I just returned from our trip to Italy and I must tell you it was truly delightful. This adventure found us in the region of Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Lombardia. We even took the time to spend a few days in Austria. During each trip, I have taken the time to learn about the culture, history, art, architecture, food, wine and so much more of the distinctly different regions.
The real Italy is comprised of so many influences and is nothing like what the average American perceives it to be. This incredibly diverse melding of experiences is what I find most interesting. Last year in Piemonte, I experienced the region’s truffles, porcini mushrooms, Taleggio DOP cheese and the famed Barolo and Barbaresco wines. This year I discovered the Trentino-Alto Adige region and wish I never left.
The beauty and culture of the Alto-Adige is greatly influenced by the Alps and verdant valleys on one hand and the distinct cultural differences of Italy and Germany on the other. In fact, this region was given special autonomous rights and is not governed by Rome. This region must be the ‘apple capital’ of Europe for my travels took me through apple orchard upon apple orchard and very tasty they were (I refrain from saying ‘delicious’). The Alto-Adige is famed for its many varieties of apples but also Asiago cheese, white asparagus, speck DOP, fresh water fish and game. My taste in wine has now grown to include the very special Lagrein. This wine is a red that deserves greater acclaim. It is an inky dark wine that deserves to be mentioned with Italy’s finest.
When we present the review of our trip you will see why this area of Italy is truly a gem.
I know Thanksgiving is around the corner but I have a question I wish you will write and let me know. What type of pasta do you serve on Thanksgiving? One year, a great while ago, my wife tried to serve a real ‘Pilgrim’ dinner on Thanksgiving and was instructed by all to never do that again because they wanted pasta and not butternut squash soup. It had to be an Italian Thanksgiving. So, please let me know your thoughts and what you serve.
As I mentioned, this year’s travels also took us to the Veneto region and one of the towns we visited was Verona, the home of the legendary Romeo and Juliet. A few of the people on the trip had never visited Verona and wanted to see the home of Juliet and her famed balcony. A true tourist attraction, there were people from all over the world snapping their cameras and posing for pictures where the famed couple fell in love.
As I was watching people jockey for position to create a photographic memento, I was struck with the realization that Romeo and Juliet never existed, making the house a prop to William Shakespeare’s writing ability! It was not real! Now, I do not want to rain on anybody’s parade but am I right? Countless tourists file through the home daily but the characters of Romeo and Juliet were not real.