If you’re a skier then I’m sure February means heading to the mountains to hit the slopes. Recent reports are saying Glencoe has had a great snowfall and conditions are looking good.
We regularly take the children skiing and, for me, Italy really does offer some of the most beautiful scenery with sunshine thrown in for good measure. Without doubt our favorite mountain range in Italy isThe Dolomites. Flying into Venice, Milan or Verona is an easy option from Scotland and within a few hours drive you’re surrounded by crystal clear air, beautiful white snow, picturesque mountains and the sun beating down on your face. Sheer bliss if you ask me!
Skiing can be as challenging or as leisurely as you wish. The first time we went as a family was about nine years ago. Marketed as one of the best areas in Italy for children to learn, with loads of ski schools for all ages, and slopes that even I could manage.
Now I have a wee secret to share with you…
For those of you who know me, you’ll know that it’s not the skiing that attracts me to any part of Italy, it’s the food.
Shared between three key regions Belluno, South Tyrol and Trento, The Dolomites provide an utterly heavenly taste of real mountain fare. With our southern Italian routes, and our love of Puglia in the summer, The Dolomites feels like a completely different country and clearly highlights the sheer diversity of the 20 regions that Italy holds at its heart.
The highest peak in The Dolomites is over 10,000ft above sea level so if you’re looking to have something fishy for dinner then I’m afraid you’re in the wrong location.
Many of you may have skied in Cervinia, Cortina or Alta Badia. If you know your history you’ll know these regions have Austrian routes so the food brings all the comfort of this beautiful country with the skill of the Italians in the kitchen. A winning combination.
Strudels, schnitzel, lotsof game stewed with juniper and wild porcini, beautiful smoked South Tyrolean Speck, fabulous mountain cheeses and my favorite comfort food – polenta. Yes polenta may be classic ‘cucina povera’ food of the poor. Amazingly it was something that neither my father or Victor’s father ever wanted to eat as it reminded them so much of the depravation of the war, but for me it’s the food of The Gods (well if The Gods prefer theirs with half a pound of Taleggio di Valtellina, a generous handful of Parmigiano Reggiano and some wild leaves or routes to lighten and balance the richness of the cheese). I do love this this dish. All washed down with Teroldego a light local red wine and I’m happy. I’m actually smiling at the thought. You can hear Victor saying it doesn’t take much! Althoughhe’s happier with a glass or two of his favorite grappa from our favourite producers Nonino inthe neighbouring region of Friuli.
So if you’re lucky enough to be heading to Italy for some winter exercise, be sure to try some of the delicious delicacies on offer.