jen's blog. chef on wheels. october 4-9, 2010.
Today we had to be packed up and be ready to go by 9:30 to have our luggage on the van while we readied ourselves for a 25-mile ride to our next hotel. We were getting very mixed messages from our guides whether or not this would be a harder ride or not from the day before. It was funny, because each person who asked got a different answer. So we decided that while it might not be harder, it was certainly going to be longer, however the rewards would be many. As it turned out, all these assessments were true.
We climbed hard, travelled long and had many rewards to show for the day. Best line of the day was from Boomer: “My fear of the downhill has been overcome by my fear of the uphill.” Makes perfect sense because although it is really scary to go downhill fast (at least for me it is), it is worse not to gain the momentum to make it up the oncoming uphills. Jack’s line came in second (mostly because when I heard it I was climbing such a steep hill) I am sure I am misquoting him, but it was still really funny: “ The DuVine trip is a trip for rich people who think they are in shape.”
(Don't worry mom, by lunch on day 3, I have only blown out one tire and Josh managed to collide with Guido and bust his spoke. Really, we are fine).
Actually Jack stole Josh’s thunder of his fall after lunch with a bit of a spill that required all of the attention of the many doctors on the trip. He is fine too, but we are pretty sure he'll opt for the van for tomorrow’s ride.
We rode our bikes up the most incredible hills and even through a forest. At one point you could hear the bells of the hunter’s dogs that we found out later were hunting for boar. We ended our morning ride at La Casa Del Bosco, "The House in the Forest". It is owned by Gianni and Mina and if you are ever in the middle of nowhere of Cassinasco in the forest, please go there! I hope you enjoy the same 4-course meal we did of Zucchini Flan, Vitello Tonnato, Eggplant stuffed with Tomma and Ham and the most incredible semi-freddo you will ever try. And don’t forget to try the Cortese dell’Alto and Dolcetto d’Asti from Cerutti Bruno.
After lunch we were told that our ride would be mostly downhill with a steep 3-kilometre climb to Relais San Maurizio. The mostly downhill was a bit of an exaggeration, I needed 2 pushes uphill from Guido along the way. Pretty amazing that he can ride his own bike while pushing my bike and me alongside him. The other amazing thing is he did this for many of us!
Many of our crew opted for the van for the last 3 kilometers, but Josh and I chose to endure the climb. It was extremely rigorous, but I kept reminding myself that we had booked massages at the end of the ride and as soon as we reached the top we would be staying at the first Relais and Chateaux we had ever stayed at.
It was like a dream once we reached the top. They escort you to your room, guide you through an incredible tour of the grounds and remind you that the spa is only a floor away for you to venture to. A true perfect end to a vigorous day of biking. Once again we were blown away by an unforgettable 4-course meal accompanied by some of the most incredible wine of the trip. We started with Arneis Marco Porello 2007, followed by Nebbiolo Almondo Giovanni 2007. My favorite was a Barolo from Azelia, 2007.
When I ventured into their wine room, it was a nice surprise to see so many of the wines I have on my list at La Morra. It was an even nicer treat when the sommelier let me have a copy of their Piemontese Wine Book to take back to the States. Next time you are at the restaurant, ask me for a look.
We convinced a few of our group members to venture to the bar after dinner to try a little grappa. We all shared the Marolo Chamomile Grappa. Luckily we have it on the list at La Morra because everyone who said they did not like grappa enjoyed it.