We’ve just enjoyed another 9 days in the superb region of Piemonte with what we would call perfect summer riding weather. Commencing the tour with a few longer days in the saddle in the Barolo hills saw everyone well prepared to tackle our final challenge on our final day, the magnificent Colle Fauniera.
From our base in Le Langhe, we meandered daily in every direction, enabling us to see the many towns and enjoy the many faces of the Piemonte landscape. Endless rows of vines, cobblestoned hilltop hamlets and castles, winding roads, fast descents, some “little” pinches and many beautiful climbs. For us, this is an amazing region to ride, with surprises around every corner.
Our final day on the bike saw us follow the traditional medio fondo route of La Fausto Coppi Gran Fondo, with 108km and 2695m of elevation. We departed from Piazza Galimberti, and after warming up across the first 10k’s, the roads started to go up and the incline just kept increasing with every km. The first part of the true climb is particularly demanding and while the last 8k’s is also a good challenge, it is just so beautiful, it takes your mind away from the work that needs to be done to reach the top. We had mist around the peaks which added drama to the landscape and as we turned each corner, this beauty was amplified even further as we could see the trajectory of the road and where it was leading. Seriously. Beautiful.
After plenty of descending and a quick final 25k, we celebrated in true Piemontese style with a beer from Baladin. This is Italy’s best brewer by far. They are super serious about sustainable production and now grow much of their raw ingredients to control the quality and provenance of their products.
The food of every Italian region is different and this is certainly the case with the Piemontese table. There are some classics from Piemonte, including the Carne Cruda, Vitello Tonnato, Ravioli del Plain and Tajarin con Ragu, which highlights the very best dishes of the region…. and which we just can’t eat enough of. This is a region where the food is more serious and sophisticated than rustic. The local artisan producers, in particular the cheese makers, hazelnut growers and chocolatiers, are an absolute highlight of this region.
Wine is of course the hero of the region, with Barolo, Barbaresco, Langhe Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and the delicious crisp Arneis, to name a few. We were fortunate to experience a beautiful tasting experience, trying three different Barolo wines from the barrel, from three different hills, and then comparing them to a bottled Barolo. A really interesting experience and very delicious.
The activities for the non riding partners in Piemonte unsurprisingly revolves around food…. from learning about the production of the amazing IGP hazelnuts of Piemonte and the famous Castelmagno cheese, to hunting for truffles and preparing classic dishes at a very special cooking class., the group experienced the very best of the region’s produce….which included a few tasting experiences of course…and they also enjoyed beautiful walks in nature, amongst the vines and into the mountains, to balance out the inputs.
Grazie Piemonte for turning on another very special 9 days of amazing riding, food and wine. Cin cin.
For more details of our Italian Cycling tours, click the link here.