Sunday, June 7, 2009

Piemonte, Wine and More

This was 2 weekends ago. My uncle R who lives in Malaysia was in England for business and decided to come visit us. Let's see, we started out Friday evening with aperitivo, just to give him a taste of the Milan nightlife. Then Saturday morning we drove to the Piemonte region, famous for wine, truffles (not the chocolate kind), hazelnuts and chocolate. It's where the Ferror Rocher factory is, home of Nutella and other chocolate goodies. We visitied Asti, then had a big lunch - it stretched out 3 hours long and it sure was good.

Then we went on to visit some other hill top towns, drinking more wine along the way. This area is all rolling hills and wineyards; very much like Tuscany except this is much closer to Milan. We decided the wine we had at lunch was really good so we called the restaurant who gave us the number to the winemaker. Called him, and he said to come on over and he'll sell to us direct. He is one of many small winemakers in the country and the setting is just his family home; nothing fancy, just a farmhouse. Nothing like visiting the wineries in Napa, that's for sure. This guy talks our ear off for a good 1/2 hour, maybe more.

Next stop, another small hill-top town for a wine festival that we saw on a flyer earlier that day. Turns out it's a really small and very hometown festival. There are about 20 stands and mostly locals eating and drinking. We find out it's 3 euros to buy a glass that comes with a holder so you can wear it around your neck as you walk from stand to stand. With the glass, it's all the wine tasting and drinking you want for the night. Wow. Unfortunately, we were pretty wine-d out from the day and one of us had to drive. We still drank a little and bought some of the food that they were cooking up.

Sunday, our friend Dario decides to join us and proposes that we go to Lugano in Switzerland. Ok, I've never been! We get there in about 1hour in his super-fast BMW 330d. There were stretches where we were going over 210km/h (130mi/h) and you couldn't even feel it. We walked visited the lakeside town - nice, clean, but nothing special - and marveled at some nice cars at a car show that was going on. Then we headed back over the border to the town of Como on where else, Lake Como. It was also my first time there and it's a pretty town. Definitely worth a visit. On our way out some boat tour guys were yelling, "last-tour-of-the-day for 5 euro". So we hop on a boat and saw some of the beautiful villas on the lake.

Ok, by now the sun is going down so we head home, but the day is not over yet. We had planned to cook dinner for everyone at our place. Appetizer, pasta, and then I grilled some fantastic steak fillets on a stove top grill pan. It was melt-in-the-mouth tender. My uncle agreed the meat here is really something. Yes, I will cook steak for you when you come visit! Wine, dessert and limoncello... it was 1am when I went to bed.

What a fun weekend. I hope more people will come visit!


Rowena... said...

Reading this post, I feel compelled to tell you about this event in Aosta that happens on or around August 14th each year. The Quart Formage Festival was on my to-go list but we can't make it this year. Maybe the next, because I want one of these cheese board/wine glass holder thingies with my own cheese knife!

leng said...

Thanks, Rowena! I've already penciled it in for this August. I can't wait; the cheeseboard/wine holder thingy is awesome!

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