I unexpectedly find myself in the northwest corner of Italy! When I realized that I could drive from a meeting in France to a meeting in Geneva and pass through both Piedmonte and Val d’Aosta, I was in! After driving along the spectaclar coast of France and Italy, I pointed my car inland towards the snowy peaks that I could see in the distance. The drive north of Genova was, as expected, through some very industrial surrounds but after toodling up and over a few rather tall hills, the snow topped mountains gave way to rolling valleys tucked below. After a few wrong turns, I found my great little agriturismo in the hills outside Asti. My hosts, Franco and Ester, used to own restaurants in Torino and the food alone is worth the trip! (More on my adorable hosts later!)
Spring is arriving late here in Piedmonte and the locals are all complaining about the 10 inches of snow that surprised them last week…but for me it made for some beautiful photo opportunities! I spent the day chugging up and down hills and visited towns that are familiar for reasons other than travel…Asti (of champagne fame), Barolo and Barbaresco (of wine fame) were interesting to see. Barolo was almost deserted…the castello was closed. The stores were shuttered. Just a lone backhoe fixing a hole in the main piazza. The highlight of my visit was my peek into ‘Il Museo di Cavatappi’ – the corkscrew museum! I ended my day perched way above the valley in the little town of La Morra. The views were spectacular. I had a late lunch at a little restaurant perched on the side of the hill overlooking the valley – veal with shaved white truffles and wonderful ruby red Barolo made my day complete. I chuckled when I first was seated as the restaurant was expecting a large party of 16. The first couple to arrive was a quite elderly (ok ancient) couple-beautifully dressed. I watched the little woman glide from bread plate to bread plate, pocketing her favorite type of bread. Then she turned to the table next to me..noticed the couple who had reserved that table had not yet arrived and pocketed their bread as well!! When she noticed me watching with a smile on my face, she slyly smiled and winked. Now I know how she could afford all the gold she was wearing.
We are going to start posting our favorite restaurants (and not so favorite) as we travel about Italy… So look for my upcoming posts on my culinary adventures in this region soon! Off to Val d’Aosta to drive over the Alps to Geneva!
Ci vediamo presto! Ciao!