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Good Holiday Ideas | December 12, 2017

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The high road in Piemonte

The high road in Piemonte
James Hill

James Callery marvels at the magic of e-biking.

We’re gliding along the lush green vineyard-carpeted hills of Italy’s Langhe and Roero with not a car in site. E-bikes are a revelation; allowing you to pedal up slopes at 30km/h without effort. Davide Pasquero from Terroir Selection takes us on a 32km route in the direction of Neive. We soon cycle through the village of Mango, its narrow lanes lined with yellow and terracotta houses, where we stop off for some wine tasting. Winemaking largely took over in the region in the last 40 years. “We now have more grape varieties in Italy than in any other country,” Davide notes.

Next day we take a buffet breakfast on the sunny terrace at Hotel Ca’ del Lupo; the swimming pool below us offering a panoramic view of the hills. The hotel is a fifteen-minute drive from Alba, the capital of the Langhe area. In Igliano we cycle 11km in the 36-degree heat. Parts of the trail are wooded with some challenging uphill segments and rocky downhill steeps.  We finish, cycling down a winding farmyard road.

After a cheese and salami picnic, a bus takes us to Bossolasco. The village’s stone buildings sit on a slope with tree-lined hills surrounding. The houses have red-tiled roofs with creeping plants and painted wooden shutters on the windows. We have dinner at the Michelin starred Guido Ristorante.

Set on an enormous estate – a present from King Victoria Emanuelle 2nd to his mistress – the interior is filled with historic, regal décor. But for all its grandeur, the restaurant’s food is surprisingly unpretentious.

The veal wrap with tuna sauce starter is followed by risotto then pulled pork. For pudding, a wonderfully rich Fior di Latte ice cream with tangy raspberry sauce.

Next morning, we set out on a Nordic walking adventure from the highest point of the Diano d’Alba commune. We hike through sun-scorched vineyards, sampling ripe grapes and berries on the way. After the obligatory wine tasting session at Enoteca Regionale del Piemonte, I take a rest.
On our last action day we take a bus-ride to Argentera in the Stura Valley for stage two of the trip. Dramatic mountain-scapes surround. After a white water rafting session, the bus takes us to Cuneo, capital city of the Piemonte region, for the first night of the 11-day Illuminata 2015. The opening of the Christian festival coincides with the inauguration of the newly-pedestrianized Via Roma high street.

We are among 530 people dining on the cobbled high street. Sat in front of Via Roma’s porticoed buildings, everyone is dressed in their finest, looking thoroughly Italian. After dinner the street is illuminated with elegant street lights. Crowds then gather to watch the main light feature in the square as a wall of bulbs flashes different patterns to the accompanying music.

Piemonte action tour -

E-Bike: Bik-e, 40€ per day with taxes, helmet and lock 35€ per day.

Wine tasting in Mango: 3€ glass of Wine / 5€ glass of Barbaresco.

Tasting: 7€ three tasting of wines. 5€ cheese and cured meats. 3€ desserts

Hotel Ca’ del Lupo: Low season: single room 90€, double room 110€, suite 140€
High season: single room 100€, double 130€, suite 160€

Guido Ristorante: tasting menù 85€ except wines

Nordic walking 60€ half day, 85€ full day.

Enoteca Regionale del Piemonte: per glass: Dolcetto and Barbera 2,50€, Nebbiolo 3,50e, Barolo and Barbaresco 4,50€, Grappa and spirits 2,50€

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