Balimara ashore - autumn = Truffles in Alba
How many years have passed since we visited Italy? Too many that was our opinion. In November it's a must to visit Italy especially Piemont!
This travel is a festival of sensations. The sun shines brightly hardly we have passed the Gotthard tunnel - yes, if angels go on a journey ..
Our first stop was Alba. Gourmets know this town because of its famous truffle market and the beautiful wines of Piemont. The access to Alba is a real pleasure. From the surrounding hills you can admire the silhouette of the old town with its spires. Walking through the narrow medieval alleys you believe the time had come to a standstill like nearly everywhere in Piemont. You can smell the flavour of truffles, chocolate and wines everywhere.
Our accommodation was an absolutely dream - Palazzo Finati, a beautiful renovated Albergo with only 9 rooms (each different). This was really a good choice. The landlady creates a special and warm atmosphere, so you feel very welcome. Now a drink in the Bar at the Piazza del Risorgimento and everything is in best order.
There was a big market on Sunday throughout the town. Everything you can imagine could be bought - Pasta, biscuits, vegetables, fruits, wines, warm underwear or lingerie. What a great experience which we miss a lot in Germany! In the afternoon a competition of Alba's flag-wavers took place in front of the dome. This was a colourful event which was also taken very seriously by the competitors and also by the spectators.
From Monday to Wednesday we stayed in Neive. On the way we visited the town La Morra and the Cantina Rocche Costamagna . Years ago we have bought our first bottles of Barolo there. We also tried the Barolo Chinati, as a digestive with dark chocolate - really absolutely delicious! The colourful and unique Capella delle Brunate is hidden within the wine yards. The artists David Tremlett and Sol LeWitt renovated and painted this refuge for the farm workers.
Mr. Romano Levi, the grumpy grappa producer, lives also in Neive. He is very famous because of his Grappa but also because of the arty labels on the Grappa bottles. The restaurant La Contea was also part of our nostalgic tour - and it was as nice and extraordinary as we had it in our mind
In Alba we could try the delicious wines of Angelo und Mary Sassi. The couple is running a wine yard and winery in San Christoforo near Neive. They invited us for a wine tasting. Thank you very much for the nice time and the warm welcome.
Because of so many impressions we wanted to have rest and a relax time in Acqui Terme. This spa is famous for its thermal sources since ancient times. The Piazza della Bolente is the central place in Acqui Terme. There a 75° C hot sulphurous well is bubbling. The smell and the damp create a special atmosphere which is reminding of scenes in a horror film. This was also supported by the masked children - but it was only Halloween!
The Grand Hotel Nuove Terme was very disappointing. The accommodation was okay, but the service, the meals; the buffets were disgusting. We made the best out of this situation and travelled to the Mediterranean coast. On our way we passed a rough and archaic mountain area. It was absolutely marvellous. The air at the sea was mild and warm, blue sky and lovely coast.
With the impressions of a bad hotel we wouldnt leave Italy, so we decided to end up in Alba. A last stroll through the old town with the nice shops. Shopping in the truffle market and having a drink in the old bar. Luckily we also find a place to dine in the Osteria dell'Arco, which we also knew from our previous visits - and it was as delicious as before. A Happy End!
Now we have to store our "booties" and this is really a big job! Still a black truffle is left in the fridge and remembers us of Piemont.
We had a lot of fun in Italy and we are sure this was not the last visit to this country. We enjoyed it very much. What we really appreciate is that there have been not too many changes in Piemont over the years.
It's all easygoing! Ciao Italia - We come again!
More pictures you will find here