Monday, September 17, 2007

From Toscana to Lombardia

I recently undertook another pilgrimage to Italy, the land which gave us grappa. I was lucky enough to sample a few fine brews, in particular in the environs of my family's home village - as pictured. However, I also made the trip to Lombardy for the first time in maybe 20 years to sample what they had to offer.

My first day involved an early rise to catch a flight from Liverpool to Pisa and then on towards Barga. At Il Garfagnino we stopped for a nine euro lunch and a nice house vino bianco "frizzantino". Afterwards, still somewhat tired from the air travel, I still mustered a grappa chaser which was more than presentable. For more on the restaurant you can look here...

I found the service nice, fast and attentive. The food was unfussy and tasty. The surroundings were nice although the fact that I had just flown from Liverpool may have made it seem all the more glamourous. The sun was bright, we sat outside in shirt sleeves in September and all was right with the world.

Some might be a bit put off by the roadside location but, on the other hand, it made for a quick escape back up the road for a much-needed siesta.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A grappa shared

What is the point in having a grappa collection, I realised on Saturday, if you don't have anyone to share it with? My father spends so much time in Italy or, possibly, vowing never to drink the stuff again that it often rules him out. And sitting sampling a fine Brunello grappa on your own can be a sad experience.

So thank the Lord for the visit of a fellow grappa-holic at the weekend to take my collection project to a new level - namely, putting it into action. I think it stood the test pretty well. We warmed up with the Torba Rossa and laughed at its pretentious label. Did it give us peaks of pleasure? I'm not entirely sure.

Then we switched to the Sibona moscato which, despite its appearance as a hospital sample bottle, proved to go down a treat. Finally, we moved to the clear, sharp rasp of the Col d'Orcia Grappa di Brunello. By this stage, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had slammed in two goals for Inter against Empoli and I had also invented the Space Invader wine rack (patent pending).

Good grappa, good company, good times...