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Schielke's European Vacation


Schielke
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Well, now, am I the only one who'll admit to surprise at the discrepancy between your avatar(s) and your actual selfness, Ben? :shock:

:blink:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Great, absolutely great photo albums. Thank you so much for the vicarious pleasure. It looks like you had the honeymoon of a lifetime.

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I love your photos. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I see many familiar sights, easily identifiable from the thumbnails (Il Ritrovo!). I also took a picture of the green "garbage" boat in Venice and just printed a copy yesterday to send it to my grandson for fun.

We stayed at Pensione Guerrato our first time in Venice, but on the last trip I found Palazzo La Scala which was wonderful, cheaper, and on the same side of the canal as the vaporetto stop - no need to clunk bags up and over the Rialto Bridge (not saying that you did, but that's what we did).

I took lots of kitty pix to put together an album for Kosmo. Here he is, wearing my Peggy Guggenheim sunglasses:

http://photos.yahoo.com/inkadinkadue.

Your bride is beautiful.

chrisv

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Ok, where was I...

Ahh yes, Milan.

We arrived in Milan by train from the airport where we dropped the rental car off and promptly caught a cab to our Hotel. I strode confidently up to the hotel desk and began to check in and was then told that I did not have a reservation!

After they tried to look me up in their computer a few times, I asked if I could print off my confirmation that was on my email account. When I brought up the confirmation, the lady pointed out what she had feared. I was confirmed at another unrelated Hotel De La Ville somewhere in Monza!!!!!

I had booked the hotel on Travelocity based on a link from a travel Web site. I remember reading the description of the hotel in Milan and booking it right away. I retraced my booking steps to confirm that I indeed had tried to book the hotel in Milan. I also remember checking the confirmation email when it arrived. Of course I missed the exact address on this email and simply looked at the name of the hotel and the small map (which looked like the layout of milan to me at the time).

Anyway, I managed to cancel my reservation in Monza and book a room at the real Hotel De La Ville. Phew! At one point in this process, the desk person said that this happens a lot between the two hotels. I am just suprised that nobody has decided to fix it yet.

Anyhoo... We managed to get settled in our nicely appointed room and then set out to see the sights.

We took a brief tour of the amazing Duomo and the equally amazing Duomo Museum. Lunch was at a small shop close to the duomo that sold great little Calzone-like things. They are very popular and I am sure one of you guys remembers the name. We did a little shopping and general browsing around the duomo area before we went back to the hotel to relax before dinner.

Dinner was at Boccodivino! We had the Concierge page a taxi, which took 30 min to arrive and made us late for dinner. :angry: All was made better though as soon as we arrived at Boccodivino.

Let me first say that Craig Camp does a much better job of describing Boccodivino. He knows the wines and the names of the various salumis and cheeses. I dont. I just know that they were all the best I had the entire trip. If you are in Milan or even nearby, just go.

We were instantly seated by the lovely staff and the head waiter/sommilier came with some welcoming Prosecco, which was a great way to set the mood for the evening.

First came the amazing "boquet" of vegetables as well as a beautiful white that I unfourtanetly did not get a picture of. As we munched on the veggies, they brought out some cheese balls from heaven and a top-notch chicken liver crostini that arrived with more butter to accompany the already rich bite. :smile: The wine was fantastic with these courses. It cut right through all the richness, yet paired well with the raw veggies.

Italy%20236.jpg

<veggies and katie>

Italy%20237.jpg

<tasty bits>

The delightful Sommelier arrived with yet another great wine. I don't recall the details, but the label in the picture said 'Marna'.

Italy%20238.jpg

<Marna>

As if the wine were not enough, we were bestowed with the gift of pork to accompany it. The first round of salumi contained 7-8 samples of Italy's finest.

Italy%20241.jpg

<meat ahoy!>

We started with the absoutely amazing lardo and could have left right then and gotten our money's worth. Katie especially was amazed. She has always been more of a fan of the less fatty pieces, but is now a changed woman. In fact, I took a picture of her reaction to eating the lardo.

Italy%20242.jpg

<damn, that is good!>

We were brought another wine that I especially liked and was intrigued with. It was a german red that they paired with the next round of smoked salumi.

Italy%20244.jpg

<tasty german red>

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<smoked meats>

Italy%20245.jpg

<katie in the pork fat zone>

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<This is what I look like when I am in a state of bliss>

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<surprise!>

I kept watching the cheese cart roll by to other tables and was insanely jealous each time I saw it. I was consoled, however, with the final meat dish of hand carved proscuitto. The waiter was really great and took a picture of Katie and I with the leg.

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<Smile and say PIG!>

Katie was stuffed beyond belief at this point and I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling it, but I marched on like a champ through the rest of the amazing meal. :smile:

Another wine arrived to my delight, it was called Kleos and yet again I was stunned by the quality of the wine and its pairing with the food. These guys truly know their stuff.

Italy%20253.jpg

<Kleos>

The next course was risotto milanese and a pasta dish with an herby/cheesy sauce. Both were very good..

Italy%20255.jpg

<yum>

The next time the cheese cart rolled by, it took a sharp left and stopped at our table! Joy! This was the fresh cheese cart, and boy was I excited. It had fresh mozzerella, ricotta, and a third soft cheese that I would marry if I had never met Katie.

Italy%20256.jpg

<soft cheese>

Italy%20257.jpg

<more soft cheese about to be devoured>

Just as I had reached a new plane of heaven, the sommelier arrived with a Barbaresco to pair with our final cheese course. Again, a perfect match. This was my first taste of Barbaresco and my socks were knocked off.

Italy%20260.jpg

<Do do do do do do do Barbaresco Time!>

All I can say about the aged cheese cart is that it is simply staggering.

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<Homie's got Cheese for days yo!>

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<My selection>

An entire pot full of fresh biscotti arrived after a short break. They went very very well with our next beverage; a smooth Maderia.

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<biscotti>

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<maderia>

The final dessert course was a peach sorbet and it was served with a homemade granita-like citrus and grappa concoction that was subtly powerful.

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<sorbet>

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<mamma said knock you out>

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<drunk katie!>

After we basked in the glow of our evening, the check arrived and I was pleasantly suprised with the cost, I almost felt like I robbed them. We had such an amazing time here and I can't wait to find myself in Milan again.

I left full of great food and drunk on fantastic wine... all was right with the world.

Ben

Milan Day 2 next!

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Thanks for the pics and report!

One detail: I'm guessing that Suedtirol St. Magdalener is an Italian wine, not German. Suedtirol is the German name for Alto Adige, a region north of Veneto which used to be part of Austria and is now part of Italy. Nordtirol is still part of Austria.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Cool, thanks Pan!  I just see umlauts and start thinkin' sausages and tubas.  :smile:

Ben:

Michael is right. It's definitely Austrian wine, not German. Sudtyrol indicates the wine is from way way southern Austria, just over the Italian border. If it were Italian wine it would have to have Alto Adige listed as the denomination of origin by law. And whether that part of the world is Italy or Austria depends on whether you ask an Italian or an Austrian to answer the question. :biggrin: It is, however, a stunningly wonderful place for wines. I'm sure if you explore more wines from those areas you'll find many things you like.

I'm pea green with envy over this wonderful meal and wine pairing experience you've described so lovingly. Dang dude! Sommelier hooked you and lovely bride up! Awesome.

The sausages and tubas thing is not so far off for Austria either. In the small heuringer, or local winery bars, there are often Oompah bands playing folk tunes (usually accompanied by an accordian too) and lots of drunken Austrians singing along. A common scene throughout from my experience.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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It's definitely Austrian wine, not German. Sudtyrol indicates the wine is from way way southern Austria, just over the Italian border. If it were Italian wine it would have to have Alto Adige listed as the denomination of origin by law.

That's interesting because I haven't found confirmation that any part of Suedtirol is currently part of Austria:

http://www.atlapedia.com/online/countries/austria.htm

In June 1992 the 32-year old controversy over South Tyrol (Sudtirol) came to an end when Italy and Austria announced the completion of a 1969 plan that contained 137 measures which would guarantee Sudtirol's autonomy.

http://www.travel55.co.uk/walking_tours.html

Relax in the beautiful mountain scenery of northern Italy. Once part of Austria, the Sud Tirol has been part of Italy for almost 100 years [my note: since after WWI] and is a unique mix of Austrian and Italian language, food and culture.

Other Google results seem to indicate that the part of Tirol that's still part of Austria is identified as "Tirol," but that "Suedtirol" is synonymous with Alto Adige.

Also, note the term "Classico" on the Suedtiroler wine. If they're required by law to include the name "Alto Adige," I think it must be there in smaller print somewhere. I think that's an Italian wine.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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It's definitely Austrian wine, not German.  Sudtyrol indicates the wine is from way way southern Austria, just over the Italian border.  If it were Italian wine it would have to have Alto Adige listed as the denomination of origin by law.

That's interesting because I haven't found confirmation that any part of Suedtirol is currently part of Austria:

http://www.atlapedia.com/online/countries/austria.htm

In June 1992 the 32-year old controversy over South Tyrol (Sudtirol) came to an end when Italy and Austria announced the completion of a 1969 plan that contained 137 measures which would guarantee Sudtirol's autonomy.

http://www.travel55.co.uk/walking_tours.html

Relax in the beautiful mountain scenery of northern Italy. Once part of Austria, the Sud Tirol has been part of Italy for almost 100 years [my note: since after WWI] and is a unique mix of Austrian and Italian language, food and culture.

Other Google results seem to indicate that the part of Tirol that's still part of Austria is identified as "Tirol," but that "Suedtirol" is synonymous with Alto Adige.

Also, note the term "Classico" on the Suedtiroler wine. If they're required by law to include the name "Alto Adige," I think it must be there in smaller print somewhere. I think that's an Italian wine.

Michael:

Technically you're correct. I guess I was just thinking of it the way I was describing an Austrian's thinking. If it's called Sudtyrol it's OURS damn it! :biggrin: Certainly Sudtyrol is the Austrian/German language name for that area. I don't think the Italians call it Sudtyrol, but perhaps since it's such a mixed area some folks call it one thing and others call it the other. Just like the same wine might be labelled Pinot Bianco or Weissburgunder from that area, depending I guess, on the ethnic background of the winemaker. I was under the impression that it must be called Alto Adige to stick with the incredibly stringent DOC labelling requirements. The DOC laws are a bitch. Everything from the labeling, aging, varietals you can use in the wines (ASIDE: example - this is why "Super Tuscans" came into being. You can't mix Cabernet in with Sangiovese and call it Chianti or Brunello. That doesn't conform to the DOC "rules". Proprietary names like Sassicaia were made up so the wines could be marketed effectively. Interestingly, Sassacaia was finally given approval to carry the DOC mark by the Italian Government). Perhaps this area is an exception due to the uniqueness of the circumstances? The area is officially bi-lingual but with a German speaking majority. I guess that influences my thinking a bit. It was ceded to Italy in 1918.

Someday I hope to tour this area and visit many of the fine winemakers there. It's beautiful terrain with vineyards planted on steep hillsides that slope down toward the Adige River. The pictures I've seen are breathtaking.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Sudtirol and Alto Adige are the same place. It is indeed in Italy no matter what the local residents think. The first language of the area is German (that's what they speak at home and they watch Austrian TV) and the historical and family ties of the region are to Austria more than Italy. You can easily have breakfast in Balzano and lunch in Vienna.

The labels from Alto Adige are printed in both German and Italian and German is often the featured language as both Austria and Germany are big customers for the wines of the region.

Concerning the wine you had the DOC is not Sudtirol or Alto Adige, but Santa Maddelena. DOC Santa Maddalena (Sankt Magdalener) is produced from the indigenous schiava grape. It is a lovely, light wine. I love to drink them in the summer with a light chill.

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Ok, where was I...

Ahh yes, Milan.

[..........We took a brief tour of the amazing Duomo and the equally amazing Duomo Museum.  Lunch was at a small shop close to the duomo that sold great little Calzone-like things.  They are very popular and I am sure one of you guys remembers the name. .........]

I believe you had panzerotti.

Francesco

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Not the only one, but why do people think I look like a Mr. T bobblehead? :smile:

Actually, I was expecting Lionel Ritchie. :laugh:

Yup, I was a bit taken aback, too. Doesn't stop me from getting vicarious thrills out of your honeymoon tale. Re: driving thrills. You haven't lived until you've piloted a very small Fiat along the outside lane of the road along the rim of the Gorges du Verdun – no guard rail, of course – and come around a hair-pin switchback only to find a....full-size German tour bus comin' at ya across both lanes. :shock::shock::unsure:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just realized that I forgot to write the final entry of my trip report!

Our second and final day in milan consisted of us running around and shopping. We went and browsed the fancy schmancy stores for a while and didn't buy anything...until Katie got a shoe craving near the Prada store. She ended up with some nice new dress shoes for work.

The highlight of the day though was our trip to Peck.

Wow.

We walked in and I was speechless. I really can't even describe how great that place is. I wish I had pictures, but they were forbidden inside the place. I suppose it is a good thing too since I probably would have been in there taking pictures for hours.

We picked up a bunch of salumi, cheese, pasta, chocolates, and a bottle of grappa. It was such a sensory overload that I couldn't make any decisions on what to buy for a long long time. I just kept wandering around like some kind of hungry vagrant.

I would have loved to get some raw ingredients there and do some cooking with the fantastic meat available, but alas we had to leave.

That evening, we left by train to Gallartae near the airport so we could easily get to the airport in the morning. I foolishly did not get a map for the location of my hotel in Gallartae and asked some locals for directions. For some reason 3 seperate locals pointed me in the wrong direction to the hotel. :wacko: I finally got a good answer from a man looking at some real estate listings in a shop window. He said I was easily 1-2 km away. akkk! I thanked him and went to grab a taxi, but he told me to wait a second for his family. The man's wife and son walked up shortly and the man insisted that they give us a ride to the hotel. Being wary, I politely refused, but the family kept insisting because the hotel was on their way home.

The family looked like trustworthy people and were not physicically intimidating to me so I caved and they helped me load up our luggage. I figured if they were going to scam us, it was quite the elaborite setup and unlikely.

The family happily drove us to the hotel and chatted with us the whole way. They though we were from the UK because of Katie's red hair. :smile: We had a great time with the family and were impressed with their generosity and friendliness. It was a nice cap to an already fantastic trip.

That evening we grabbed a quick pizza at a nearby restaurant, which was only ok. We went to bed early so we could get up at 3:30 am to be whisked to the hotel by our shuttle, which turned out to be a private mercedes sedan. :cool:

Our long plane ride was uneventful except for the nice meal of salumi, cheese, and fociacca we made in the middle. I was so sad to see the salumi gone. It really is a world apart form what we can get in the US.

We made it through customs with no problems (I thought the dogs would sniff out the remaining odor of the salumi we ate on the plane) and headed back home to lay in a daze of wanting to sleep and not be able to.

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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