It's warming up !

The warmer it gets there are more vegetables available for Chiaro to choose from at our local Neive market every Wednesday.
Soon the famous Roero strawberries from Canale will be in season.

With the warmer temps puppy Cotta's balcony, just off the kitchen, is open for the season along with the first
flowers "Primuli" of the season.

On March 17 Italy celebrated it's sesquicentennial, so in the true Italian spirit the local police along with the
carabinieri (State police) were showing some of the local medal winning wines at the weekly market.
As americans we were curious how big or small of a celebration this would be. Turns out up here in
Piemonte not a lot of fuss. We saw a few flags but no local parades, however there was a lot going on in
Torino (45 min. from here). Most Italians, as we do, think of the Italian culture as very old. Most of our
village and home was built before 1280, so the idea of throwing a giant party for its 150th unification
anniversary seems a little over blown. They (Italians) didn't even get a bridge holiday, so it was back to
school and work on friday.

2011 Travel Season Begins

The 2011 travel season has begun, our first group arrived on the 11th of March and we were very worried.
Just a few days earlier it had snowed, but we lucked out as the weather cleared up just in time.
Leslie is explaining vineyard management to a few folks from the group.

After a few days in Barbaresco and Barolo we headed up to Lake Como and stayed in Bellagio, which was just
opening up for the season. Hard to believe these quiet streets will be jam-packed in a few weeks, by mid April
this photo will be impossible.

While Leslie and the group took the ferry to Varenna for lunch, I stayed back to gas up the van and check-
out a pizzeria we have yet to try, verdict: pizza was good, wine list not good, wine service cute/good, the
vino popolare (house wine) was served old-style in a Brocca.

I grabbed a cappuccino at the gas station and once again was reminded how serious Italy takes its coffee.

After dropping folks off at Malpensa airport, we stopped by the wine region Franciacorta to scope out some wineries
and restaurants for future trips when we stumbled on a cool wine shop specializing in bubbles! the sub zones
with-in the region were nicely displayed along with the producers. Sipping bubbles while shopping is mandatory,
wiener dog optional.