CHEESE TASTING TOURS
“Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures”
M. F. K. Fisher
LOCAL CHEESE TOURS IN PIEDMONT ALPS & LANGHE
Cheese Tours In Alba Or Alpine Valleys
Don’t worry about your cholesterol while here in Piedmont because we are world famous for our variety of cheeses. In this region alone, we have 9 DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses including strong cheeses like Castelmagno and Gorgonzola to soft and delicate cheeses like Toma PIemontese or Robiola di Roccaverano. Piemontese locals tend to eat their gnocchi with cheese sauce and love eating cheese boards with tasty local honeys and jams at the end of the meal. In the Langhe, home to Barolo and Barbaresco, most of the area is under vine, which doesn’t leave much space for grazing animals like cows, goats and sheep. Therefore, to get to the farms, we will have to drive a bit far up into the Alta Langa (Higher Elevation Area of Langhe), venture out to the Alpine valleys or visit an awesome shop in a nearby town.
Unfortunately due to strict hygiene laws in Italy, it is not possible to actually go inside the cheesemaking facilities and take part, but you can definetely have fun learning and tasting!
TASTING WITH A CHEESEMAKER EXTREMIST
This cheesemaker is a passionate and opinionated guy who is taking a stance for what he believes. Less quantity and better quality even if it is hard to make a living. After having left a stable job, with the support of his wife, he renovated an old farmhouse in the poor Alta Langa area back where his father was originally from. After years of speaking with the elders about customs and traditions, especially when it comes to cheese making, he was ready to start his own business. He is not only a lover of cheese, but making anything else he can from scratch, and trying to live as sustainably as possible. He will personally take you through the process by showing you his home and laboratory and then introduce you to his sheep. He only makes one kind of sheep’s cheese but can let you taste a variety by showing you how the aging process changes the product dramatically. You can do just a simple cheese tasting or have a light lunch meaning bread, tomatoes, fruit, salami in addition to the cheese. Wine is not included and can be purchased for a very reasonable from them. A translator or guide is needed and must be part of a full day tour with me. Available from April – October.
SUSTAINABLE FARM IN LANGHE
This farmer actually specializes in cheese but loves making pasta, growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and raising animals. He is considered a “maestro” and offers intensive internships for foreigners on how to make cheese. He will be happy to show you his garden, his animals, his cheese lab briefly and then let you taste his sheep’s milk cheese, aged differently depending on the season. A light or full lunch can also be arranged here so you can taste all their products. A translator or guide is needed and must be part of a full day tour. Available from April – October.
GOAT CHEESE IN THE ALPS
Valle Maira is probably the most beautiful and wild Alpine Valley in the Cuneo province. There is a very protective and old fashioned air up there and unfortunately the tiny mountain hamlets are being more and more abandoned. It is important to support the people who choose to live this more secluded and challenging lifestyle. One of my favorite spots in the valley is a goat cheese producer, originally from Torino who left her job as a doctor to open up a beautiful farm and restaurant in the mountains. She was ignored and even shunned on by the locals at first, but now she has finally fit in and makes some of the best goat cheese I have ever tasted. We can do a mini tour of the farm and then have a full course meal all based on goat cheese, even ice cream! This is outside of the Langhe region and will require driving 1.5 hours away but if you want a change of scenery and something off the beaten path this could be for you! A translator or guide is needed and must be part of a full day tour with me. Available from April – September.
LOCAL MOZZARELLA DI BUFALA
Yes, Piemonte even has well established Mozzarella di Bufala makers which are just as good as the famed Bufala producers from Campagnia/Naples area. Here they graze the grass at the foot of the Alps and breathe in the clean air. This cheese farm has their own buffalos that they even produce ricotta and meat products from. This is outside of the Langhe region and will require driving 1-1-5 hours away but if you love mozzarella you’ve gotta try this! A translator or guide is needed and must be part of a full day tour with me. Available from April – October.
THE ONE AND THE ONLY CASTELMAGNO CHEESE
Valle Grana, an Alpine valley was a bit sleepy until Castelmagno became rediscovered. This DOP cheese is sharp, aged and can range from being crumbly to creamy and is often served with honey or melted in fondues and added to dishes like polenta or gnocchi. It is a hearty mountain cheese coming only from 3 towns in this valley. The cheese from Castelmagno was even sited in documents from the Marquis of Saluzzo in the 1200s, stating that it could be used as a payment form! There is also a beautiful sanctuary that you can visit in the town of Castelmagno.This is outside of the Langhe region and will require driving 1.5-2 hours away but if you want a change of scenery and something off the beaten path this could be for you! A translator or guide is needed and must be part of a full day tour with me. Available from May – September.
Transportation is normally included in our tours with pick up and drop off services within the Alba area. A private driver with luxury vehicle, vintage cars, 9 seater vans or buses, or self drive tours can be arranged. If you are interested in taking the train from Torino, we suggest taking a direct 45 minute train ride from Porta Nuova station in Torino to Fossano where you can be picked up. For further information about how to reach our area, please read more on this page
During high season
May-June and Sept-Nov a standard group tour may be available for 2-8 people. An English speaking driver will pick you up in an air-conditioned van in Alba and take you to a few points of interest in the Barolo area, as well as 1 Barolo winery in the morning, a casual lunch spot, and 1 more Barolo winery in the afternoon. Your driver is available to give you local insight and is a certified sommelier and tour guide. We will provide you with maps and a detailed description of the local varieties when you hop on the bus. It will be fun to share this experience with other English speaking wine lovers from all over the world. You may come home with new friends and especially new wines!