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July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July.

Last night, our last in the wine country, we decided to try a little local trattoria, perched on the main road in Serralunga. We parked the car and walked over to a table in front of the restaurant, right on the street. A girl, seated with her boyfriend at another table, came over to help us with the language. She said the chef, an 85 year old woman, makes home-made regional dishes, So, she called the woman over and proceeded to order. Little did we know that she ordered “the works.” She took off on a motorcycle with her boyfriend and we awaited our dinner while sipping a nice bottle of Nebbiola d.Alba. Even the tiniest restaurants have good wine lists -- Barolo was even on this list.

First the antipasti were delivered, consisting of a mound of salami and prosciutto crudo. Then came a plate of veal in tuna sauce that was absolutely delicious.

After that a bowl of anchovies in olive oil and herbs was set before us.

We were starting to get worried. As we dipped our bread in the olive oil, the waiter arrived with a plate of what looked like steak tartare, but which was actually raw ground beef with sliced lemons and parmesan.

 We grabbed our dictionary to see how to say “No More.: But before we could get that out, waiter put down a huge plate of tiny ravioli plin and a dish of zucchini with hard boiled eggs. We told him: “No piu.” In the end, most of the dinner was good.

This morning, neither we nor the heavens (a light rain covered the Serralunga countryside) were happy to say our goodbyes to the Paolo Manzone Vineyard, Elisa, its manager and ever smiling host, or two fellow guests we greatly enjoyed visiting with these past couple of days….Silvester and Lucja Grabowiec from Ontario Canada. But, off we drove to our next destination, Turino.

The drive was only an hour and a half, but we admit, there was a bit of trepidation when we approached Turino, since those scratches on our side view mirrors would likely be costly. And, while we had gotten an estimate from a Peugeot dealer of 150 EU to replace the mirrors, our limited language skills enhanced our sense of vulnerability when negotiating the damages.

As a last ditch effort to cover all bases, Dick called American Express to see if our Platinum Card might have some supplementary insurance coverage. They happily the said YES! So, the slightly acidic taste in our mouths about driving through the all too narrow streets of Castigliano Falletto quickly disappeared and our rental return lacked virtually all potential drama.

We caught a taxi to our downtown hotel, Alpi Resort. True to the reputation of Italian city driving, our taxi driver raised the hair on the backs of our necks when driving like a skilled lunatic through the busy, competitive streets of Turino. The Hotel Alpi Resort is not a typical hotel with curbside reception counters. No, instead, there is a little door bell along the sidewalk that calls up to the proprietors. They instructed us to come to the third floor. Inside this little alleyway, was a door and an elevator that looked like one out of the movies. We have seen such “retrofitted” elevators before. Yes, in Florence four years ago the proprietors squeezed an elevator into a centuries old building. This one was smaller and even more strangely romantic with a double wood door inside a steel one and hardly space for two people. It delivered us up those three flights and the unusual entrance quickly became welcoming.

From our room we can see the River Po that is at the end of the block. It brings to mind our vet, Luke DelPo (meaning “from Po” in Italian).

Minutes after we got settled in our room, we headed off by taxi to Eataly. We have been told that Turino and the viscinty is the home of the “slow food” movement begun twenty years ago in response to the first MacDonald’s hamburger joint opened near the Spanish Steps in Rome. So we quickly sat down to eat slowly.

Eataly is a fascinating slow food superstore which has counters dedicated to various Italian dining traditions. There’s a pasta counter, a fish and seafood counter where you select from every imaginable type of fish on ice and they prepare it for you. Then there is a antipasti counter that prepares fresh slices of Parma hams and prosciutto accompanied with hundreds of options for cheese. There is a pizza counter with every flat bread wish you every dreamed about. And, of course, all counters serve a nice selection of local wines by the glass or the bottle. In an act of self restraint, we opted to share a bowl of pesto pasta accompanied with a glass of Roero Arneis white.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the couple we struck up a conversation with next to us was from Holland. Those Dutch are everywhere and never deny Dick’s eternal quest to make new buddies.

Tonight, we walk down to the old city square a couple of blocks away and look for the next reportable adventure. Arrivederci.

Reader Comments (2)

Gwen, Your jacket is just perfect!!!! It looks great on you and I am sure it has come in handy. What a find!!! Your pics are really neat and scenes are wonderful.
Happy cruise to come!!
Love, Lila and Bob

July 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLila and Bob

Veal Tunatto is a favorite dish of mine. I'm glad you got to try it there. Hard to find on US Italian menus, outside of NYC.

Pics are great. Look forward to hearing more tales upon your return

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike DeGiorgi

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