In Langhe the Christmas mood timidly makes its way among the people already from mid-November with the half excuse of “getting ready in time”, which then again is nothing but a fearless wait for the most beloved holiday of the year.
It is not the right place to be for the Grinch of the world: we start with the decorations in every street of every town, we continue with the first markets and events that then become the regular appointment of each weekend until the end of December.
The initial fear towards the first cold is fought with courage thanks to the traditional hot spicy drinks – mulled wine and hot chocolate – and to the many other symbolic elements of winter in Langhe.
In short, when the roasted chestnuts start to scent the streets, when hidden nativity scenes pop out everywhere and the Christmas choirs are the background of the weekends you can be sure that Christmas is coming. And with it – hopefully – also the first snowfalls.
Between food and entertainment
Christmas in Langhe
Customs and folklore of the holiday season in these hills
Us langhetti are traditionalist people, made up of rituals and recipes that we jealously guard, inherited from our grandparents and handed down to our grandchildren.
Even if some symbols of our culture originate from elsewhere we have the ability to take a tradition and make it our own, adding elements of the strongly peasant nature that characterizes us.
If in other places folklore is gradually being lost, in these hills the rites of the past echo strongly: in particular at Christmas, a time for family, games and delicious food.
The time in which culinary ingredients change function and pasta and beans become game tokens for bingo, during which invariably the jolly uncle says "ambo" at the first number picked, and no one laughs.
The days with the aroma of dried mandarin on the putagè. The same days made of dried fruit at the end of a meal, roasted chestnuts, cheeses and cugnà.
The days of the grandmother hand-made ravioli, which are just too good and leave no room for Brasato, which in any case makes an excellent leftover.
The Christmas wines
Being the Langhe, it is also the time for the good bottles, the ones we were waiting to open all year long and which will now be uncorked in a crescendo of intensity and aging during lunch or dinner on the 25th.
Thus, starting with the most delicate appetizers such as vitello tonnato, we start with fresh whites such as Chardonnay and Favorita.
With pasta it's Barbera's turn, whose acidity goes perfectly with the fat of the roast sauce.
The meat dishes require more complexity, so we move on to Nebbiolo grapes, with Barolo and Barbaresco, and then close the meal with the final toast of panettone and Moscato.
Lunches and dinners at home
The traditional dishes, to prepare and taste together
We’ve seen what are the historical Christmas elements that have always animated these hills in the months of November and December, but now let’s get practical.
If you are one of those who always chooses a community meal at home rather than to celebrate at the restaurant, served and revered by the waiters, you are also aware of the work that awaits you: the festive dishes are always special, and require more effort than the preparations of everyday.
Over the years we’ve suggested complete menus several times, complete with wine pairings as well: you can choose between classic selections and alternative Christmas menus… we guided you step by step with our favorite recipes to make your choice easier.
But remember to not overdo it: the enthusiasm for cooking for the whole family is unparalleled, but you can always share the work with the other partecipants so that everyone focuses on one dish. And if one just doesn’t have the talent for cooking, he can always take care of washing dishes at the end of the meal :-)
— Lequio Berria —
— Monticello d'Alba —
— Serralunga d'Alba —
— Magliano Alfieri —
Tasting Menu — 45€
— Monteu Roero —
Tasting Menu — 30€
Activities for the winter
Hide from the cold and discover the territory!
In summer and during the Truffle Fair the Langhe fill up with tourists from all over, while the winter season is often underestimated.
Big mistake: the hills and the vineyards gain even more charm, especially with the first snowfalls, and for those who are sensitive to the cold weather there is no shortage of indoor activities!
When the hills turn white with the first snowfalls, or even only in the gray rainy days, there is nothing better than to soak in a hot tub with a panoramic view or enjoy a relaxing massage to loosen the muscles affected by the cold.
The Langhe offer various proposals in terms of Spa, for all price ranges.
Hiding in a museum when it’s sunny and warm outside sounds like a bad choice to anyone, but finding shelter from the cold and at the same time gaining artistic knowledge is a “win-win” you shouldn’t miss.
Alba Sotterranea, the Eusebio Museum, Fondazione Ferrero… already in Alba the proposals are varied: discover all the Langhe museums and make the most of a winter day.
These lands, a World Heritage Site, are famous for their medieval villages perched on the hills, which 9 out of 10 times have an impressive castle.
Some of these are private and closed to the public, admirable only externally, while others have been restored to their former glory with stylish furniture and interactive tours.
One of the most recognized quality of the Langhe is certainly the oenological vocation, with lands that give life to some of the most renowned wines in the world.
Wine production is a predominant business, which sees wineries of all beliefs and dimensions in almost all the towns of the area.
Most producers offer various types of visits, instructive and stimulating meetings, perfect for a rainy day.
The places you must visit
Stay warm and dry and discover many cultural and artistic aspects. The guided tours are really interesting: try them!
— Corneliano d'Alba —
— Serralunga d'Alba —
— Magliano Alfieri —
— Cisterna d'Asti —
— Verduno —
— Olmo Gentile —
The producers you mustn't miss
"Wineries open their doors" allows you to enter the life of the producers.
The week before Christmas is always rather hectic: the last working sprints, the expense for the most anticipated dinners and lunches, the Christmas presents.
To cut daily stress, visit a winery and enjoy the moment while also finding gifts!
Discover the work of those who really produce wine, have a chat in absolute relaxation, taste the best wines of the Langhe and, before returning home, buy the wines you liked at unbeatable prices: you can bring them to the table during meals or put them under the tree for your loved ones.
How does “Wineries open their doors” work
There are different types of reception, some more intimate and friendly, others more formal and detached.
Small producers tend to be the ones most willing to open up and share the secrets of their work, but they are also the most complicated to reach as they are often not very structured for visits.
With “Wineries open their doors” you have the opportunity to discover genuine, smaller and less publicized realities, which you might not discover otherwise.
You can choose among the participating producers the one that most intrigues you and that is closest to your taste and get in direct contact with him to establish a date of visit: at the end of the tour you can taste his wines paired with various local gastronomic proposals!
Una cantina dalla storia secolare con 50 ettari di vigna suddivisi in 4 cascine, in cui protagonista è la tradizione monferrina
Prenotando la tua degustazione scoprirai la storia del nostro territorio e della nostra famiglia. Risponderemo alle tue curiosità e ti mostreremo tutte le fasi di produzione del vino
Una piccola azienda a conduzione familiare sulle colline di Dogliani dove incontrare il produttore e degustare ottimi vini. È possibile l'acquisto diretto in Cantina
L'azienda Francesco Rosso nasce con la connotazione attuale nel 2001, ma alle sue spalle ha una storia di persone strettamente legate a questo territorio ed alla viticoltura
Where to sleep
Also with regard to the receptive structures the Langhe offer a wide choice of proposals, different for style, offer and price. Choose the one that’s right for you!
One of the most unique experiences that our territory can offer
We have seen that the options for rainy days are not lacking, but do n’t think that in winter we must necessarily stay indoors.
Find some warm clothes and get ready to delve into the woods and paths of Langhe and Roero: go for a truffle hunt!
Don’t worry, the initial cold will be quickly forgotten given the dynamism of the search, in which you and the trifulau will have to keep up with the tabui (dog).
The tabui, running arount the trees and sniffing the ground, will look for traces of the underground fungus and will begin to dig: you will be able to experience first-hand the emotion you feel when, from a small pile of mud, the precious truffle comes out.
And if at the end of the activity you don’t want to go home empty handed you can always choose to buy the truffles found directly from the trifulau!
Keep in mind!
Don't trust those who tell you that they will take you on a "real" truffle hunt, meaning non-simulated. The paths and places of the search are secret jealously guarded by each trifulau, and it is unlikely that they will be willing to "sell them" to the first stranger.
Are you looking for the perfect gift for someone special? Give a piece of Langa!
The Christmas period is magical, but it is also made of important choices, which are not just about where to eat, where to stay or how to spend your free time.
The gifts you choose for your loved ones have a value and remain for a long time – and I do not mean an economic value, but sentimental: through your choice you prove to know the other person, to have his interests at heart.
For this reason, rather than buying something material it can be interesting to make a gift that is a little different, like something handmade, an experience to live together, a nice bottle (a brilliant idea, here we explain why).
The LoveLanghe team has done a lot to help you: starting from our guide on how to choose the right wine based on the character, passing through the Christmas bundles that you can buy on ShopLanghe up to the precious LangheBox.
All you have to do is write a nice list of all the people you’re getting gifts for and focus on finding the right one!