Discovering the Under Discovered in Barolo – In Search of Chiara Boschis

You’ll have to wait for my book, “Under Discovered: Piemonte through the eyes of its women” to get the full story.  In the meantime, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the wonderful women and their families who will populate the pages of my book.  Many I’ve known for nearly 14 years, but a few I’ve only just met through the process of researching my book.  One of those women is the effervescent and immensely talented Chiara Boschis, winemaker and owner of E. Pira e Figli in Barolo.

WInemaker Chiara Boschis at home amongst her treasured nebbiolo vines
Winemaker Chiara Boschis at home amongst her treasured nebbiolo vines

On Monday, I introduced my Vail Daily readers near and far to Chiara.  You can read more about her at:

http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20130331/AE/130339983&parentprofile=search

What I didn’t tell you was how I discovered this well-known, under-discovered maven of Barolo.  Serendipity is wonderful and often its surprises can yield incredible fruit.

After a grueling month of first getting my husband Dani off on his long trip to Israel, I was off on my odyssey in Piemonte.  I arrived in Treiso at Agriturismo Il Bricco evening of March 19th.  The journey had taken nearly 27 hours, but I was excited to be back in the land of the noble grape.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday took me back and forth between Treiso, Barbaresco and Barolo interviewing fascinating women and men from the winemaking families of Cantina del Pino, Marchesi di Gresy, Gaja, G. D. Vajra, Livia Fontana and Cascina delle Rose.  Although I still had interviews to conduct at Deltetto, Ca’ del Baio and Matteo Correggia the following week, the weekend gave me a much-needed break to process all that I had learned in the hours of interviews.  Most of all, the weekend meant market day in Alba.

The Alba mercato is located on the fringes of the old city.  During the week the area under and around the massive roof is a parking lot.  But on Saturdays it becomes an expansive gastronomic venue.  Everything one needs to make prepare a stunning Piemontese feast – including the utensils, gadgets, pots and pans – can be found at the market.  Ok, so you have to shop elsewhere for the treasured tartufo bianci in autumn, but even the clothes and shoes to wear for the occasion can be purchased here.  Nothing like an hour walking around, envying the availability of beautiful vegetables, cheese, meat and seafood to remind me of what I miss most about living in Europe.  Why can’t we have markets like that in Colorado instead of the over-priced weekend farmers’ markets?

Pasta Perfection in the Alba mercato                    Mediterranean Mollusks

WIth that obligatory stroll through the mercato complete, I drove back to Il Bricco, deposited my goodies – chestnut honey, roasted hazelnuts, lace scarves and the Parmigiano-Reggiano given to me as a gift from the cheese couple I wrote about last year – and headed west to Barolo (see below).

Husband and wife cheese merchants in the Alba mercato

I was on a mission.  Ristorante La Cantinetta was my destination.

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