Thursday, 29 September 2016

Fanny Italia #5 - Prego!

Well, Fanny Cradock did her very best to put me off going to Italy for the very first time. Fanny warned me that I simply did not have the expertise or time to plan for my trip. She cautioned me that all my belongings would be stolen and I would be forced to eat an array of feathered friends while I was there, despite the food running the gamut of A to B. And if I thought that I could console myself with local wines and Vermouths, Fanny set my expectations to 'low' to avoid disappointment. So as I trundled my case to the airport last week, I really didn't know what would greet me as I landed in Turin.

I immediately felt 'at home' in Turin, and never felt cautious of anyone, or wary of people trying to steal my belongings. Sure, there were fairly persistent people begging, trying to sell me roses, and convincing me that if I didn't give them some money from my pocket their family would be ruined, as well as mine. Isn't that the same in any city though? I tried not to let it distract me from the beautiful buildings, stunning scenery and perfect panoramas at every turn. Perhaps Fanny wandered round with her eyebrows firmly high and her eyes firmly closed?

Admittedly I was in town for Terra Madre and the worlds largest food festival, Salone Del Gusto, so maybe the food ran artificially from A right through to Z and back again during my stay. Everywhere I looked, on every street corner, down every promenade, and up every cobbled street, were passionate people with presidia products full of colour and flavour. I've never seen anything quite like it. I'm sure Fanny would've loved the colours of nothing else, but my stomach, as well as my eyes, was treated like royalty.

I did my best to conceal the disappointment that Fanny fostered that perhaps the wine I was due to sample in Turin and Alba wouldn't be to a standard I was accustomed to. During my trip, I was fortunate enough to attend a Barbaresco tasting, where I sampled six superb wines from the same biodynamic vineyard ranging in vintage from 1984 to 2008. I've become a total Vermouth fanatic following an expertly tutored session, and many Aperitivo practice runs. I visited a couple of amazing wineries to sample Barolo in it's home, and won't look back. I had the tough task of sampling around 30 or so Barolo's over the few days I was there, just to be sure.

Italy welcomed me with open arms, despite my hesitations based solely on Fanny's experiences. I hunted for truffles in La Morra, ate grapes from the vines in Alba, danced in the squares of Turin, drank raw milk from machines in Cherasco, sat in amazement as 500 locals tucked into seven courses of snails at a festival, ate hazelnuts as they were meant to be enjoyed freshly harvested and roasted and generally drank too much espresso. Often with an added Grappa for that all important Italian authenticity. We all need a little Caffè Corretto in our lives I reckon. Perhaps if Johnnie had slipped a liquor or two in Fanny's coffee her experience would've been quite different. I loved Italy, and can't wait to return. Perhaps Fanny secretly did too, but tried her very best to keep it her little private hideaway.


  1. Barolo - yum.

    Sounds like you had an great time.

    1. The Barolo was spot on, as you would imagine! Fab time, must return to Italy!