Friday, June 17, 2011

A day "off"

A full day to play yesterday, no commitments until today when we pick up some early arrivals for Taste of Piedmont. What did we do on our day "off"? Slept in a bit, then took the bikes out for a loop of the Monferrato vineyards. We'd ridden past a little eatery in the tiny town of Cuccaro hundreds of times, with "one of these times we need to come past here for lunch" being said most every time. Heather planned a route that would have us here midday so off we went under warm temps, blue skies and puffy clouds. We didn't even bring along a camera! After a relaxing tour of Montemagno, Castagnole Monferrato, Fubine, and other tiny wine towns we rolled up to "Risto Pub Vineria Stefania Porrati" to find some folks enjoying lunch, but no sign of the proprietor. Eventually Carlo showed up and we asked about a fresh salad.....he pointed to the huge bowl on the table of the other diners and indicated all the salad was gone. When he found us less than enamored with a simple panino, he suggested a salad made with his "own" greens from the garden, cicoria. He explained it's a bit tart and pulled a bag out of the cooler. Heather grabbed a leaf and decided it would make a fine salad for our lunch. Carlo proposed adding some peppers, carrots and chunks of ham and cheese to complete it and we eagerly agreed. He soon came back with two bowls of salad and some crusty bread to go along with our cold, fizzy mineral water and glasses of "vino bianco fresco". The perfect lunch on a warm day, especially when finished with a local chocolate morsel and an excellent espresso. After refilling our water bottles we had just another 20 kms to ride before arriving back at Hotel Ariotto. These are the kinds of days we take for granted too often as "just another day in paradise" but this one made us pause to consider just how fortunate we are to be able to combine our business with such pleasure.

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