is delicate yet buttery with a slight nutty bite. 
  • Castelmagno: (pronounced cah-stehl-mah-nee-oh in Italian) this cow’s milk cheese has been awarded the DOP title as well as protected by the Slow Food Presidium. It is a semi-hard cheese that works well with risotto and gnocchi
  • Robiola di Roccaverano: (pronounced roh-bee-oh-lah dee rohk-kah-vehr-ah-noh in Italian) this DOP protected soft cheese is made from goat’s milk although sometimes it can also be mixed with cow’s milk. It’s typically eaten as is with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt or used in various stuffings. The taste is slightly acidic. 
  • Raschera: (pronounced rah-skehr-ah in Italian) made from a mixture of skim cow, goat and sheep’s milk, this semi-hard cheese is made in the province of Cuneo. 
  • Bettelmatt: (pronounced beht-tehl-maht in Italian) this soft toma cheese is a little harder to get your hands on because it’s made only in the summer in the Val Formazza with milk from local cows and flavored with an herb called mottolina that only grows on the mountaintops.
  • Montebore Tiered: (pronounced mohn-teh-bohr-eh in Italian) this raw cow and sheep’s milk cheese made in the province of Alessandria is protected by the Slow Food Presidium. This cheese is rich with grassy, sweet notes lending well to sweet fruits or compotes. 
  • Tomino: (pronounced toh-mee-noh in Italian) this is a cow’s milk cheese that is soft on the inside encompassed by a thin, edible ‘crust’. It’s very mild and commonly enjoyed on its own, slightly warm with bread and/or cured meats. 
a small square of robiola on a piece of parchment paper
Robiala di Roccaverano

Salsiccia di Bra 

birds eye view of raw salsiccia di bra coiled up on a wooden board

(Pronouned sahl-seech-chah dee brah in Italian)

This beef sausage was originally made by jewish communities but quickly gained traction and in 1847 when sausage production became illegal for a period, the Bra sausage was exempt because of how good it was. The flavor is slightly spicy yet delicate and enjoyed either grilled, pan roasted or raw. 

Learn More: Read all about the Different Types of Italian Sausage.

Salsiccia di Verduno

(Pronouned sahl-seech-chah dee vehr-doo-noh in Italian)

Made in the province of, surprise, Verduno, this sausage is made from both ground veal and pork belly seasoned with a variety of spices and Pelaverga wine. It’s traditionally eaten raw or used to make ragù. 

Vitello Tonnato

close up of vitello tonnato with a drizzle of olive oil on a white plate

(Pronounced vee-tehl-loh tohn-nah-toh in Italian)

This is somewhat of a strange sounding appetizer made from cold boiled veal dressed in a smooth and creamy tuna sauce. I am telling you it’s really good though! The veal is tenderized by gently poaching it in herbs and vegetables and with the sharp bite of the tuna sauce complimented with anchovies, eggs and capers, it’s the chef’s kiss.

Insalata Russa

close up of insalata russa on a white plate on brown background

(Pronounced in-sah-lah-tah roos-sah in Italian)

This salad was invented by the chef Lucien Olivier at a popular joint in Moscow in the mid 1800s. Story goes the recipe was kept secret until one of his employees secretly watched him make it which is why the recipe lives on today. This is a mayonnaise based salad with boiled potatoes and vegetables, eggs, chicken or ham. This is not a personal favorite of mine but many locals love it and it’s now gained popularity throughout the whole of Italy. 

Peperoni all’Acciuga 

three bell peppers, one green and two red, growing in a garden

(Pronounced peh-pehr-oh-nee ahl-ahch-choo-gah in Italian)

Peppers grow very well in Piedmont and thus, show up often on the table. In this recipe, they are roasted, cleaned of their seeds and dressed with anchovies and parsley. 

Don’t Miss: Carmagnola celebrates these beautiful peppers annually with a pepper festival known as the Sagra di Peperone di Carmagnola, typically held in September. 

Acciughe al verde

(Pronounced ahch-choo-geh ahl vehr-deh in Italian)

Acciughe al verde is a lovely appetizer for those of you who love anchovies (I realized there are several of you who do not!) made from preserved anchovies that are topped in a green sauce known as bagnet verde.

Tonno di coniglio

(Pronounced tohn-noh dee coh-nee-yoh in Italian) 

Tonno di coniglio is made from slow cooked rabbit that is then removed from the bone and layered with garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, salt and pepper and lots of oil in a container, jar or pan until all the meat has been used up. It’s stored in the fridge and served with bread as an appetizer.  

Panissa

panissa cooking in a large copper pot on the stove from birds eye view with a black spoon

(Pronounced pahn-ees-sah in Italian)

This is a combination between a risotto and a bean stew made with salami, onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, tomatoes, olive oil, butter, cheese, red barlotti beans and risotto rice. It’s finished with a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

We Recommend: Osteria San Giulio (Bellinzago Novarese) for good home cooking. Be sure to try their panissa. 

Riso e Rane 

(Pronounced ree-soh eh rah-neh in Italian)

This risotto made with frog legs is especially popular in the Novara area of Piedmont. If you have never had frog legs before, don’t be too weirded out because they  really do taste similar to chicken!

Risotto al Barolo

zoomed in on purple riso al borolo on a white plate

(Pronounced ree-soht-toh ahl bahr-oh-lo in Italian)

This risotto is made using the traditional method of slowly cooking the rice while adding liquid in small batches as to let the rice slowly release its starch but instead of white wine, the famous Barolo wine is used, creating a bright pink risotto. Sometimes, sausage or borlotti beans are added to beef things up. 

More Veg Please: Check out my list of Vegetarian Dishes to Try in Italy.

Tajarin con Burro e Salvia 

(Pronounced tah-yahr-een cohn boor-roh eh sahl-vee-ah in Italian)

This is how you say taglierini in the local dialect and what sets this pasta apart from other fresh pastas is that it is made only with egg yolks and in a large ratio in proportion to flour. One of the most typical ways to serve it is in a butter and sage sauce. 

Tajarin al Tartufo Bianco 

white shallow dish with tajarin with lots of freshly shaved white truffles on top

(Pronounced tah-yahr-een ahl tahr-toof-oh bee-ahnk-oh in Italian)

Handmade tajarin pasta is dressed in a sauce of butter, black pepper and locally sourced freshly grated white truffles known as tartufi bianchi d’Alba. 

We Recommend: Osteria del Boccondivino (Bra) is a great place to get classics such as tajarin or Salsiccia di Bra.

Agnolotti di Plin 

top view of pile of small square yellow fresh egg pasta squares on a marble background

(ahn-yoh-loht-tee dee pleen in Italian)

Agnolotti literally means “pinch” in the local dialect and this is precisely how you close this little stuffed pasta after being filled. These very small packages are filled with various fillings but they often start with a base of beef or cabbage and the dough is rolled out extremely thin. 

Gnocchi alla Bava

gnocchi alla bava served on a white plate in cream sauce garnished with parsley on marble background

(Pronounced nyawk-kee ahl-lah bah-vah in Italian)

There is nothing more comforting than this dish after a long day of skiing, hiking or biking. Small potato dumplings made with a bit of buckwheat flour and doused in a creamy cheese sauce flavored with freshly grated nutmeg. 

Gnocchi al Castelmagno

(Pronounced nyawk-kee ahl cah-stehl-mahg-noh in Italian)

This is a similar dish to gnocchi alla bava but made specifically with Castelmagno cheese, cream and butter. The gnocchi can also be made with chestnut flour in the fall for an earthly variety that is really something else!

Fritto Misto alla Piemontese 

(Pronounced freet-toh mee-stoh ahl-lah pee-eh-mohn-teh-seh in Italian_

This is a huge plate of fried goodness including both sweet and salty things. Typical items are various meats and offal, porcini mushrooms, semolina fritters, amaretti di Mombaruzzo (yes, cookies!) and various types of vegetables and fruits. The vegetables will change depending on the season but zucchini, eggplants, artichokes, pears and apples fry very well. 

Pollo alla Marengo

copper pot filled with pollo alla marengo garnished with olives and parsley. close up of fish and chicken in detail

(Pronounced pohl-loh ahl-lah mahr-ehn-goh in Italian)

The origins of this dish are debatable but many sustain that this was served to Napoleon after his victory at the battle of Marengo in Italy in 1800. The original recipe was made with chicken cooked with mushrooms, crayfish, butter and wine but today the recipe has changed quite a bit. Napoleon thought it was so good that he insisted it be served from then onwards after every victory. I agree, it’s pretty good. 

Carne Cruda all’Albese

(Pronounced cahr-neh croo-dah ahl-ahl-beh-seh in Italian)

This is Piedmont’s version of steak tartare made with prime quality beef seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic and garnished with chopped roasted hazelnuts or locally grown truffles. This is a true delicacy! 

Bollito Misto

(Pronounced bohl-lee-toh mee-stoh in Italian)

This is a dish of various boiled meats served in its warm cooking broth with boiled vegetables and various dipping sauces such as bagnetto verde, bagnetto rossa or mostarda di Cremona. This seems kind of boring but with all the different sauces they serve with it, it couldn’t get more interesting!

We Recommend: Tre Galline (Turin) serves up some of the most traditional food in the city. Try the bollito misto or the vitello tonnato.

Brasato al Barolo

(Pronounced brah-sah-toh ahl Bahr-oh-loh in Italian)

Locally raised beef is slowly stewed in one of Italy’s finest wines, barolo. What could be better? It’s usually served with creamy polenta, perfect for chilly evenings after a long day in the mountains (or not!). 

Scaloppine al Marsala

scaloppine al marsala served in a white platter garnished with two bay leaves

(Pronounced scah-lohp-pee-neh ahl mahr-sah-lah in Italian)

Thin slices of veal are slightly coated in flour, pan fried and finished in Marsala wine. The veal is served with mashed potatoes and plenty of silky sauce. This is one of my favorites.

We Recommend: Osteria La Sosta (Settimo Vittone) for timeless classics. 

Rustida

(Pronounced roo-stee-dah in Italian)

This is a traditional secondo made from pork loin, pork hearts and lungs and sausage meat cooked in onions, butter, tomatoes and stock. This may not be very popular among travelers but it’s a local favorite for sure! 

Bruscitt 

(Pronounced broo-sheet in Italian)

Small chunks of diced beef is cooked in butter, pancetta, garlic, and cabbage before adding Barbera wine. The liquid is evaporated away and the meat is cooked until crispy bits form on the edges of the cabbage and beef. 

Tapulone

(Pronounced tah-poo-loh-neh in Italian)

Originally from Borgomanero, Tapulone is a poor man’s stew is made from minced donkey meat that is slowly cooked in beaten lard, olive oil, onions, garlic, cabbage and red wine until the meat is tender. Although this isn’t common in restaurants, many families still make this recipe at home and it’s often served at local festivals. 

Finanziera 

(Pronounced fee-nahn-zee-ehr-ah in Italian)

Finanziera is an ancient poor man’s stew made with chicken crests and feet, sweetbreads, calf’s brain and veins, all gently cooked with garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, various chopped vegetables that have been marinating in vinegar, chicken broth, and sweet Marsala wine. This dish can be a dish all on its own but sometimes it will be served with risotto. 

Trotelle al vino rosso 

(Pronoucned troh-tehl-leh ahl vee-noh rohs-soh in Italian)

Trout is oven baked with a mixture of sautéed shallots and celery with wine, fish stock, and various herbs.

Pizza al padellino 

close up of pizza al padellino on a wooden board on a red cloth.

(Pronounced peez-zah ahl pah-dehl-lee-noh in Italian)

Pizza al Padellino is a type of very thick crust pizza cooked in a round pan and topped with your usual toppings. The dough is very puffy and soft yet remains nice and crispy from the heavily oiled pan. It is similar to a deep dish American-style pizza. 

We Recommend: Pizzeria Gelateria Cecchi (Turin) is the best joint for pizza al padellino. Very easy going.

Grissini

basket of grissini side view with lots of bread sticks and flat breads on right hand side of basket

(Pronounced grees-see-nee in Italian)

Grissini are long, thin, crispy breadstick from Turin that immediately gained popularity after their invention in the 1600s. You will notice them everywhere: in bakeries, restaurants and even on aperitivo buffets and platters. The rubatà version, between 15-30 in length, is the best kind.

We Recommend: Perino Vesco (Turin) makes what are considered to be the best grissini in town.

Read More: About grissini and other Italian breads in Bread in Italy – Types of Italian Breads & Where to Eat Them

Runditt 

(Pronounced roon-deet in Italian)

This regional flatbread is made of white flour, buckwheat flour, butter, and salt. The dough is rolled extremely thin, grilled or baked and then brushed with butter and sprinkled with salt. Some people like to rub a garlic clove over the freshly baked flatbread. 

Bonèt

close up of bonèt from birds eye view on a white plate garnished with strawberries and blueberries on the plate

(Pronounced boo-net in Italian)

The name of this chocolate pudding means “hat”, referring to the original shape of this dessert that was made in a ring shaped mold. It’s actually more of a chocolate creme caramel made with amaretti cookies rather than an American style pudding drizzled with caramel before serving. Today, it is made in different shapes and either spooned out, sliced or served in individual ramekins. This is my favorite Piemontese dessert! 

We Recommend: L’Acino (Turin) serves wonderful bonèt and not only. Get a table here and order one classic Piedmontese dish after another. 

Zabaione

(Pronounced zah-bi-oh-neh in Italian)

This is custard cream made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine. It’s often eaten with a spoon, served with cookies such as savoiardi or krumiri for dipping or used to make other desserts and gelato.

Savoiardi 

close up of two packages of savoiardi cookies on a shelf

(Pronounced sah-voy-ahr-dee in Italian)

This is what lady fingers are called in Italian. They are light, airy and dry made with flour, egg whites and yolks, sugar, and powdered sugar. They are commonly eaten with zabaione cream or used in various dessert recipes such as tiramisù. 

Make It: Check out our Authentic Italian Tiramisù Recipe – The Only One You’ll Ever Need (+ Tips) and learn how easy to enjoy at home!

Krumiri 

a pile of krumini cookies zoomed in and up close

(Pronounced kroo-mee-ree in Italian)

These cookies are made with eggs, flour, sugar, butter and vanilla. When the dough is mixed, it is left to rest for 24 hours before being shaped into bent cylinder shapes and baked. It’s said that the shape of the cookies was in honor of the mustache of King Victor Emanuel II. 

We Recommend: Eat them with tea, sweet wines, chocolate liqueurs, or zabaione.

Torta Novecento

(Pronounced tohr-tah noh-veh-chen-toh in Italian)

Meaning “nine hundred cake”, this is a fairly recent invention of chocolate mousse-like cream sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake. The recipe was a secret for years until 1972 when the recipe was sold to the Pasticceria Balla in Ivrea where they are still churning out this famous cake today. 

We Recommend: At Pasticceria Balla (Ivrea), the torta novecento is filled upon order, guaranteeing quality and freshness every time!

Gianduia

two containers of novi gianduia on a shelf

(Pronounced jahn-doo-yah in Italian)

When Napoleon put a ban on British goods entering French occupied territories, chocolate became hard to come by so the chocolate maker Michele Prochet used pulverized hazelnuts as a way to stretch his chocolate and voilà, gianduia was born. Today, Nutella is the most commonly known gianduia on the market.  It’s also one of the most common gelato flavors in Italy.

Bring It Home: Gianduia is one of my top picks for Handpicked Gifts for Italian Food Lovers.

Tip: While Nutella does have its place and time, there are so many other amazing artisan versions of gianduia that you should explore while in Piedmont. You will be blown away by how delicious the handmade varieties are and some of you may never want to see Nutella in your cupboard again! 

Gianduiotto

hand holding package of gianduiotto

(Pronounced jahn-doo-yoht-toh in Italian)

Gianduiotto is a silky smooth chocolate made from cocoa, sugar, and locally sourced hazelnut paste. Many commercial brands make their own versions of these chocolates that you can easily find at supermarkets throughout Italy but the artisan ones are a whole different ball game!

We Recommend: Baratti & Milano (Turin) is a beautiful, sophisticated bar with some of the best gianduiotto. You can buy a bag of them to bring back with you.

Gelato di Gianduia 

a case displaying gelato flavors in a gelateria italy

(Pronounced jeh-lah-toh dee jahn-doo-yah in Italian)

Although you will find this classic Italian gelato flavor throughout Italy, it is most associated with Piedmont because of the origins of gianduia. Classic cream gelato is flavored with the creamy gianduia spread. The most authentic versions use milk chocolate and are not made with crushed hazelnuts but rather, are creamy and smooth. 

We Recommend: Gelateria Alberto Marchetti (Turin) for good, homemade gelato. 

Panna Cotta

(Pronounced pahn-nah coht-tah in Italian)

Literally meaning cooked cream, this is perhaps one of the easiest desserts ever! Cream is flavored with sugar and vanilla and set with gelatin. There requires no cooking, just refrigeration time. It is sometimes served with berries or chocolate.  

Torta di Nocciola

(Pronounced tohr-tah dee nohch-chohl-ah in Italian)

It is only logical that this dessert comes from Langhe where the hazelnuts grow best. This is a simple cake using ground hazelnuts in place of white flour, making an earthy and hearty cake that is best enjoyed with coffee or tea. Many locals eat this for breakfast at home. 

Pasta di Meliga

(Pronounced pah-stah dee meh-lee-gah in Italian)

These are crunchy shortbread cookies made with wheat and corn flour, sugar, egg yolks and butter flavored with lemon zest. These cookies are traditionally served with zabaione, tea or sweet wine for dipping. 

Amaretti

close up of box of amaretti cookies in a red box.

(Pronounced ah-mahr-eht-tee in Italian)

Amaretti cookies are so popular in all of Italy that most regions have their own take on this classic cookie. Mombaruzzo makes a very popular crunchy version known as amaretti di Mombaruzzo made with sugar, egg whites, sweet almonds and finely ground apricot pits.

Biscottini di Novara 

(Pronounced bee-skoht-tee-nee dee noh-vahr-ah in Italian)

These cookies from Novara are light and crumbly in texture and melt in your mouth. Most commonly they are enjoyed with a cup of tea or a glass of milk for kids. The recipe is simple: flour, sugar, eggs, salt and cornstarch are kneaded together, formed into round or elongated shapes and baked for about 10 minutes. 

Nocciolini di Chivasso

(Pronounced noh-choh-lee-nee dee kee-vahs-soh in Italian) 

These tiny and light cookies are made with only three ingredients: Piedmont IGP hazelnuts, sugar, and egg whites. 

Pesche al Forno 

(Pronounced peh-skeh ahl fohr-noh in Italian)

An extremely popular seasonal dessert made with large peaches that are cut in half and baked with butter, crumbled amaretti, sugar, almonds, Marsala and dark chocolate. 

Canestrelli Biellesi 

(Pronounced cah-neh-strehl-lee bee-ehl-leh-see in Italian)

Canestrelli Biellesi are made with a layer of chocolate-hazelnut spread sandwiched between two, thin, chocolate wafer cookies. They are usually stamped with the symbol of Biella, the town from which they come with the name of the bakery who made them. 

Bring it Home: Most of these cookies can be purchased in bakeries or bars in small, pre-packaged bags, making them easy to pack in your suitcase. 

Torrone di Nocciole

close up of torrone from piedmont garnished with whole hazelnuts
on a light blue dish

(Pronounced tohr-roh-neh dee nohch-choh-leh in Italian)

This is a hazelnut nougat made with honey, sugar, glucose syrup, egg whites and of course, local hazelnuts. Cities throughout Piedmont have their own recipes, the most popular being torrone Asti, torrone d’Alba and torrone delle Langhe.

Baci di Dama

top view close up of a bunch of baci di dama: two cookies sandwiched together with hazelnut chocolate spread
Baci di dama in close up, horizontal image

(Pronounced bah-chee dee dah-mah in Italian)

The name means “lady’s kisses”, referring to the similarity of two mouths kissing. These holiday cookies are made by gluing two hazelnut cookies together with chocolate-hazelnut spread. 

We Recommend: Pasticceria Casali (Tortona) is famous for its baci di dama.

Bignole 

close up of a pastry case with lines of various small pastries such as baba and bigne

(Pronounced been-yoh-leh in Italian)

This is a small pastries, similar to an eclair pastry but bite size filled with various custards and creams such as lemon cream, chocolate cream, pistachio or hazelnut cream.  

Torcetti 

zoomed in on backet of Torcetti

(Pronounced tohr-cheht-tee in Italian)

A cookie shaped into a ring-teardrop rolled in sugar before baking. Simple yet satisfying. 

Regional Sauces of Piedmont

a ceramic black and brown bowl with bagnet càude on a white plate with vegetables in background for decoration
Bagnet càude
  • Bagnet ross: this red sauce is made from cooking tomatoes and red peppers with onions, carrots, anchovies, parsley, celery, mustard and vinegar until tender and thick. It is then pureed until smooth. It’s often served with meat, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables cooked any which way. 
  • Bagnet Verd: this is an ancient sauce dating back to the Middle Ages made from parsley, garlic, anchovies, egg yolks, bread, olive oil and vinegar. Everything is finely chopped (some even use a blender) and blended into a bright green sauce typically served with boiled meats and vegetables or grilled tomino. 
  • Bagna Càuda: meaning “hot bath”, this is an olive oil-based dip that is flavored with anchovies and garlic. It’s typically served with raw or boiled vegetables and bollito misto. During the cold winters, it’s sometimes made with milk, cream, butter or walnut oil which feels richer and silkier. Today, it is often served in a type of terra cotta pot called a fojòt, which is meant to be shared at a table. 
  • Sugo d’Arrosto: this sauce is made with the pan drippings from a pork, beef or chicken roast. Herbs, butter and wine are added for flavor before being served with tajarin, agnolotti or other fresh egg pasta. 

Ingredients and Flavors of Piedmont

close up of a pile of hazelnuts from piedmont
  • Fassona: a type of lean beef that is raised locally. It is some of Italy’s best enjoyed raw as a carpaccio or crudo all’Albese. If you aren’t into raw meat, don’t worry, it’s delicious cooked too! 
  • Nocciola di Piemonte IGP: these locally grown hazelnuts are primarily grown in the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato areas. You will see them in both savory recipes and sweet desserts. And let’s not forget that they are the star of Piedmont’s most famous invention of all time: gianduia!
  • Tartufo Bianco d’Alba: considered Italy’s most prized truffle, these little guys make their way into many regional recipes, adding depth and flavor. Although they aren’t exactly affordable, they are worth trying at least once shaved over pasta during your visit, in our humble opinion.  
  • Caffè: coffee culture is huge in this region, especially in Turin, where the Bialetti moka pot was made famous. Piedmont is also home to Lavazza, one of Italy’s leading coffee companies. Coffee is enjoyed from morning until dusk, often used in pastry making and goes great with all of the local hazelnuts and chocolate.
  • Riso: Rice paddies are abundant in the Piedmontese foothills. There are four main varieties grown and in Vercelli, they grow about half of Italy’s rice used for risotto! 
close up of two gold packages of lavazza oro coffee on supermarket shelf
Lavazza coffee, founded in Piedmont

Native Rice Varieties

close up of carnaroli rice being cooked with rice and white wine for risotto
Carnaroli rice simmering in white wine and onions for risotto
  • Baldo: this rice can be compared to arborio rice but it cooks much quicker. 
  • Arborio: this is the most popular rice in Piedmont. It’s slightly less starchy than other varieties commonly used for risotto and soups.
  • Carnaroli: this is considered the best rice in Italy. This short-grain rice is hard to overcook, making it great for folks trying to make risotto for the first time! This is my personal favorite. 
  • Balilla (Originaro): this rice is the oldest rice grown in Piedmont and unlike the others, it’s usually used in making desserts such as puddings as opposed to risotto. 

Top Wines In Piedmont

Piedmont is known for producing some of Italy’s best wines but they are quite complex so we will quickly list the best ones that you should seek out during your visit. 

Foodie Experience: Consider a wine tour while visiting Piedmont. Read more all about touring undiscovered wine country in Italy Foodie Bucket List – 17 Amazing Italian Culinary Experiences by Region

  • Barolo: the king of all red wines in Italy made from Nebbiolo grapes. 
  • Barbaresco: another very popular world-renowned red wine.
  • Dolcetto: a high sugar-content red wine that is best enjoyed young. 
  • Barbera: a great DOCG red wine made with the Barbera grape. 
  • Lessona: made with at least 85% Nebbiolo.
  • Carema: again, made with at least 85% Nebbiolo and the remainder Carema. 

Non-Alcoholic Option: If you don’t want to drink wine, try Piedmont’s Crodino (plain) or a Crodino Spritz.