Truffle hunting is a must for all discerning gastronomists! To go in search of the truffle, perhaps the world’s most elusive edible funghi, is an experience to savour and enjoy. And where better to go truffle hunting than in the magical Piemonte region of Italy at the foot of the Alps – home to the world’s most famous truffle, the ‘tartufo bianco.’ The position of the Relais San Maurizio in the Langhe wine region between Alba and Asti, makes this holiday perfect for those looking also to sample some of Piemonte’s finest wines.Highlights of this food holidayThis five-night holiday in the Piemonte region of Italy is available on the dates of your choice and includes the following experiences, all of which take place at or near the Relais San Maurizio.• Truffle-hunting experience with the Relais San Maurizio• Truffle and wine sampling opportunity at the end of the huntPrices from £1,150 per person including flights, car hire, bed and breakfast, and the experiences mentioned above.Your food holidayYour truffle hunting holiday will involve a five-night stay at the delightful Relais San Maurizio. The main highlight of this experience will be joining the owners of the Relais San Maurizio on the local truffle hunt, and sampling the truffles and local wines at the end. The hunt will typically last for around two and a half hours and is generally suitable for groups of between two and five people. Although the autumn months are best for truffle hunting, they do take place all year round. Your hotel, the Relais San Maurizio, is delicately placed amongst the Langhe wine region in Piemonte, in a landscape dotted with intriguing and atmospheric medieval fortresses and towers. Its hilltop position ensures that the serene pool terrace captures the best of the Italian sun, and its trees and the surrounding fields thrive. Still as it was when the building was used as a Cistercian monastery, the hotel exudes homely comfort, enticing arriving visitors with the promise of quality and excellent service within. Its Michelin-starred restaurant, the Guido da Costigliole, offers a selection of exquisite dishes crafted with the best of local ingredients, and served in the setting of the ancient monastery cellars. The Truffle Bistrot is open for light relaxing lunches, with views overlooking the gardens and cloisters of the old monastery. Conveniently positioned between Alba and Asti, and not far from the city of Turin, your stay in the Relais San Maurizio will be one characterised not just by truffle-hunting and Italian cuisine, but by the fantastic wines of this region and its world-famous culture. The wine cellar of the Relais San Maurizio houses some of the best wines from across Italy and France, including those from Burgundy and Bordeaux, as well as the most valuable of Piemonte’s own wines: Gaja, La Spinetta, Giacoa, Conterno, and Coppo. September and October bring with them opportunities for guests at the hotel to press their own grapes in the traditional method – in a large wooden barrel with the correct footwear. Afterwards, a wine-tasting opportunity is encouraged, with Langhe salami and cheese. The wine that each visitor has pressed can, when fully matured, be sent to you at home.Villages such as Barolo and Barbaresco are close by for more wine-tasting experiences. The 16th century Castello Falletti in Barolo has been converted into a wine museum and enoteca, and now provides the perfect environment in which to taste the dark, full-bodied Barolo red wine. Montegrosso is the home of Barbera wine, while Costigliole d’Asti and Canelli specialise in the sparkling Asti Spumante. A visit to Alba will be one of the cultural highlights of your stay in Piemonte, with its austere medieval narrow winding alleyways and brick towers. The pretty old town, with the peaceful ebb and flow of day-to-day life, makes for a very relaxing afternoon’s walk, before descending into the underground museum and ruins of Alba’s medieval and Roman history. Aside from the magnificent Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, parts of which date back to the 6th century, Alba’s pride and joy may well be Macrino’s Vergine Incoronata, which hangs in the council chamber of Alba’s Palazzo Comunale. Just south of Alba sits the Grinzane di Cavour Castle, which is still the meeting point of the ‘Order of the Knights of the Truffles and Wines of Alba’. Its museum gives essential insight into the Order, as well as wine-making traditions, folk traditions, and Count Camillo Cavour himself. The castle also houses a restaurant, should you want to stay in these historic surroundings until the evening. Combine your truffle-hunting experience with a visit to the world-famous white truffle festival (“Fiera del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba) that also takes place in Alba, to really complete your interaction with this famous Italian tradition. This annual event attracts chefs and foodies from the world-over to celebrate their love of all things to do with truffles. You can join in and celebrate the famous ‘tartufo bianco’ each weekend throughout October and November in Alba’s main market square.You may wish, before embarking on your return flight from Turin, to spend a few hours in the metropolitan city. Perhaps climb the Mole Antonelliana, or take the floating lift to the top, to see the city from a bird’s eye view, or visit the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist to see the famous Turin Shroud. When, however, it is time to return to the UK, we hope that you leave with a lasting impression of the luxury and excellent cuisine and wines that Piemonte has to offer, to accompany the memorable experience of truffle-hunting amongst the luscious, fertile woodlands and fieldsRecommendations for visits in the local area:• Fiera del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (Limited to October and November), Alba• Underground Pietro Micca Museum and Ruins, Alba• Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Alba• Palazzo Comunale, Alba• Grinzane di Cavour Castle, near Alba• Castello Falletti, Barolo• Montegrosso• Costigliole d’Asti• Canelli• Mole Antonelliana, Turin• Turin Shroud, Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, TurinEntrance fees not included in the price of this holiday.What’s included:• Flights from London to Turin• Group A Car hire for the duration of the holiday• 5 nights bed and breakfast at the Relais San Maurizio• Truffle-hunting experience with the owners of the Relais San MaurizioDates for this holidayThis holiday operates all year round, though we recommend booking for the autumn, subject to hotel and flight availability at the time of booking. Additional nights here and at any of our other hotels can be arranged.Prices£1,150 per person based on two people sharing, for a three night break.
Relais San MaurizioSanto Stefano BelboThe Relais San Maurizio is a stunning 5 star boutique hotel which was, in the 17th century, a monastery. It is located in a small village in the Langhe region of Piemonte, an area renowned for its exceptional wine and cuisine. The region is home to great reds such as Barolo and Barbaresco, and also the famous white truffle. The Relais San Maurizio sits amid its own parkland of ancient olive trees, spruce, larch, and beech, and close to the main building are landscaped gardens of lawn and flower beds. The former monks’ cells and stables have been converted into 31 unique rooms and suites which overlook the gardens. The historic stone and brick of the building has been preserved and repaired, and now act as the fitting accompaniment to the luxurious, contemporary soft furnishings. The Relais San Maurizio hotel boasts a fine Michelin-starred restaurant, the Guido da Costigliole, which is located in the cellars of the monastery, with exposed stonework. The owner, Lidia Alciati and her son, Andrea, blend traditional Piedmontese food with modern elements using rich white truffles from Alba, and specially-reared local meat. Pre-dinner drinks can be enjoyed in the relaxing Hemingway bar, named after the author who travelled through the region in 1948 to taste the best vermouths of the region. In the fine summer months, guests can take advantage of the outdoor pool and sun terrace, with its panoramic views of the surrounding hills and vineyards. For other seasons or in the late evenings, there is an indoor heated pool. This goes hand in hand with the superb spa, the La Via del Sale Medical and Beauty Spa, where the treatments are based around the beneficial properties of salt. A stay here at the Relais San Maurizio affords the best of all worlds with its fine dining, beautiful facilities, and comfortable rooms. In addition, it is perfect as a base for exploring the region and soaking up new experiences, from truffle-hunting and wine-tasting, to hot air ballooning and cookery lessons.Find out more about the Relais San Maurizio.
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