lundi, septembre 06, 2010

Casa Scaparone, Piedmont, Italy

Casa Scaparone

Mu reminded me that if the Summer wasn't exactly over yet, the vacations certainly were. Though that didn't stop us from grabbing the children from school just the day after it started and driving the whole family to a village near medieval Alba for a weekend of...overindulgence.

If you wish to put on 2 Kgs in 3 days, do give this a try. I've almost forgotten why we've stopped visiting agriturismos. While the French forcefeed some of their ducks, Italian agriturismos do almost the same with humans. But that I will come to later.

We had a rendez-vous with our German friends the Bs and the Ls. At Casa Scaparone in the village of the same name in the Piedmont. RB organised the whole weekend and I must say that in addition to General Manager (of a very important company) and Bartender (if you ever have the chance to check out his bar), he could have added Travel Agent to his CV.

The 2 double mattresses on which the kids slept

The divan-bed upstairs

View of the double bed from the staircase

This 500-year-old eco-friendly self-sufficient farmstead and inn is beautiful. We arrived around sunset and were brought up to our room. From the moment we stepped through the wooden door, we were charmed. Our room (N°8) had a double bed and a small bathroom with shower. Steps led to another floor above where there were 2 double mattresses and a divan-bed for 1. Plus a small toilet. All that for the 5 of us.

You can see vines all over the valley

The decoration was rustic and sometimes a little haphazard, but the mattresses were among the firmest we've ever slept on. And thus far every room I've peeped into had been decorated differently. According to the owners all construction material (metal, wood and bricks) in the farmstead is strictly recycled and from the local area. The switches in the room were rudimentary and both the central and water heating done with wood.

Magic show for the children

They have their own vines and make their own wine; They grow their own fruit and vegetables including fodder for their animals many of whom were born on the farm; They make their own cheeses, jams, preserves...There were pots of flowers and plants everywhere.

Close-up of the clutter sculpture

The children enjoyed visiting the animals on the farm and there are also a small pool and playground in the premises. There was a magic show for the children the evening of our arrival and on our last night there, the owners Battista and Alessandra gave one of their little concerts on the piano, singing Piedmontese songs with their guests. These were people who loved their land and who wanted to share with a few fortunate guests their lifestyle, the joys and suffering (in their own words) of rural life.

Finally, I have to tell you about the food and the wine. We paid for half board. Breakfast was a spread containing a few cakes, cornflakes, bread, home-made jams and canned fruit, apple juice, tea, coffee, salami...But dinner consisted of a few antipasti, 2 first courses and 2 main courses and finally dessert - if you're still alive then. The food just kept coming and if for some reason you're still hungry, you can always re-order - at no extra cost. We asked begged them to reduce the number of courses after the first dinner because we really couldn't eat that much.

The little pool

The housewines are included in the price. And you can drink as much as you want from the look of things. And we did. They were not the best that we've ever tasted, but they were quite good for the price.

Toilet next to the grocery store

The main courtyard

The food (mainly Piedmontese) was very good - believe it or not, the cook's a lovely young girl who could speak Russian among other languages. We've really enjoyed the dinners there - but as Hub said, the problem was that the fare's too hearty, un peu bourre cochon...

A salon in the main building

The dining room

We are already thinking of returning to the agriturismo before the end of the year - maybe for the truffle season in Alba. In case you do not know, Alba's the famous home of the white truffle. And Ferraro (think rocher) also has its HQ there.

Casa Scaparone
Loc. Scaparone, 8
12051 Alba
Tel : 0173 33 946

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