I am not a winter person, I mostly like spring, summer and warm places and that is why I do usually take my winter break to a Country around the Equator. I need my bones to warm up again after months of freezing air and snow.
However it is undeniable that winter only can create some very romantic scenes and transform the landscape in a way that is undoubtedly fascinating. In these past few days a cold air band approached central Europe and sunndenly pulled temperatures seriously down. Here in Torino, north west Italy, we are now at approx 4/5 Celsius degrees in the morning and up to 15 during the day and from now on our termometer will go down a bit more every new morning until Christmas.
The first snowstorms happened on the Alps, which are very visible even from the city center, especially the Monviso, which is an amazing landmark for us being shaped as a perfect pyramid which stands out among the major mounts of the Alps. From the panoramic terrace of the Capuchins in Torino you can also see the Montblanc caped with a white snow coat.
However, during winter, the best scenerey is offered by the Langhe and Monferrato area. After a snowfall we usually get few sunny days which freeze the snow on the fields turning the vineyards into a white set of embroideries that are as fascinating as the summer green, or even more, if you consider that cold air makes the scene ever clearer and allows a view to the infinite.
I took the picture above two years ago from the panoramic terrace of La Morra, a small village located on the tip of the Langhe Region. (Langhe and Monferrato are located within the Piedmont Region, at the north west side of Italy, bordering Switzerland and France). The View spans from the vineyards of Barolo all the way to the hazelnut fields in Cortemilia and beyond. It is the land of wine, recently listed by UNESCO among the world heritage sites. Most of the people do visit these places in summer, although winter season offer a lot to see and enjoy here.
Here above you get another magnificent winter view over the vineyards toward the village of Monforte and, in a distance, you can see the so called “Maritime Alps” behind which the beaches of the Italian Riviera and the French Cote D’Azur are found. Isn’t it amazing how far a view can get in winter time?
The picture above shows the whole valley of the river Tanaro, heading to the cities of Alba and Asti. Two rival cities since the middle ages whose feud has never been fully solved, up to the present date. That is where Monferrato starts, another incredibly beautiful and fertile vineyard soil, also included among the world heritage.
Vineyards may do all look beuatiful in summertime, but pretty much all the same. In wintertime is different, every single vineyard shows it’s rows and lines and after a snowfall they really look like and embroidered tablecloth.
Recently I posted the recipe of a local biscuit called Baci di Dama, made with the local hazelnuts called “Round and Gentle Hazelnut of Piedmont”. This is where the hazelnut I used to make my Baci di dame came from and these are the denifinetly the best in the world. See the recipe for Baci di Dama here.
You can see hazenlut trees everywhere in Piedmont, from the Alps to the flat areas around the rice field of Vecelli, althoguh the core production is in the Langhe and Monferrato and that is where you can see dozens of hazelnut trees right beside each vineyard. After a snowfall they also look different, pretty much like this:
You may now have an idea of how this area looks like in winter time and why even if I hate cold I can’t wait for the next snowfall to go enjoy these landscapes again…