Rifugio Rumor Campomolon, ArsieroLast weekend I took a quick trip over to Italy to see my grandson christened. I can’t believe that after the hottest August on record for years in Folgaria I arrive and the heavens opened! Not only that it didn’t stop for two days but thank goodness it cleared for the christening.

As always it’s the perfect time to catch up with my best friends in Italy, we’re all really bad at keeping in touch, the odd Facebook comment but never lots of texts or phone calls as much as we’d like to. Nevertheless, it’s like picking up where we left off and there are certainly no breaks in the conversation as we all struggle to get a word in edgeways.

This time we organised to eat out on Saturday night, I left the choice up to them and a group of 12 of us drove across the mountain pass to Rifugio Rumor which is in Campomolon in Veneto and is at 1748m above sea level – imagine the view in the daytime?

Rifugio Rumor - Veneto

It’s a long twisty drive to get there and from Folgaria it took about half an hour, our reserved table had already been laid up, it is a rustic setting so don’t go expecting linen napkins, silver cutlery and crystal glasses, the idea of these Refuge restaurants was born years ago for people travelling from one place to another and needing a stopover, nowadays they are very popular with cyclists, motorcyclists, hikers and families too looking for a day out a little different to the usual.

Filet steak grilling in front of the fire

We chose from three starters, I chose Fettucine alle finferli (local wild mushrooms) which I forgot to photograph as they were so delicious and for main course the speciality of the house is grilled meat.

mixed grill Rifugio Rumor

Filet steak, costine (ribs) and tagliata di manzo grilled in front of the open fire, so tender it melts in your mouth. Served with potatoes and fried tomatoes. Delizioso!

bread and wine

Dessert was a plate of Salame al cioccolato and bottles of grappa were strategically placed on the table, prugna and white or Limoncello which I chose :)

Rifugio Rumor after dinner

The cost of the whole meal including alcohol was €25.00 per head and considering fillet steak was included I think it was excellent value for money.

Gianni rifugio Rumor

Our host and manager of Rifugio Rumor Gianni Marenda

If you’re ever in the Dolomites keep an eye out on your map for Rifugio as there are many dotted about and they all have good wholesome meals on offer, the views are spectacular and it’s a fabulous experience to be on top of the world enjoying a good meal.

I’m linking up with The Crazy Kitchen and her fab Foodie Foto Friday

The Crazy Kitchen

newborn baby sleepingIt’s time for another flying visit to Trentino, my favourite place in Italy as Evan is going to be christened this weekend and I am going to be there.

It’s with mixed feelings that I leave as on one hand I must leave Paul and the twins behind in the UK but on the other I shall be free to enjoy Tommy and Megan and their families without any distractions. Of course I wish I could share the lovely things I will see and do with all of my family together but needs must so excuse me whilst I get very excited all over again.

My suitcase is stashed to the hilt with toys for Gracey, presents for Evan, lots of clothes for me as I can’t make up my mind what to take and it looks like rain too but of course my few belongings will rattle around empty on my return trip on Monday.

I’m taking my camera, my video camera and my laptop with me plus my brand new G Drive slim where I have now transferred all of my iPhoto library, you know I never used to be this gadget orientated but look at me now how I move country..

The autumn is a great time for wild mushrooms in Trentino and I hope to fit in a risotto or side order of funghi. I also have a pizza high up on my list, a Crodino which you never see here, an espresso (proper one) some mountain photography if the weather plays ball and a slice of strudel. They also make a wicked Sacher torte.

Folgaria in pictures

It’s big wine season too and I shall do my best to try a Marzemino which is typical to the area of Trentino, a Pinot Grigio, a Pinot Nero and a must-have Gewurztraminer. You know when I lived out there, I did the first course on my way to being a somelier and we used to hold wine tastings for our hotel guests.

I shall be visiting the ‘kids’ in the Alpen Eghel hotel and I’ve been booked in for a manicure on Sunday morning.

folgaria night

I shall meet with my best mate and chat too much, drink too much and probably spend too much in her Benetton shop too but it’s got to be done, a fill up until next time we meet which will most likely be the wedding in March.

Don’t know if you can tell but I am really looking forward to being there and you’ll hear all about it on Tuesday, love to all and have a great weekend – I will!

I moved to Italy when I was 20 and left when I was 37 so I guess you could say I became an adult there. I am sure that many defining parts of my character where finely honed by the Italian culture and here are some of the best bits I brought back with me…

Italian Food

I learnt to cook! Not that I couldn’t cook before but I moved on from Learner to Cook. Mum is the best cook I know and my brother is a chef so the appreciation of good food runs in the family. However the Italians are very conscious of their food and adore telling you how their Mediterranean diet is the best in the world. I like that they use products that are in season and grown locally or at least Made in Italy

Italian Wine

Young people do not HAVE to get blindly drunk to enjoy a Friday night in Italy…sometimes it happens but it’s not a necessity. Enjoying good wine and spirits is a huge part of the Italian lifestyle. Alcohol costs a lot less and there are no age limits in bars but underage drinking exists on a much lower scale than here in the UK. Youngsters there don’t have to get trashed to prove they’re as big as the next guy or to be able to say they had a good night out.

Italian Art

Everywhere you go in Italy you cannot help but be in awe of your surroundings. Churches, town halls, villages with wall art and artists painting, sculpting or creating masterpieces in the village square for all to see. Every place in Italy, be it a tiny village or a city, has something beautiful to show.

Italian Fashion

Some of the greatest designers in the world are Made In Italy, every Italian is enormously proud of their standing in the world’s fashion stakes and this is so visible as everyone takes pride in what they wear and the majority look like models themselves. Makes it a damn sight harder to keep up with the Rossi’s I can tell you!

Italian Family

The Italians I had the pleasure to meet, all put family in first place. The elderly are looked after and respected by all. Italy is also VERY child friendly sometimes verging on the extreme as some parents let their children run riot in restaurants, shops and public places shrugging their shoulders as if they can’t do anything about it. ‘They’re children!’  Hell for waiters and shop owners but be rest assured any holiday in Italy with children will be delightful as you can take them everywhere you go and people will stop to praise them.

Con calma

or Take it easy… yes, there’s no rush, don’t go stressing yourself out, take your time and get it done properly. There’s always tomorrow.

Italian House rules

Whenever you wash your dishes by hand you MUST always rinse the soap off. True! You wouldn’t  dream of leaving shampoo in your hair. Money – don’t get in to debt. Pay as you go and go without if you can’t afford it. This makes for easy sleeping at night.

Italian Patriots

They all share a deep adoration for their country, after all they have got it all; sea, sun, sand, mountains, skiing, lakes, beautiful cities and beautiful people. Their summer vacations are taken within their boundaries, Sicily, Sardegna, Puglia to name a few. Ski trips to Trentino, Courmayeur or Alto Adige, Weekend trips to Florence, Venice, Pisa…I could go on forever.

The Italian language

Of course, I came away bilingual. My written Italian isn’t perfect as their grammar is unbelievably complicated but I can read and of course talk till the cows come home just don’t get me started on their politics….

photo by kerben

ideal city piero della francesca

One of my favourite paintings that I had the great fortune to see on a trip to Urbino, Italy in 1999 is The Ideal City by Piero della Francesca.

Entering the Sala degli Angeli of the Galleria Nazionale di Urbino, the painting was hanging above a beautifully sculpted fireplace and quite literally took my breath away. I stood mesmerised by it and wished I could hang the masterpiece in my front room! I could never tire of looking at the simplicity and beauty of Piero’s Ideal City  and dreaming I was there.

I love the feeling of eternity it gives and the peaceful, intelligent air surrounding the buildings that is so reassuring.

My visit to Urbino was only two years after the earthquake in the region that had had such a disatrous affect on the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi destroying the famous Giotto murals. Fortunately the Italians care so much about their history that a lot of time and money was spent on the restoration to try and save as much as they could for future generations.

If you are ever in this part of the world you must also try the local food  and wine which is out-of-this-world delicious. Truffle plays an enormous part in the local ‘cucina’ along with the national dish, pasta and their red wines that are so soft and rich they’re like an elisir of the Gods, possibly direct from the Ideal City itself!

I went on a truffle hunt that same year with a local farmer and his dogs who in actual fact looked quite scraggly and not the kind of dogs I had expected for such an expensive ingredient. However, they were extremely obedient and following the farmer’s orders smelt out some truffles for us in no time, the farmer would bark an order and the dog would stop his digging instantly salivating over the spot but leaving the truffle intact. On collection the farmer would nip a bit off with a knife and give it to the dog to thank him.

One tip the farmer gave us for fresh truffles in order to prolong their life was to keep them in uncooked rice in a clean jar with a tightly closed lid. Once the truffle has been eaten, use the rice for a truffle risotto mmmm

Ciao!