After a great trip doing a circuit of Gran Paradiso this year.............a touring week round some of the wonderful options in Piedmont and Liguria on our way back home to the Mercantour.
Sharing here - by request - not to play the role of "know it alls" but to share some of the fun we had, for future travellers.
Turin drop off - leaving our guests at Turin airport we were delighted to, once again, be welcomed by Natalina and Gianni in Mazze - Casa Moretto. The B&B is just about 40 minutes from the airport - pick ups can be arranged - and is comfortable, great breakfast PLUS a sparkling pool!! Good eating can be found at Calu in Caluso just up the road - or if you don't want to drive, the local bar does good cheap pasta, or the aptly named "Big Piggy Pig" platter - just smile and dive in the door.
Linger in the Langhe - such a wonderful area, imagine a miniature Tuscany perhaps, the cascina sant eufemia - like returning home - a fun mix of speaking different languages, and scoffing garlic rich bagna cauda - thanks Chiara! You would have to be tired of life not to admire the splendours of Alba, Asti, Barolo......never mind the trough!! The Vin Cafe in Alba, recommended, and the quaint (feels like being in a greek taverna) Osteria dei Catari in Monforte d'Alba...being some of this year's highlights. Thanks to Lindsay and Helen for introducing us to, the name at least, of the Agriturismo Iride, where you can stay or just pop in for lunch with Isaia, a young and creative chef, with bags of potential.
Ye and Ne - Tempted by the Guardian's feature and a veggie tasting menu - yippee!, we headed off to Ne, the charms of Castagnola64 - with Lu and Leo - although I did think Mel was really going to let rip as we edged up a narrow single track road in the minibus!, and the promise of La Brinca. No hollow promise here - a wonderful, heritage rich, hearty lunch with wine matching - thanks so much to all the family. We admired the capacity* of our fellow diners - and then slowly slowly walked the 2kms up the hill.
For things to eyeball - the back country is very pretty, but I am always reminded that I do not care for the coastal strip - neither in France, nor in Italy. For sure there is wonderful architecture and stacks of history, but all crammed into a narrow band of land - over populated with road and rail links, and now blighted with cattle truck cruise ships. Portofino? - for long a "wish to see" - no chance to get near it!!
Back now to well cared for, four legged friends.....and getting into the final assault on the pesky house.
If you need to escape for the festive season - we are here!!
* Even Mr Sanders would have struggled - believe me!!
Accentless - I'm afraid!!
Image - Gran Paradiso refuge