Thursday, March 9, 2017

Amanda's cheese spots

Today we are sharing a new guest post by our friend Amanda, a new resident in the Piedmont wine country!

Amanda Courtney born outside of the Boston area, after high school she went to study metal-smithing and jewelry design at the Maine College of Art in Portland ME. Which then brought her to Los Angeles and from there she was tantalized by the super passionate and exciting food and wine scene that LA had to offer.  It was then that she found her passion and where she got her wine degree at the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust. Working with wine, talking and educating people about the different regions, varieties, and philosophies of the winemakers, she had found her true talent. She now lives and works in one of the most important wine areas in Italy, Piemonte. Having recently started up her own Wine Adventures company she is now able to show people around this area to educate them about the food, wine, and culture of this wonderful place.  

You can find her at

Amanda's wine adventures in Piedmont

When I first came to Piemonte I didn’t know what to expect.  I had understood being a part of Italy there would be plenty of culture, warm welcoming people, great food, excellent wine but I didn’t expect this.  Well first I didn’t expect to up and marry an Italian man, that’s for sure.  But I didn’t realize how awesome this region really is.  Many people come here, and I get it, just for the wine Barolo and Barbaresco.  I find so many people me included, when we travel we unfortunately only have a short amount of vacation time that we can take every year, so when we do vacation it is more like a whirlwind trip.  Visit as many places as humanly possible in a short amount of time, so we can check it off the bucket list and be on our way.  But this is incorrect! I know it is hard to commit to stay in one place for a few weeks or even a month.  What we miss in this in a rush kind of vacation are all the little secret places that makes Piemonte amazing.

Since we shall not rush, within this blog post we will focus on one thing in a smaller area of Piemonte, so today we will talk about the many different types of cheeses that are made right here in Piemonte.  They have this little competition with the French for cheese and wine and really anything else they might have in common.  If you would prefer to see and do something a bit more off the beaten path this is my recommendation for a wonderful week or weekend in Piemonte, we are going to keep it just in the providence of Cuneo.  

From the airport in Torino (TRN) make your way for your first night to the town of Saluzzo.  It is a larger town with plenty of things to do and would be a good first stop because there are so many things convenient ex. plenty of restaurants, shops, and hotels. 

  • Hotel Antiche Mura located in the city center with easy walking distance to restaurants and shops.
Address: Via Palazzo di Città, 75 - Saluzzo 
Telephone number: +39 (0)175-46744

Address: Via Torino, 75 - Saluzzo
Telephone number: +39 (0)175-248087

Places to eat:

Gusto Divino (Gusto Madre) a very hip Pizzeria (not your typical pizza) Try the tasting menu so you can see all the different styles of pizza they have. Make sure to make a reservation or you won’t be able to get in. 
Address: Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour 21 – Saluzzo 
Telephone: +39 (0)175-42444

If you kind of want to ease your way into Italian culture you can start by going to the Birrificio della Granda: great brewery and a more casual pub like dinning experience.  
Address: Piazzetta Mondagli 8 -  Saluzzo
Telephone: +39 328-3567223.

After a little break and getting used to the time zone here, then you are ready to head to the mountains.  Castelmagno is an Occitan town where the Castelmagno DOP cheese is from.  There is a wonderful agriturismo where they make the typical Castelmagno cheese called Des Martin.  This place is cool because it is a project from a group of winemakers in Barolo who wanted to preserve the traditions and culture in this small forgotten town. They took and restored these historical buildings to make the agriturismo and cheese facility. This cheese is made only in the spring and beginning of the summer months. This is a cows milk cheese and what makes this cheese so special is that the cows graze on the mountain herbs and grasses. In the wee hours of the morning the cows are escorted up the mountain side to graze and in the evening are brought back down to their stalls. 

Plan to then make your way to the Alta Langa to a town called Murazzano where here they are known for the Murazzano DOP cheese made. This is a base of Sheeps milk cheese with sometimes the addition of cows milk.  This cheese is similar to the Tuma cheese that can also be found in this area.  They are small cylindrical formed cheese aged for a short time and lightly salted.  A great place to eat and that will have plenty of great dishes to enjoy some Murazzano DOP cheese is Trattoria da Lele. Here you can enjoy freshly made traditional food and local wines.  They have a small menu that they will recite at the table for you on the day you are there of the items they have made fresh that morning.  Family style service and very casual setting makes for a great long lunch. 

Address: Piazza Cerrina, 10 - Murazzano
Telephone: +39 (0)173-798016

A great producer to visit in the Murazzano for cheese is Cascina del Finocchio Verde. I would recommend giving them a call first before heading over so they can take the time to show you their sheep and also their cheese aging well! 
  • Finocchio Verde 
Address: Borgata Bruni 33 - Murazzano (CN) 
Telephone +39 (0)173-743518

The next town over is Bossolasco there is another great cheese producer called Family Farm or Tuma d’Fè 
Address: Località Bui 3 - Bossolasco (CN) 
Telephone +39 342-8765552 ask for Giuseppe (in the picture below).  
If you would like more information about this producer you can have a look on my blog 

If thirst hits you there is this really hip spot called 
  • Drogheria di Langa 
Address: Via Umberto I 66 - Bossolasco (CN) 
Telephone +39 (0)173-793264.  

Another great spot that I frequent when I’m in the area for a coffee, gelato, or great pastry is 
Address: Corso Paolo della Valle, 23 - Bossolasco
Telephone: +39 (0)173-799031

Close by Bosolasco you have Serravalle Langhe here is a very famous restaurant called Trattoria La Coccinella, here you can enjoy their classic menu or what most of the locals come all the way here for is their fantastic seafood menu. I know for Italy it is strange, you are very far away from the sea in the middle of the hills and woods and bam there is a great seafood restaurant. 
Address: Via Provinciale, 5 - Serravalle Langhe
Telephone: +39 (0)173-748220 


Amanda Courtney

Follow Amanda on her:
Twitter @TourPiedmont

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