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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Memories: One Evening, Ten Favorite Things



Writing the previous post about Carmine Superiore has made me recall the rest of that day. A nice memory, of which sadly I don't have many photos, but the evening, and now this post, contain ten of my favorite things, and I'll share them with you now.

So... after hiking down from Carmine Superiore with Laura and the seminary students we all waited for the public bus on the main street, just as described in the directions. When they departed the bus in Verbania I could have remained on all the way back to Stresa, however, I had made plans to meet with Giuseppe in Intra, Verbania, to spend the evening there, as it was a special night when an event was planned in Piazza Ranzoni, una serata di Prosecco, a Prosecco tasting event, and maybe I've mentioned before, that I LOVE Prosecco .

I arrived at Intra perfectly at aperitivo time and earlier than Giuseppe. Even though I had the panini and Fresia d'Asi for lunch on the mountain I was ready for something else. I waited at a table at Bar Milano in the piazza and I ordered a Spritz. They were getting ready for the tasting event at this time... people scurried around putting tables together and the band was setting up their equipment, testing the sound system every now and then. Across the road from the piazza is the lake, and so it is open to the water on one side and surrounded by colorful, Liberty-style buildings and flower-draped balconies on all the others. I watched all this and I watched some people in a window across the way who were maybe watching me watching them.



Giuseppe brought me fresh clothes, and I changed before we walked through a short alley on one side of the piazza, to Ristorante il Castello. Of all the restaurants I've eaten in around here this may be my favorite. I love it for the way it looks from outside, hidden under and behind an overgrown arbor of vines and flowers. I love its location, tucked away in a quiet, isolated courtyard off the main street. I love the old wooden tables both inside and out, the warm character, the incredible selection of hundreds of local wines, and the delicious food. We sat inside Castello, drank a glass of Nebbiolo and nibbled a small plate of stuzzichini, the little snacks often offered free with a drink at aperitivo time, and we lingered a bit until it was time for the Prosecco tasting to begin. Yes, I'd already had the Fresia d'Asi, the Spritz, and the wine, but now it was time to buy our tickets to try five different glasses of Prosecco.



And so we did. We sat at one of those tables outside, listening to the band play some classic rock while the sun set, late as it does in Northern Italy in the summer. When we wanted to we'd walk back to the serving table for the next glass of Prosecco. Another ticket supplied us with a platter of artisian cheeses and meats, more than enough to make a small dinner with.

And so I passed the rest of the evening in this way. A long day with two very special activities, four different drinks, five types of Prosecco, and ten favorite things that added up to one very beautiful memory.



Always keep your eyes open for special events such as this. They tend to be inexpensive, delicious, and a fun way to sample a real taste of food and culture and to make your own memories.

That's why I've called this new category memories. I didn't take a lot of photos of this lovely evening... but it's okay, memories are sometimes better than photos, and writing the stories here sets off an entire slideshow of images in my mind.

The Osteria del Castello website: http://www.osteriacastello.com/

My first visit to Castello


Ciao... I think they are watching me watch them.

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