Many argue that Piedmont produces the best food in all of Italy. The Langa and Roero regions of Piedmont are in one of the most important wine production areas in Italy, and received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. The Chef Bike Tour of Piedmont will take us to the heart of these regions, over rolling hills covered with endless vineyards and past ancient castles and hidden hilltop hamlets. You’ll see how connected the local people are to the land, and how they take pride in everything they produce.
Vineyards cover most of the hills here and wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, and Nebbiolo are perfectly paired with dishes that will make each meal a gastronomic event. Towns like La Morra, Barolo, and Alba are perfect stops for a taste of what the region has to offer.
In Piedmont, exceptional wine often accompanies wonderfully paired cuisine. The culinary offerings of Piedmont fuse Northern Italian and French influences, with truffles and mushrooms taking center stage as seasonal highlights. Noteworthy Piedmontese specialties encompass "tajarin" (a type of fresh pasta), "bagna cauda" (a mild sauce featuring anchovies, olive oil, and garlic), "risotto" (Arborio rice cooked with diverse ingredients such as vegetables, porcini mushrooms, and cheeses), and "agnolotti" (local ravioli filled with a savory mixture of meat and vegetables).
On this special edition Chef Bike Tour you will visit Pollenzo where the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Science is based. You will learn about the Slow Food movement right at its birthplace.
Accommodations during your journey include a UNESCO site, a family wine estate inn with a royal past, and a boutique hotel in the countryside.
We could not think of a better chef to cohost the Piedmont Chef Bike Tour than Jody Adams. The new edition of the Chef Bike Tour of Piedmont has been in the works for three years as we were waiting for the right time to bring her back on board. In the meantime, other projects came to life between Jody and her team and Beppe and Heather (Tourissimo co-founders) while the conversation on Piedmont continued, and the itinerary took shape.
Her first Chef Bike Tour with Tourissimo was in 2018 when she joined the Chef Bike Tour pilot project in Emilia Romagna.
We have lost count of how many restaurants she has opened in the last decade after the iconic Cambridge (MA) Rialto closed its doors, but it didn't stop shining a spotlight on her. And we love how she's used that well-deserved spotlight.
A James Beard Award-winning Chef, she has never stopped advocating for humanitarian and social causes. Her new restaurant, La Padrona, will be opening inside the new Raffles Hotel in Boston in 2024.
Jody loves engaging with locals, and she always enthusiastically shares her knowledge, but also fun anecdotes and insights about being a restaurateur, with co-travelers.
Jody in the Saline di Cervia with Tourissimo in 2018 - Photo credit Ken Rivard
Two important wine regions, Langa and Roero
UNESCO World Heritage Site (vineyards landscape)
Villages of Barolo and Barbaresco, the namesakes of two world-famous red wines
"Slow Food" University
Stunning cycling along rolling hills covered with vineyards and quaint medieval villages
Views that stretch as far as the Alps
Castle-topped villages, which lend a historic and romantic feel to the area
Visits with producers and a truffle-hunting demo
Dinner at Piazza Duomo (3 Michelin Star) and Da Guido (1 Michelin Star)
Pollenzo and Verduno - Warmup ride
One of our guides will meet you at Turin Airport (or in town if you have already arrived) for a late morning shuttle to Corte Albertina in Pollenzo. You will have time to visit this interesting site, steeped in history. The site received official recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 as part of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. It now houses the University of Gastronomical Sciences, founded by the internationally recognized Slow Food Association. Slow Food began as a sophisticated parody of McDonald's arrival in Italy (Slow Food vs. Fast Food) and has grown into an international crusade for the preservation of culinary traditions, biodiversity, and "the right to good taste." A representative of the University will enlighten us about their mission and its importance for producers, consumers, and the restaurant business.
In the afternoon, we will make our way to our unique stay, a royal palace on top of the village of Verduno, full of charm and history. The royal history, that of Savoia and of King Carlo Alberto, and the humble history of the Burlotto and Bianco families. The passion for preserving this place and the love for wine (Verduno Pelaverga and Barolo) and Piedmontese cuisine are palpable.
Our first ride will take place among the vineyards of Verduno and around the hills surrounding the village. Back at Castello di Verduno, Chef Jody Adams will prepare a welcome aperitivo that will be served while we have a tour overview. Our first dinner will showcase some traditional dishes paired with the fine wines of Castello di Verduno.
Roero - 20 or 40 miles - Hilly
Our first longer ride starts by descending the Tanaro River Valley. We'll pass through Corneliano, Monteu Roero, Santo Stefano, all on the hills of the Roero region. Here, you are in true wine country where grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Arneis, undoubtedly a part of your evening celebrations!
Upon arriving in Montà, we will enjoy a truffle hunting demo. Truffle hunting is part of the farming culture here and traditionally considered a male activity. However, our young female trifulau, Martina, has just as much passion and knowledge, and she will take us around with her trusted dog. This is an experience you won't forget! The white truffle is a delicacy that has made these hills famous among chefs worldwide. However, in the summer, the black one is in season while the white one is in season in the colder months. Martina and her family will treat us to lunch, and, of course, truffle is on the menu.
Shuttle or ride back to the hotel in time to get ready for a cooking class followed by dinner at the Marrone Family Winery in La Morra. It's time to enjoy life and taste some Barolo on the terrace! Chef Jody Adams and the Marrone family staff will engage everyone during this fun, yet professional cooking workshop. While pasta is an Italian staple dish, each region has its own recipes, and you'll learn the Piedmont way. The Marrone winery's wine is superb, and it's interesting to know that three sisters lead the winery. We cannot wait for you to experience one of our favorite activities with some of our favorite people.
Tomorrow, we change location and get into the heart of the Langa wine production area.
Barolo loop - 25 miles - Hilly
Today is Barolo day! We'll bid farewell to Verduno and ride to the hills of Barolo, passing more Nebbiolo vineyards where you will undoubtedly see local workers in the fields performing the June green harvesting. Our first stop is the world-famous Belvedere of Morra. La Morra is considered the balcony of the Langhe because of its wonderful views of the entire area.
Next, we ride to the unpretentious village named after the King of Wines: Barolo. Between La Morra and Barolo, you'll pass rows of Nebbiolo vines cultivated by legendary producers such as Renato Ratti, Bartolo Mascarello, and Roberto Voerzio. Monforte and then Serralunga d’Alba afford the most amazing riding experience anywhere.
We spend the next two nights at the Fontanafredda Estate, an award-winning winery (European Winery of the Year 2017). We'll stay in the exclusive Cascina Galarej within the estate. The pool is waiting!
The final highlight of this epic day is dinner with Chef Ugo Alciati (one Michelin star). You will learn how "Da Guido" restaurant - started by his father - completely changed fine dining in Piedmont.
Barbaresco Loop - 24 miles - Rolling
The area southwest of Alba is part of the Barbaresco wine production zone. The three villages where Nebbiolo grapes for Barbaresco wine can be grown are Neive, Treiso, and Barbaresco.
The original, small, and elegant village of Barbaresco will be part of our ride today and a mandatory coffee stop. As you approach Barbaresco, its imposing 12th-century tower stands out in the landscape. The tower is what is left of an imposing fortification that once crowned the hilltop where Barbaresco rises. Along a winding ridge, we'll head towards Treiso before an exhilarating descent back to Fontanafredda.
For dinner, we will land in Alba, the capital of the white truffle area. Of Celtic and Ligurian origin, called Alba Pompeia by the Romans, the town has kept a spiral-shaped medieval plan. You will have time to explore the elegant town center before gathering for dinner.
There are only a handful of three Michelin star restaurants in Italy. Piazza Duomo in Alba is one of them and is at the pinnacle of regional cuisine. Piazza Duomo has been listed as one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World every year since 2014 (reaching its highest position on the list in 2017 at number 15 and in 2023 is at number 42). The kitchen is headed by Chef Enrico Crippa, who procures the freshest regional ingredients, some of which come from the restaurant’s vegetable garden; everything else comes from within a radius of 50 kilometers. An impressive wine selection will afford a memorable wine pairing. We can’t actually add much more, as this is a culinary event that must be experienced.
Grinzane Cavour - Diano d'Alba - Benevello - 18 or 32 miles - Rolling hills
Today’s ride will lead to a secondary valley where we ride uphill to the 13th-century Grinzane Cavour castle, once home to the famous strategist Cavour. It is one of the most iconic sites of Langa. Take your time and Instagram away!
We keep climbing until we reach Diano d’Alba, where lunch is planned at one of our favorite places (a simple osteria not on the regular tourist itineraries). The belvedere of Diano d’Alba affords truly breathtaking views.
We then pedal on a ridge, which is part of the Alta Langa, the highest and wildest portion of this territory. The vegetation changes as hazelnut-topped woodland covers the northern side of the round and gentle hills. These hazelnuts are harvested by the ton and transported to the Ferrero factory in Alba to make the famous Nutella spread, as well as Italian Gianduja chocolates, which you should, of course, try!
Villa d’Amelia is our hotel stay for the next two nights. The view at sunset is spectacular, and the hotel amenities include a spa and wellness center, and a heated pool.
Belbo River Valley - 26 miles - Hilly
We descend the Belbo River Valley, and you'll notice significant landscape changes. The Apennines of Liguria are in front of us, blocking the view of the seacoast, which is only 40 miles away as the crow flies. The Ligurian coast, with its access to the Mediterranean Sea, was well-positioned for maritime trade, including salt. Salt has been a valuable commodity throughout history, used not only as a seasoning but also as a preservative for food (can you imagine a time without refrigeration?). The proximity and trading tradition between Piedmont and Liguria are reflected in local dishes such as vitello tonnato and bagna cauda. This area is also famous for Robiola, a sheep and goat milk cheese. Our picnic lunch will feature Robiola and more stunning views.
Our morning coffee stop is planned in Santo Stefano Belbo. From there, we climb to Valdivilla and then Mango. We suggest a quick spin around the village of Mango for a glimpse of its castle. In a few scenic miles, we reach our picnic spot.
Our farewell dinner is at the fine hotel restaurant where Chef Jody Adams will team with Chef Dennis Cesco to present a four-course menu created exclusively for us.
The Langa region is a true paradise for gourmands. In Angelo Gaja’s words, (Gaja is a central figure in Piedmont’s wine identity) “People truly come here to explore their passion for food and wine.” The territory offers first class ingredients, that together with traditions handed down from generation to generation, allow you to enjoy the authentic Langa dishes. The egg pasta used to prepare the tajarin, or plin, ravioli is homemade and the precious veal meat from the Province of Granda (name of the province of Cuneo in local dialect) is the basis for the preparation of ancient recipes like hand chopped raw meat, cold veal with tuna sauce and red wine braised meat. The simplest dishes are usually the most delicious and they look like they have been specially created to espouse the most precious autumnal ingredient, the Alba White Truffle, which will enhance their perfumes and tastes. In fact, the Slow Food movement was born in Bra (near Alba). The regional wine production boasts the most DOCG appellations of any other region in Italy, and during the week we will learn about Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Arneis and many other indigenous grapes. Most family-run wineries in Barolo are small and don’t do winery tours, as you would expect if you were in France or Napa. Luckily, Tourissimo will get the doors open for you.