Greetings from Italia!
I am having a zen moment here in the Piedmont region of Italy.
I just cannot describe in words how breathtakingly beautiful this mountainous region of Italy is. When I get home, I am going to post some photos for you to enjoy.
My first stop was a five day stay in the charming town of Monforte d’Alba in the rolling hills of the Barolo wine zone, the perfect base for sampling famous wines known worldwide. If you are a wine lover, the Piedmont makes some world class ones including Barbaresco, Barbera d’Alba, Arneis and others. It is so much fun to visit the wineries where these wines begin life and to drive through the vast array of vineyards.
I've taken in so much since I left, including stops at the Porto Palazzo market in Torino (Turin), the largest in Europe. My eyes were everywhere on gorgeous looking porcini mushrooms to artisan cheeses like castelmagno and grana padano to almost blown glass looking fruits!
And no trip to Piedmont is complete without a stop in the chic city of Turin where the shopping is exquisite and a stop in their famous pastry shops where chocolate and hazelnut concoctions rule will have you wishing for your fat pants.
I took my cooking class participants with me on a white truffle hunt with a truffle hunter and his dog. It was amazing to watch these trained dogs find white gold, because white truffles here are molto caro (thousands of dollars for the best) and are shaved ever so thinly over pasta, meats, risotto, and other dishes.
It is a shame that Piedmont is not a tourist destination because besides the charm, scenery, and down to earth people, it still retains an unhurried and untainted quality to it. I hope someday you will experience Piemonte, “the foot of the mountains “and have your own zen moment.