Available upon demand,
departures as of 2021 again.
Best time for white truffles: October through January
A Journey to Piedmont to Discover the Treasures and Tastes of Le Langhe & Turin
4 days / 3 nights
Maximum 6 participants
€ 1’170 p.p. incl. accommodation in double room, 1 lunch & 3 dinners with wine & coffee, guided truffle hunt and visits, admission fees and transportation in Mercedes V-Class minibus from and back to Turin (for details please see below).
At all times, I am present and can help translate to and from Italian which I speak very well.
White Truffles from Alba, Barolo Wines, Chocolates from Turin
Let me take you to Northern Italy, to the region of Piedmont with Turin as its capital and main economic centre. Turin is a magnificent city, once the first capital of the then recently united Italy, and still imperial in its squares, palaces and castles.
Together, we discover the culinary riches of Le Langhe, a region a little South of Turin and known to true epicureans for the white truffle of Alba – and the Alba Truffle Fair held in October and November.
Also, quite well known are the Langhe’s hazelnuts, widely cultivated here and the main ingredient to a lot of the local delicacies like gianduja or chocolate-hazelnut spreads.
Against the backdrop of the snow-covered Alps lie the rolling hills of Le Langhe: it is here where we find the world-famous red wines of Barolo and Barbaresco – all from the classic Italian Nebbiolo grapes.
And after spending two days exploring Le Langhe, we’ll return to Turin before departing again from this beautiful – yet much less known – part of Italy.
What We’ll Do
As for the culinary discoveries, Le Langhe are an area of endless delights, yet we’ll have to limit ourselves somewhat given the available time:
- Accompany my friend Daniele and his Lagotto Romagnolo to search (and find, hopefully) white truffles in his own forest
- We’ll then have our own truffles for lunch with home-made pasta in a close-by country guesthouse
- Discover the cradle of the Slow Food movement in the small town of Bra
- Sample refined cheeses, and enjoy Barolo red wine in a private cave of a small producer
- Explore Turin on a guided walking tour with Paolo, a true ‘Torinese’, we’ll get unique and very personal insights into architecture, history, and the hidden secrets of his city.
Our Programme in Detail
Below is an example itinerary and some illustrative images – yours can of course be adapted to your personal preferences!
Thursday – Welcome and First Dinner
Porta Susa Railway Station in Turin is our ‘departure point’, where we meet to begin our experience.
Porta Susa is a comfortable 30-minute ride from Turin’s Airport or 50 minutes by highspeed train from Milano Centrale.
Of course, I’d be more than happy to assist with your travel arrangements to and from Turin.
Together, we set off in the comfort of our private Mercedes V-Class bus to enjoy the countryside on our short drive to Bra, our home-base until Sunday morning.
- We reach Bra (60 km) about an hour after leaving Turin at 16:30
- Once in Bra, make yourself comfortable at the guesthouse of Giovanni which is located right in the centre of this quaint small city. His simple and charming place is set in a cosy courtyard, typical for the region, and once served as the home of the local priest. For all details see below under ‘What is included’.
- Around 19 hrs, we leave for our first aperitivo together, and go to the place in town where everybody meets during their ‘passegiata’ – or evening stroll.
- Dinner is also at the Caffé – not that it is a gourmet temple, but it will make you familiar with some local traditions and the cornerstones of the cuisine of Piedmont.
And whenever you are ready: Buona Notte !
Friday – Hunting Truffles and Tasting Barolo
After a – typically modest – Italian breakfast, our private minibus picks us up and after a drive of 30 minutes we reach our meeting point, a small village South of Alba where we meet Daniele, ‘our’ trifolao (truffle hunter) and his trained dog ‘Pico’.
No guarantee can be given that we’re lucky and really find a truffle, as weather conditions may not have favoured growth this year. In that case, we’ll have a simulation to learn how this regional treasure is being brought to light.
Our truffle expert and ‘tartufaio’ will share his knowledge with us and we’ll learn how to:
- ‘Hunt’ and harvest the ‘white gold’
- Tell good from lesser quality
- Buy them at the right price
- Shop for them – in Alba
- Conserve the truffles and get to know how to prepare them the best way.
At a nearby country inn, the owners will prepare our truffles (if we’ve been lucky enough to find some), or they will offer their own to enrich our pasta-based lunch. Please note that the price for the truffle is not included in our package (see below).
Then, after lunch, our bus will take us on a tour of Le Langhe to eventually arrive in Barolo, home to one of the world’s best-known red wines.
There, we meet Chiara and her colleague Nicoletta, who will tell us their story of how they started to promote Barolo wines, how they grow their own wines and how they are currently moving towards producing organic wines in the area.
After the visit, take a break, stroll around Barolo, sip an espresso or just enjoy the typical Italian atmosphere.
Around 19:00, our minibus will take us for a ‘menu degustation’ in an excellent ristorante in near-by mountain village La Morra.
Around 22 hrs. we’ll head back for Bra and a well-deserved night’s rest at Giovanni’s guest house.
Saturday – Bra & Alba
Today, we’ll take it a little easier, and you’ll have more time to yourself. But don’t worry – you won’t get bored:
After breakfast, we stroll around Bra, explore some of the lovely shops, perhaps visit Mara & Valerio to buy or order some fresh pasta, to then gather at a cheese affinatore (affineur / refiner) close by.
In Piedmont, he’s very well-known and buys the cheeses from different local producers to then develop, season, and mature them.
He, and his colleagues will take us on a tour of their shop’s counter, the laboratory room, seasoning cells and to the maturing cellar.
We’ll also be offered an extensive tasting of their cheeses so, maybe, we won’t want to go for lunch afterwards – and instead proceed to Alba right away.
There, between early October and late November, the world’s most important white truffle fair is being held, and you’ll find stands with the ‘white gold’ and useful accessories all over the city.
Hopefully, the new knowledge of Friday morning comes in handy and helps to select the best quality!
Lunch is at your choice, but of course, we are happy to give hints and make some suggestions.
Early afternoon, we have a guided walk of the city centre of about one and a half hours which will help you orientate yourself and access some local information.
By the way, Alba is also great for shopping other than truffles – so enjoy the free time during the afternoon in this quaint market town!
Later this afternoon, we return to Bra, make ourselves comfortable, perhaps return for an aperò to where we were the first evening, and then meet for dinner at a very good restaurant a stone’s throw away.
It is here where the Slow Food movement started in 1984 before spreading across Europe and the USA.
During the winter months, the restaurant opens its doors on the first floor, offering a cuisine typical for the region with slowly braised veal in a Barolo sauce, tajarin pasta in a Bra sausage sauce and many other specialities.
Sunday – Imperial Turin
After breakfast and an ‘arrivederci’ to Giovanni, we leave for
Turin, Italy’s often underestimated 4th largest city: about 900,000 inhabitants love their city for its palaces, churches, grand squares and unique museums.
The best: not too many tourists find their way here yet . . .
This is especially true as our tour of the city centre will be guided by my friend Paolo, a real ‘Torinese’ who will show us his city with many personal insights and share secrets a normal tourist wouldn’t learn about.
For lunch, we’ll go to Mercato Centrale, a former market hall which has recently been transformed and now offers a multitude of different Italian restaurants under one roof.
Given that shops are open in Turin on Sundays, we leave it up to you to explore this beautiful city further after lunch.
Sunday Afternoon – Fare Well
With lunch, our official programme has come to an end and I’ll accompany those returning home right away to their luggage storage and help them get to the station or airport.
This is the official ‘arrival point’ of the journey and as of now, the official programme has come to an end.
For those with a little more time available, I recommend to visit the Egyptian Museum which displays the largest collection of its kind outside Egypt, countless treasures and artefacts. In case Cairo is too far for the weekend.
Or you opt for the National Cinema Museum which is housed in the impressive ‘Mole Antonelliana’ Building, symbol of Turin. And for those who dare to take the open lift: the views from the cupola are spectacular!
Tante grazie for having participated in this weekend !
And: buon viaggio home !
Price per person: € 1’170 in a double room shared. Single rooms are € 1’240 and available upon request.
Included in this price:
- All transfers in private comfortable mini-bus (Mercedes V-Class) from the ‘Point of Departure’ to the ‘Point of Arrival’
- Matthias’ presence during your whole stay, always available to guide, to translate, and to assist when needed
- Aperitivo on Thursday
- Lunch on Friday
- 3 dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
- During dinners and lunches: medium-priced wine within reason, mineral water, coffee
- Accommodation in Bra with breakfast at Giovanni’s simple guesthouse in the centre of Bra (pedestrian area).
- Giovanni owns and operates this charming place with only 8 rooms and beautiful antiques, and offers:
- Free High-Speed Internet (Wi-Fi)
- Small desk in your room
- Clothes rack, iron
- Flat screen TV
- En-suite bathroom with shower
- Complimentary toiletries
- Hair dryer
- For a more savoury breakfast (incl. ham, egg, cheese), just let us know in advance.
Furthermore, included are:
- Truffle hunt with explanations, or a simulation in case no truffles are being found
- Visit of Barolo wine cave and wine tasting
- Visit of cheese ‘affinatore’ and sampling of cheeses
- Guided visits of Alba and Turin
Not included in this price:
- International & domestic travel to and from the departure and arrival points
- Gratuities for staff at your discretion
- Minibar, where offered
- Personal expenses nor services that are not specified under ‘Included’, for example servings of truffles or more expensive wines than the ones offered, personal shopping and personal transportation etc.
- Travel & medical insurance
A 50% deposit is due at the time of booking (at least 2 weeks before the start of the tour). The remaining 50% is payable one week prior to departure.
Cancellation charges depend on the different policies of the supplier – for a reimbursement contact Matthias as soon as possible, and make sure you have a respective insurance.
Suggestions for an Extension of Your Stay
You may enjoy extending your stay as Turin offer much more than what we can visit and explore on only a morning.
I am happy to arrange for your accommodation, sight-seeing, meals etc.
Italy’s high-speed railroad network is excellent, and you can easily travel on to places like Bologna, Milan, Florence, Venice in only a few hours.