Just sometimes something happens that takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes it’s not such good news and at other times it brushes a smile right across your face. Arrival in France has taught us an enormous amount about wine, but frankly the beer selection here is dreadful on the whole. You would have thought with what is in reach the opposite would be the case and there a a few good local brews but on the whole ale very much takes a back stage to vin.
So I was off to Italy to review some of our operations there. I needed to go and see our bunkers which were quite a distance from the base. We drove for over an hour to get there and the country side reminded my of Norway to an extent – glaciers carved this landscape. We toured around the bunkers with me doing my inspection, guided by the chap who runs them. After an hour or so when I had reviewed everything it was time to head off when the casual remark was dropped that we off to see his other “fireworks”… We had been visiting bunkers after all. So off we head Comunanza and stop at a house in the centre of town. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect…. We walked round the house to the back street to see a large under ground garage and the best sign in the world “Birrificio”! So the gent who runs the bunkers (and a farm, and organises the local horse festivals) has just started his own micro brewery and in we went to meet his brew master. As we stood by the fermentation tanks he ran through the process for us. He started brewing an apple flavoured beer and it was so popular people were asking for it so he started using a nearby by brew house. Now they have gone it alone. I explained how in a recent location I had learned to brew from barley – malting it ourselves and going through the whole process. The first one we made was sooo bitter! Explaining this and where we were caused some laughter as we sampled the three brews on the run right then. All of them fantastic. It was as I was lifting the first one to my lips that I got that wonderful aroma that frankly your run of the mill mass brewed amber fizz just cannot compete with. For a moment I was rushed back into the Gingerman in Houston or the Flowerpots in Cheriton where real beer lives. It was heaven.
You can have a quick look at there website… The fairy theme comes from the fact that fairys live in the near mountains and valleys. Frankly (if I wasn’t already married) if fairys look like that I would be hiking a great deal more in Italy! Perhaps after a few glasses they become easier to find! Any way its hard for me to write what a truely wonderful experience the whole thing was.
And another benefit of going to Italy – learning how to cook pasta properly and pair it with olive oil. Cath has always loved pasta but frankly I haven’t – too used to the squishy, sauce covered mop we too often get. I am converted…. We had pasta twice already this weekend! And as I have been hopeless with Christmas cards this year… HAPPY CHRISTMAS.. Let’s hope 2012 is a good one.