Friday, June 17, 2011

Reasearch & Exploration - Part 1

    For the last 10 days Michael and I have been traveling around doing one of our favorite things in Italy…research and exploration.
When we began Il Chiostro we wanted to give our alumni the opportunity to experience many different parts of Italy and it's culture....and we love to do that too.
Our first stop, as most of you already know, was Bologna. See:
We are preparing for 2 weeks fall 2012 there. For now here is a photo of our Gelato Orgy on the last day after a 2 hour hike along a portico up to San Luca Church just outside the city...
Gelato in Bologna

We traveled on to Piemonte….Barolo and Dolcetto country.
The Nebbiolo grape is very versatile. It is used to make wine of the same name as well as Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara and Ghemme. Nebbiolo probably gets it's name from the Italian word nebbia
which means "fog" because during the harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where most Nebbiolo vineyards are located.
Not to mention the cuisine.
Nebbiolo grapes....waiting to be Barolo

Ravioli Del Plin
A good friend of ours from Tuscany has a connection to a winery near Barolo called Clavesana.
We felt like royalty as we cruised the area with the Director of Clavesana, Anna Bracco. She is an extraordinary woman. There are many wine cooperatives in Italy, however Anna has created this cooperative in a way that gives all of the 350 families that participate a voice and a face...

Clavesana crest personified

She and her associate, Tessa Donnadieu International Liason, gave a wonderful 3 day tour of the area.
Michael, Anna Bracco & Tessa
Three days packed with many eno-
gastro- nomic, logistic and all simply wonderful experi- ences.

Lange Landscape
The landscape is a variety of grape vines, barley and hazelnut trees.

Barley in Lange
The wonderful thing about this area is that tourism has not hit in a major way so it is intimate, genuine and as authentic as it gets.

We visited many agritourisms, ex-monasteries, restaurants, farmers, a cooking school and even a gent from South Africa that gives tours there in a hot air balloon. When they heard we were thinking of bringing American artists to the area we became like rock stars in their eyes.
Everyone has such enthusiasm for their part of Italy, it was infectious and inspiring. 
Red that catches the eye

One thing about this area that struck me was the color red that is used on many of the houses. It pops against the many varieties of green backdrop.

By the end of our visit we were very excited about the prospects of offering workshops in the area. So check our schedule for next year soon to see when and where.

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