Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Exploring Val d'Ossola Part 1

After months of planning we have finally begun our Italian food and wine pilgrimage of 2014. 

1 month of pure Italian bliss!

With my new Olympus OMD-EM1 camera and my recipe book to hand we were roaring to go! :) 

We started off on Sunday 17th August, traveling to Folkestone, euro tunnel, then to Reims. We spent the night in a small B&B just outside Reims. The village was so tranquil. It was idealic. 
We had dinner with owners in the evening and were treated to a tradional French dinner with interesting conversation!

Dad loved there antique tea chest - it was beautiful! 

We left early the following day, to begin our 9 1/2 hour dry down to Italy. 
We choose a different route to enter Italy this year - we drove through France, Germany and Switzerland and then entered Italy from the North. 
To enter Italy we travelled part of the long journey by a "ferry". It is like a very long train that the cars just jumped on, almost like the euro tunnel - called Simplon Tunnel. It's railway tunnel that takes about 20 mins to cross. 

After traveling through the mountains of Switzerland  we managed to reach a staggering and ear painful 6590ft! 

We arrived quite late in the day on the Monday - but were finally in Italy!! :)

We arrived at Agriturismo La Tensa - which is a small farm based in Domodossola, that has animals and produces it's own homemade jam using fruit from their trees. It's a tiny almost village setting where all the buildings have been restored (taking 10 years). 

The views from our accomodation are spectacular everywhere you look! 

We are staying in a 2 floor appartment which is furnished to an amazing quality. 

For dinner we dinned at the agriturismo Osteria small restaurant. 

For primi course I choose tagliatelle with green vegetables and shavings of smoked ricotta - defiantly buying some to bring home with me! :) 

Dad choose stuffed pasta with spinach with apples and hazelnut sauce. 
For mains we both choose fillet steak, cooked to perfection accompanied by sautéed rosemary and olive oil potatoes and sautéed courgette. These potatoes are the best ever! I could have eaten a massive bowl of them! 

To accompany the meal we choose a barbara d'asti (of course, we are in Piedmonte!) It was acidic and sweet, perfect to cut through the cheese and the fatty meat! 

The breakfasts and the hosts here are amazing, sharing tips on what to do in the area, to get the most out of our time here. Everything is made fresh in the morning! :)

The best item I discovered at breakfast was coffee yogurt!! It was amazing! I love coffee anything! 

On our first day, it was a bit cloudy so we decided to explore the area to gather our bearings. We visited Lake Como's sister Lake Maggiore. 

We spent the day traveling around the circumference of the lake. It is hugggeee! It's more like a sea than a lake! 

For dinner we both had the tagliatelle dish for our primi course (as it is soooo good!)
For mains, I choose the lamb cutlets in a raspberry vinegarette accompanied by sautéed courgette slices and gorgeous polenta! It's creamy, buttery and oh so heavenly! It's the Italians mashed potatoes - and of course soo much nicer than British! The lamb was cooked to perfection, it was falling off the bones! Heavenly!
Dad choose the duck breast with figs accompanied by polenta and courgettes.

For dessert I choose a custard base dessert with a blueberry compote and dad choose the classic italian bread and butter pudding made with panettone bread.

The following day we went out exploring! We spent the day visiting peidmonte largest waterfall called Cascata del Toce, which is north of Domodossola. It is ulterly spectacular! 
I used a wide angle lens, so the vast size of this waterfall is very deceiving! 

That little building on top of the waterfall is actually a massive hotel and restaurant (just to get an idea of the size of it!!)

We traveled to Devero which had another small waterfall, which was amazing! 

To get to Devero you had to travel through a very long tunnel on a very windy road, that is natural rock and unsupported. Which was quite scary! 

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