The Merenda Sinoira is a traditional Piedmontese meal, similar to an aperitif, but with a very different cultural and historical importance. Before brunch and aperitifs began to mark the times of society and, long before meals became an occasion for meeting rather than a nutritional need, the concept of aperitif-dinner already existed. To understand what the Merenda Sinoira is, it is necessary to start from the context in which it was born. Piedmont, first of all: not the Turin area of the castles and city streets, the Savoy family or the salons in the center, but the one where the countryside dominates and where time is marked by bells and work. To understand everything, we need to imagine a peasant society, a world without electricity, a poor Italy and a Piedmont in which the flask of wine and a piece of bread represent the prime mover of social aggregation.


The recovered concept of Merenda Sinoira today is a cultural pride steeped in dialect and nostalgia. Inevitably, however, it is a reinterpretation, a derivative that starts from 3 cornerstones of tradition:

  1. The apparent frugality, the absence of overly elaborate dishes, with tables set in a simple way;
  2. The time, which must place the appointment in the late afternoon;
  3.  Territoriality, as an indispensable identity mark.


The snack that fades into dinner becomes a real substitute for the dinner itself, of which it occupies the temporal and functional perimeter. Today Merenda Sinoira essentially means being together from afternoon to evening, extending what would be the limited time of a meal, but with the advantage of not having to finish in the small hours. All, as a century before, frugal and substantial at the same time. Appetite is stimulated first, it is then satisfied, prolonging the presence at the table to wash it down with a good wine and lots of words.


It starts with cured meats: artisan salami, bacon in Barolo, baked ham and country-style lard. Frugal and substantial? We then move on to cheeses, but all typically local: Raschera, Bra tenero, Toma di Langa and, why not, a touch of class with a Castelmagno accompanied by honey or Cugnà. La Cugnà is another name that comes from the past: wine must, together with hazelnuts, apples, pears and a great variety of additional ingredients, to create a sort of jam with a unique and perfect taste to accompany cheeses of particular character.

Confirming the fact that there is more historical culture in one dish than in a thousand books, the menu continues with the inevitable green anchovies. It is not surprising that anchovies are included in a typical Piedmontese menu, because in the distant past, in fact, the craft of the Anciuè (coming mainly from Val Maira in the Cuneo area) made it possible to round up thanks to long trips to France or to Liguria to bring salted anchovies to the typical land of bagna cauda (of which anchovies are a fundamental ingredient).

Behind the recovery of the Sinoira snack there is something more than the recovery of an ancient habit. The simplicity of the food, the slowness of the meal and the convivial nature of the encounter lead to a different way of approaching food. It is no coincidence that the name has remained that of its original language: Piedmontese. In fact, the name contains an era, a culture. In the name there is the scent of the summer fields, the sensation of the air at sunset on the skin, the mood of fatigue, the warmth of the family, the thirst that widens the throat, the echo of valleys isolated from the world, dialects of closed communities, sermons from parish priests in black robes, chatter of taverns, essences of courtyard ingredients. If food is culture and if culture is history, the Merenda Sinoira is an aperitif enriched with historical intelligence. Which makes everything more authentic and true, tastier and wiser, because it reminds every bite that the concept of eating has not been the same in every place, in every age and in every circumstance.


Throughout Piedmont it is possible to savor the traditional Sinoira snack. Many clubs and restaurants in the Piedmont area offer it to their guests.

A unique moment of the day, full of flavors and rich in history. At Alagna Mountain Resort & SPA, for example, from 17:00 to 21:00 at the Bierstube of the structure it is possible to get into the real life of the typical Sinoira snack. It provides a daily theme around which the gastronomic offer develops, in this way the buffet is never static: guests will always find new and captivating proposals, always keeping the focus on the local product and the enhancement of territoriality. Piedmont it is possible to taste the traditional Sinoira snack. Many clubs and restaurants in the Piedmont area offer it to their guests.

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