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Okay, so now I have two favourite eating, “going out” places at Diano d’Alba, I’m thinking about just moving there and never cooking again!

About a month ago, I can’t remember the excuse, we booked a table at the Locanda da Batista, still Diano d’Alba, Piemonte, Italy, Europe… but under snow this time! Ah, maybe that was the excuse, to see the wine covered slopes under snow and to admire how clean the council manage to keep the roads! Yes, I’m sure that was it.

We booked a table for 8pm,  as when Louis had enquired a few days previously the nice lady at Batista had said it would be better to book for a Saturday evening. However when we arrived the place was empty. We peered, a little worried, into the window, Louis had also asked the nice lady if the food was still as good as it was years ago when he was a regular punter, and of course the lady said “Si”.  We had some doubts, but we entered anyway. €23.00 for four starters, two pasta dishes, two meat dishes and side veg and pudd. At that price how good could it be? How wrong could we have been?

We gave our name and the nice lady gave us a table for two next to the wood fire. I took a look around and saw that all of the tables had the same little name cards as us ….fully booked!

A tennis ball of raw meat, lemon, oil and salt…. perfection! Baked oven pepper fillets, duck salad to die for…. Yummy yummy, no more rumble in my tummy. Risotto made with Barolo and cheese, home-made pasta with meat sauce, ham shank with potatoes, rabbit and the best panna cotta I have ever tasted.

We returned just a few weeks later with family from Savona and made a real good “bella figura”! In other words we really impressed them.


Virtually impossible! No Weight Watchers, Slimming World or any kind of fat club………..

I once heard a famous Italian singer/song writer, Pino Daniele, say during an interview “I diet Monday to Friday so I can eat really well on Saturday and Sunday!” Sounds good to me.

I also once heard that a couple should go out together once a week to keep their relationship fun.  I interpreted the “going out” to mean “eating out”,  naughty me, but I’ll bet you did too! I think it could be an age thing. When I was young “going out” didn’t mean parking myself at a restaurant table for 3 hours. I can’t for the life of me remember when it changed but there you go.

So my love and I go out once a week and last night it felt like we had eaten enough food to last a week! Trattoria nelle Vigne at Diano d’Alba, Piemonte, Italy, Europe.

If you are visiting this wonderful area I, and my still full tummy, recommend that you pay this trattoria/ restaurant a visit. And if you are not thinking about visiting this area then you really should give it some thought.

Food, staff, décor, view, wine list, all excellent, are the obvious details one looks for, but I have to say that this place just has a nice open feeling. I thought it was going to be a bit posh, but the very reasonable prices and the name “trattoria” kept telling me that it wouldn’t be too posh for this chick. I can’t be doing with pretentious restaurants.  We were pleasantly surprised on the approach to the Trattoria, and even more so when we walked in. Space, wood, large window, high ceilings and a lovely smell. All my boxes ticked.

I love eating in Italy in places where you sit down and there is no need to look at a menu. I like to be given, that is told just a few choices or served a set menu. Nothing complicated. I love watching Gordon Ramsey when he’s putting restaurants back on track, he usually starts by ditching the long exhausting menus either written in hard-backed books or on black boards. Our brains can only cope with two or three choices anyway.

Nelle Vigne life’s sure not complicated. As soon as we sat down a plate was placed on the table anchovies covered with a hazelnut sauce. Worth trying even if you think you don’t like anchovies! Fried bread with lard (I know it’s sounds awful but it’s delicious!), vegetable mix with mayonnaise, roast meat covered with that yummy tuna sauce and vegetable frittata were the starters and at which point we were ready to go home feeling rather full! Two pasta dishes followed by roast meat and potatoes and we still weren’t finished. Panna cotta! Finito! All washed down with an alka seltzer and if you leave them at home, the italian version is Brioschi! Enormous portions, far too big. We joked saying, “do they know in the kitchen there’s just the two of us!” Our next visit there’ll be four of us! Another good tip, a bottle of their own Dolcetto wine went down a treat and because my love doesn’t drink and I only managed half the bottle, at the end of our meal the cork was replaced and I got my bottle back to take the remaining wine home!

Well done Nelle Vigne and thank you nice lady who served us. I really should ask names, when I was young and on the ball I would never have slipped up on such a silly thing.

My boyfriend recently suggested that we vistit Venice, thinking that it was the place all romantic couples should visit. I’m pretty much happy taking a stroll along the nearest beach or a cobbled street late at night window shopping. I know, you would like a bit more detail: I live in Alba, Italy, so for me strolling along the main shopping street in Alba at night is still quite a joy, the smell of chocolate from the Ferrero factory and truffles from the various restaurants and gastro shops leaking out from under their doors. Not the nearest but the most desirable and nearly nearest beach would be Varigotti. I especially love this beach in the winter when the jade coloured sea looks like a piece of flowing velvet. I even love to be “billy no mates” on this beach! Honestly.

Venice and I had a funny first encounter but I’m sure we will meet again some day to put things straight!

Me, a 10 year old with my sister, parents and another family we had met in Carole spent a “memorable” day in Venice. Wherever we went at the end of May was always thrown into an immediate heatwave, so as we followed our guide into St. Mark’s square you could be forgiven for not keeping up with her and fainting on the spot under the 38°c that cracked the pavement and almost evaporated the lagoon! “Yoohoo english” came the calling from our guide, the young italian lady with pink and white  polka dot umbrella, trying desperately to huddle together all of her delicate white chicks, the english.

My sister and I played “Italian guide lady” for months after our vist, with umbrella in hand of course.

Lunch was a rather yummy pack lunch made by my rather yummy mummy very early that morning and carried in our faithful freezer box by our strong daddy. I still can’t believe how mum and dad managed to train from Newcastle to Spain, Italy or France with two small children, case, freezer box and other small bags in tow. A regular in the freezer box was Primular cheese spread. Not to forget corned beef.

We sat by the grand canal near the Rialto canal bridge and tucked into our sarnies. Romantic? The most smelliest place I have ever been. Canal + heatwave = smell. Never being the type of person to be easily put off my food, we ate just the same, well, not many people can say they’ve had a picnic with the view of the Rialto bridge.

In the afternoon we found a shaded spot to eat our ice creams. It was there that we discovered the chicken pox. The family we had travelled with that day, who were also staying in the same appartments as us in Carole, had three children. Delightfully itchy children. We all had an inspection, t-shirts off! Locals passed by with faces of disgust, but my mam’s face of panic turned to relief as we had no trace of the itchy blighters. It was only going to be a matter of time though. Our pals were covered from head to toe, but the worst thing of all was that their father also began to itch and feel really unwell. We made our way back to Carole and our pals’ dad spent the rest of his holiday in bed, we were worried he would never make it home. It wasn’t just a case of hopping on a plane, we had a long train ride back to the northeast of England, and ferry of course. We made it though, freezer box and all. My sister and I then had another 3 weeks off school with Venetian chicken pox! Or at least that’s what I like to think!

More than 28 years later my mam and dad still receive a christmas card and update from our chickenpox friends from York. Their dad took quite some time to get over his shingles, but I can remember that shortly afterwards we went to visit them on a day trip to York, by train with the freezer box!

So yes, there it is, my first blog. My romantic venetian chicken pox, well I had to have a good reason for missing three weeks of school.

My next visit to Venice could be with my boyfriend and his mum, she wants to see Venice before she dies. Somehow I think I’ll still miss out on the romantic Venice with mother-in-law in tow. I think I’d rather have the freezer box in tow.

In the meantime I just keep falling in love with Francesco and his Venice:

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