***This is part 1 of my “Everyday I’m Trufflin’” trip report detailing a recent European road trip which started in Zurich, Switzerland and ended in Piedmont, Italy***
2. British Airways Business Class San Francisco to Zurich
3. Zurich Marriott Hotel
4. Eating Zurich – Sausage, Fondue, and Christmas Markets
5. Eating Milan – Shopping, Cathedrals and Pizza
6. Eating Piedmont, Italy – Truffles, Wine, and More Truffles
7. My Thanksgiving Day Truffle Hunting Adventure in Piedmont, Italy
8. British Airways Business Class Zurich to San Francisco
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year to travel for a couple reasons. Firstly, while other holidays rotate around, there’s no guessing which days you’ll have off for Thanksgiving – it’s a 4-day weekend every single year. Secondly, while domestic travel during Thanksgiving week can be a nightmare, it’s the perfect time to travel internationally. As an added bonus, you can essentially bank on the fact that there will be a premium cabin sales each year which means that you can fly in style, most often to Europe, for a fraction of the normal price.
And that’s how this trip started – I stumbled upon a great deal for a round-trip Business Class ticket to Zurich, Switzerland for travel during Thanksgiving week. We planned to use Zurich as our base for the week, and from there, had several different options. A ski trip in the Swiss Alps? A romantic journey to Paris? Or even a return to Spain to continue the culinary adventure we had started last Thanksgiving?
After some more brainstorming, we discovered that it was truffle season in Piedmont, Italy and after using Google Maps to get our bearings, were pleasantly surprised to find that Piedmont was just a 4-hour drive from Zurich. The idea of spending the week stuffing our faces with pasta covered in freshly shaved truffles and washing it all down with delicious Italian wine made the decision a no-brainer.
Looking back, we’re incredibly happy that we made this choice, because this became one of our favorite and most memorable trips. We were joined by our close friends Rich and Meenakshi who certainly played a large part in the experience, and funnily enough, this trip coincided with the 2-year anniversary of us meeting each other at the Conrad Maldives during our honeymoon.
Anyways, let’s talk about the flights for a second. The British Airways Business Class product seems to be one of the most divisive out there – some people call it the “worst in the world”, and some seem to really like it. I’ll have a detailed review in the next post, but I’ll say this. To me, it didn’t matter that the service, food, and technology were all sub-par. Because the seat was hands-down one of the most comfortable I’ve ever come across, evidenced by the fact that I was able to sleep like a baby for a full 7-8 hours each way which simply hasn’t happened before.
As someone who values efficiency over all else, Zurich was definitely my kind of place. Sure, I don’t think I saw a single smile the entire time I was there (I’m exaggerating, but it’s kind of true), but everything ran like clockwork and that’s all that mattered. Oh, and the fondue!
This was my first time road-tripping through Europe and it was incredibly easy. My favorite part was how there were really no left lane blockers – drivers only used the left-hand lane to pass, and would promptly return to the right-hand lanes afterwards. If only we could get people to drive like that in the US! There was also incredibly beautiful scenery along the way, which made the time pass even more quickly.
We stopped in Milan for two nights on the way to Piedmont, and having visited the usual tourist destinations in Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence), Milan sure seems to be underrated. We had a great time touring the city, which included a perfect mix of sightseeing, shopping, and eating, and stayed at a hotel that was steps from the Duomo.
And finally, the highlight of the trip, Piedmont, Italy! We only had time for two nights here but could easily have stayed for a month. We stayed at the bed and breakfast located onsite at Casa Sobrero winery, and spent our time wine tasting during the day, and stuffing our faces with pasta and white truffles in the evenings. Perhaps the biggest surprise was just how reasonably priced the wine was – even at restaurants there was only a small markup, and we found great bottles of wine for 10 Euros, and even high-end bottles of Barolo for around 30+ Euros.
We even spent Thanksgiving day with an incredibly friendly Italian family, made fresh Tajarin pasta in the morning, then afterwards went into the woods to truffle hunt with the help of their dog, Bilbo. We ended up getting lucky, and were able to add fresh white truffles to our homemade pasta to cap off a one the most memorable Thanksgivings we’ve ever had, even without the turkey!