Wednesday, 25 June 2014

We have fallen in love...

This love story begins online.  It started when I read a blogpost about the Piedmont region CLICK HERE.    "Ancient hilltop town...amazing views in all directions...its own wine...soak up the sun while drinking a cool glass of their white wine" (Noble, R.)  
You get the picture.   
Even before we'd left Milan, I'd fallen a little bit in love with Novello.
Only one and a half hour's easy drive from Milan, Novello sounded like the perfect place for a spring weekend and a great excuse to hire another Fiat 500.  
After a speedy trip across the flat plains which surround Milan, we left the traffic and drove into the gentle hills of the Piedmont.  I think it was as we went up the hill past Barolo, where the wine has become even more famous than the town, that Stefano began to fall in love too.
And then just outside Novello we turned down a small lane, winding through the chequered slopes of vineyards, to arrive at The Stra, a small winery which is also an agriturismo.
What is an agriturismo?
It's a particularly Italian concept. In 1985 the government wanted to encourage small scale farmers to stay on the land, so they developed laws to allow them to supplement their incomes by providing holiday accommodation, or to operate small restaurants on their properties. (CLICK HERE)  In the past when we've visited an argriturismo, whether it's been for a meal or an overnight stay, the food and wine has been fantastic as the owners try to serve their own produce.

At The Stra the highlight of our stay was the wine tasting offered by our host, Maresa.  She explained that their vineyard, and winery, has been operated by her husband Roberto's family for over four generations. Although they produce several outstanding red wines, including the famous Barolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, they are proudest of their white wine, Nas-cetta, as these grapes are only grown in this small area around Novello.
To read more about the history of this rare white wine CLICK HERE.
Maresa and Roberto are wonderful hosts.  Not only did we stock the boot of our little Fiat 500 with several boxes of their wine, but we vowed to keep this love story going. 
So in August, we will return to The Stra to spend a week lazing by the pool, strolling through the vines and sampling more of the food and wine from this little corner of the Piedmont.  

That's what happens when you fall in love. You can't stop dreaming of the next time you'll meet. 

Questo è solo l'inizio di questa storia d'amore. Salute!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Another career?

No I haven't recorded my first single, nor have I become a radio announcer, but I have done something I've never done before.
Something I would NEVER have done in Australia,
but in Italy...

I was an extra!
With twenty five other foreigners, I was filmed for a new television commercial.
Doesn't sound too bad does it, but...

I had to sing,
the Italian national anthem,
in Italian,
of course.

I really can't sing,
and I really didn't know the words of their national anthem,
and I really can't speak Italian but...
I got the gig.

And for singing one word in an Italian television commercial, I really got paid.  

Perhaps a new career? Probably not.  
After glimpsing my performance Stefano suggested that I'd best stick to my plans for a degree in making gelato.

Molto fortunata!