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See also: Terme di AcquiWhat to See and Do - Events, Fairs and Festivals

Local Specialties 

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Wines
The gently rolling hillsides that surround Acqui Terme are covered in grapevines. Much of the wine produced here is attributed to the large commercial wineries of the area, but there are still many small family-run farms that produce and bottle wine using the production methods of old. Local wine varietals include Dolcetto d'Acqui and Dolcetto d’Ovada which are produced in the largest quantities, followed by Barbera, Brachetto, Cortese, Moscato and Grignolino.

The Grignolino grape variety is to the hills of the Monferrato area, it is a delicate wine with a lingering nose and is one of Piedmont’s most valued wines.

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Mushrooms and Truffles
The mushroom variety ‘Porcino’ or King Bolete features highly in the many festivals and fairs that liven up the autumn period of the nearby towns of Ponzone, Cassinelle and Morbello, and in the Orba and Erro valleys. The mushroom is dark-coloured with dense flesh due to the limited rainfall of the area. This mushroom which is found in the Piedmont Apennines may be awarded a special designation of origin classification due to its unique characteristics.

The ravines and gullies of the Valley Bormida are home to the world’s best black and white truffles, which do a thriving trade at the autumn truffle fair in Alba. Truffles are featured on most restaurant menus throughout Piedmont and Liguria. The figure of the ‘trifulau’ (truffle gatherer) who roams the woods at night in the company of his faithful dog with a hoe in hand ready to remove the precious underground delicacy, is still a common sight in the local area.

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Agronatura - growers of aromatic and medicinal herbs.
Agronatura,   founded in 1986, is an agricultural cooperative which specializes in the cultivation of medicinal herbs and plants adhering to the methods of organic and biodynamic cultivation. Biodynamic cultivation, based on the principles of the philosopher and esoteric Rudolf Steiner, utilizes methods for sustainable agricultural production that respect the earth's ecosystem and include organic farming practices and the belief that the soil and what it produces are a single entity.

Through following the principles of Rudolf Steiner, the use of organic fertilizers and pesticides and the observation of specific cosmic influences crop yields are of optimum quality.
www.agronatura.it

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Grappa
LUIGI BARILE  known as "the High Priest of Grappa’ produces unique, world-renowned grappas in his Silvano d'Orba distillery using an age-old traditional method of distillation. His grappas are rich in aromas and flavours and are classed amongst the best spirits in the world affirmed by names such as Veronelli, Virgil Pronzati, Carlo Cambi, Bruno Bini, Salvatore Marchesi, Enzo Russo, Pier Luigi Gambino, Angel Matteucci, Edward Meoli , Stephen Cerne, Carlo Petrini.

He was awarded the silver medal at the World Spirits Competition in Brussels, the Wine and Spirit Competition in London and the international prize high quality 2008. Cliccare qui per visualizzare il depliant.

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Torrefazione Leprato – Coffee roasters and grinders
TORREFAZIONE LEPRATO  have been hand-roasting and grinding coffee beans since 1938. Their blends have always been noted for their taste and quality. Torrefazione are the only coffee roasters in the province of Alessandria to have been awarded a trademark of quality by the Piedmont Region. Today, they have added with great success to their various blends a line in capsules and pods. Their blends contain twelve different types of coffee beans and are carefully selected from the best plantations around the world.

Their blends contain twelve different types of coffee beans and are carefully selected from the best plantations around the world.

Via Amendola, 8 - Tel 0144/356878

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Traditional salami Filletto Baciato and other local varieties of salami.
Today, Ponzone, a small hilltop town near Acqui Terme, still maintains many traditions of the past. The drying of chestnuts and the production its specialty salami – Filletto Baciato- are to name a few. Filletto Baciato is a raw salami and was first created by  butcher Romeo Malo'   in the 1800s. It consists of a pork fillet first soaked in brine and then covered by a salami filling and stuffed into a natural casing and left age for three to six months.

The salami is served thinly sliced. Throughout Acqui Terme and its neighbouring towns many small butchers produce both raw and cooked salamis, hams, black puddings, sausages and various other traditional delicatessen meats.

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Formaggetta – goat’s milk cheese.
Formaggetta is the only traditional Italian cheese made of 100% goat's milk. It is produced and packaged by many small hillside farms which pride themselves in maintaining tradition to produce a top-quality product. The wild flowers and grasses found in the pastures where the goat’s are grazed, give the cheese its distinct flavour. It is excellent both eaten freshly made or aged. Formaggetta seems to be the only Italian cheese able to rival, if not better, the mythical French cheese producers.

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Hazelnuts, chestnuts, biscuits, cakes and sweets.
The numerous villages and towns near Acqui continue the centuries’ old tradition of producing cakes and biscuits in their artisan bakeries and kitchens. Many recipes make use of two very common local ingredients: hazelnuts, grown mainly on the slopes of the Bormida Valley, and chestnuts, found in the woods and forests bordering Liguria.

Specialties include amaretti (macaroons), soft and hard nougat, lingua di suocera (crisp savoury flatbread), Baci di Dama (chocolate filled hazelnut biscuits), Brut e Buon (hazelnut meringue biscuits) and at Easter time, a light and flavoursome chestnut cake baked following a traditional recipe handed down from generation to generation. Increasingly rare and sought after are the ‘marroni’, a type of chestnut used to create the delicacy marrons glacès (glazed chestnuts). An excellent artisan sweet maker and baker is found in Visone, its owner, Paul Verdese, has been creating his famous nougats for more than fifty years. His creations include chocolate nougat and nougat Easter eggs. Excellent too are his amaretti (macarrons).

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Farinata
Farinata, one of Sothern Piedmont’s most popular dishes, can be found on the menu at many of the restaurants and eateries in Acqui Terme. This sort of flat chickpea polenta is cooked in a hand-hammered copper tray and baked in the oven at a high temperature until it is a vibrant yellow colour.

Its origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages where it was first eaten in and around Genoa. With its close proximity to Genoa, the dish soon spread to the south of Piedmont. Legend has it that the first farinata ever made was in 1284 and happened by accident. On their return, after defeating their rivals Pisa in the battle of Meloria, the ships of the Maritime Republic of Genoa found themselves in the midst of a violent storm. In the violence of the storm, several barrels of oil and sacks of chickpeas were knocked over and mixed together with salt-sea water. As provisions were limited, the dregs were recovered, dried in the sun and then served to the sailors. Returning to land, the Genoese improved on the recipe and the dish was cooked in the oven. The results were well liked, and to mock defeated Pisa the dish was named "the Gold of Pisa." Whether the legend is true or not, farinata, today, is a popular and sought after local dish.

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Meat
Numerous hillside farms raise indigenous Piedmont cattle and the best specimens are fattened up to be sold or shown in the livestock fairs of Toleto, Cassinelle and Montechiaro d’Acqui. Montechiaro d’Acqui is home to an excellent traditional butcher and a territorial trademark of quality to recognize a product raised and killed in a determined area is under consideration. Sheep and goat farming is also widespread with local butchers selling various cuts of lamb and goat’s meat especially at Easter when lamb is traditionally eaten.

The milk, fragrant of wild grasses, fed to the animals gives the meat its delicate flavour. Rabbits, chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys and capons are also traditionally kept and bred.

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Game
The Apennines, a vast mountainous area on the Piedmont/Liguria border is covered by a thick hardwood forest. The area contains several hunting grounds and reserves preserved for wildlife breeding and repopulation. Game is plentiful here, with hares, pheasants, partridges, woodcock, deer and wild boars numbering considerably. During autumn and winter many local eateries and restaurants feature game on their menus.

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Honey
Passionate beekeepers keep traditional methods of honey production alive. The beekeepers employ both stable and nomadic, where hives are moved to places where flowers are the most prolific, beekeeping practices. Classic single variety honeys such as acacia and chestnut are produced as is an interesting mid-mountain wildflower honey.

... AND LOCAL ARTISANS 

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Patricola Brothers – Oboe and Clarinet makers.

The Patricola brothers craft their instruments from top-quality Grenadilla Wood and Rosewood. The wood is aged for a period of 11-13 years which considerably reduces the possibility of the instrument cracking. Their built-to-last instruments are excellent for learning on, for playing in band or an orchestra, chamber music and jazz. These instruments make playing both a pleasure and fun.
Link: http://www.patricola.com

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Mario Grimaldi – Maker of fine stinged instruments.
"I like to work, as much as possible, with traditional manual tools and limit the use of equipment with an electric motor to a minimum. I think the use of hand tools creates a closer relationship with the wood maintaining its natural character ..."
Link: http://www.mariogrimaldi.it/

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Artisan Church Organ Factory - owned and operated by Sergio Castegnaro
The only organ makers in the province of Alessandria, opened their doors in the Piedmont town of Tortona in 2004. The factory embodies the model of a small family-run artisan business which successfully operates on a national scale in the construction, maintenance and restoration of pipe organs.
Link: http://www.fabbricaorgani.it