Thursday, October 20, 2011

dispatch from Italy

For the last day and a half I've felt like I was living in a movie. We are visiting our friends Yuri and Vera, who are semi-retired, and five years ago bought a vineyard here in the Piedmont region. There is a vast sprawling complex of very old buildings and many acres of grapevines. At dinner last night were an assortment of people who have led adventurous lives and speak many languages. Much good food and wine and wide-ranging conversations.

the house

the vineyards

Today we went to Ovada for lunch. It is the end of porcini season and the beginning of truffle season. The appertivo was a poached egg with a bright orange yolk, covered with a creamy sauce made from sheeps milk cheese, and white truffles shaved before out eyes by our waiter. The primi was first a hand-made pasta with fresh porcini, then pasta with truffles (all fresh of course, but I am over-using the word). By then I was full and happy, but it is Italy, and you must have a secondi. I broke the rules and had minestrone, but others had suckling pig and wild boar stew.  I did find room for green apple and raspberry sorbet for my dolce.

the restaurant


Then we went high into the hills to a dairy for milk and cheese. After such a lunch, dinner was simple and satisfying: fruit, cheese and bread by the fire.

The restaurant where we had lunch is run by two brothers, which reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Big Night, about two brothers from Italy who open a restaurant in New Jersey in the 1950's.

More soon.



  1. It sounds like you're having fun. Keep him up!

  2. Hello Jen:
    Oh how lovely this all sounds and looks to be. The situation of your friends' house looks positively idyllic and what fun to have so many interesting people gathered for food, good wine and stimulating conversation. Nothing could be better as far as we are concerned.

    After so much distress with the shop and the weather you must be really enjoying this welcome break. We do hope so and cannot wait to hear more!

  3. Oh, Jen... Even the cows are lovely! Enjoy!Enjoy!

  4. I've just returned from Liguria and you have me wanting to visit the Piedmont region. Oh, Big Night. Love that movie. I just recently watched it, again.

  5. Jen,

    What a wonderful adventure! I'm completely jealous!! Looks fantastic - enjoy! =)

  6. i'm so glad you are having such a proper italian stay. it sounds a bit to me like the bertolucci film 'stealing beauty' which i just watched last week for the gazillionth time.

  7. I had a chance to go to San Francisco in 2005, and enjoyed Italian food in "Michelangelo".
    I'll never forget the taste of Italian food.
    By the way, you'd conquered your fright of flight, bravo!

  8. Beautiful pictures!! You must be having an awesome time!

  9. oh dear, i'm getting serious wanderlust here... i'm so glad you're enjoying your trip, i know you had a bit of trepidation about it... now the question is, will you want to return?