This Italophile mixes gourmet grazing with small-group walking tours for women.
Q You’re in Italy as we speak. What’s on today’s menu?
A Today we are in Mandello del Lario, on the eastern shores of Lake Como. At a market this morning we stocked up on luscious tomatoes, peaches, cheeses, meats and new-season walnuts. They will form a base for picnic lunches over the next few days. Tonight we will meet by the lake shore for an aperitivo of prosecco, then dine at the delightful Ristorante Giardinetto. The menu, proposed by our hosts Lina and Filippo, is likely to include paccheri (delicious small pasta parcels stuffed with lake fish and garnished with fresh herbs) accompanied by a local pinot grigio. For dessert I might choose a passionfruit creme brulee with coconut gelato on the side.
Q The groups you guide stay in apartments. Who cooks and who chooses the wine when a group “eats in”?
A We choose from regional specialties and ask advice from Italian friends who love to share their knowledge and skills. For example, when I take a group of women walking in Tuscany, if it’s a cold night after a long walk, we’ll often prepare a dish of Tuscan sausages with white beans cooked in a sauce of tomato and sage and served with polenta. Our friend Pietro, from Enoteca Il Salotto [in the mediaeval village of Colle di Val D’Elsa], will recommend a wine such as the fabulous red Lamole di Lamole. After such a substantial meal, we might finish with cantucci and vin santo.
Q What do guests carry each day?
A Water, a camera and wet-weather gear, in addition to a picnic item.
Q What do you always have in your hand luggage when you fly?
A Paperwork, a change of clothing in case of delays, essential medications and valuables.
Q Best travel advice you’ve received?
A Wear my passport and credit card at the front of my body rather than in a backpack or back pocket.
Valentine Travel’s 2013 itineraries include Lake Como, Tuscany and Slovenia. An information night will be held in Melbourne on December 8; Sydney on February 2. See valentinetravel南京夜网.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.