August 31, 2011

In Garlate with Friends Antonio & Mari

We arrived here in Garlate Lecco on Monday, August 29, with gracious transportation by Oriana and Filippo from Olgiate Molgora, only a few kilometers away. They stayed for lunch which was delicious rice and mixed vegetables along with ham and prosciutto and melon and, ....well, all good things! In  the afternoon, we went to visit the marvelous new home under construction for Allessandro and Laura, Antonio and Mari's son and daughter-in-law. The home is wonderfully designed with three levels, as most homes are on hillsides here in Garlate. When finished, it will be absolutely fantastic with a clean, modern design, superb construction and finish work with magnificent windows and doors baths and cucina. They will be very happy when they are finally able to move in later this Fall.

In the evening Mari cooked ravioli with other fixings and Antonio opened a nice white wine. Then we learned a little bit how to play briscola, a card game with a special deck of cards that is lots of fun with trumps and no need to follow suit.
Yesterday, we awoke to a traditional Italian breakfast with cappuccino, bread, jams, juice and rolls. Later in the morning we went to Monte Barro Park,

 the mountain that dominates Garlate and the surrounding area on the west side of Garlate. It offering magnificent views of Lago Leco and several smaller lakes to the south of the mountain. We were joined by Luigi and Edda, good friends of Antonio and Mari. We had lunch at the mountain top restaurant, Eremo. More delicious food!

Then we drove part way down the mountain to a very old refuge building that is owned by 6 people  (Edda is one), apparently passing down from generation to generation. The stone building is stocked with water, beer, wine, soft drinks and lounges, chairs and tables a full kitchen and a bathroom. People come on weekends  or weekdays to escape the heat and enjoy the fresh mountain breezes.

Carol's description of our evening meal at Il Ronco Azienda Agricola - Agriturismo follows. A superb meal that was, well, wonderfully Italian. [we'll diet when we get home :-)]

Dinner in Garlate...
You would have loved the place we had dinner at tonight! The road up to the place is so narrow that a normal car can't fit. We had to change cars at the bottom of the hill to go up - in a tiny, narrow van!
The restaurant is part of an agriturismo with all organic food from it's own farm. We walked in the garden with fruit trees, olive trees, veges etc. The figs, ripe and right from the tree were SO sweet, I had to restrain myself to only a few.

Mari picked some for breakfast, though, so I'll get another taste.
The farmhouse is 300 years old, all beautifully restored, with 4 rooms to rent. We must have had  10 courses in the antique dining room, starting with a diced mix of veges, barley, wheat berries and fresh herbs, then a plate of salamis and lardo with a fresh fig, then tempura with fresh vegetables and herbs like salvia leaves, then a spinach quiche with a raddicio-walnut-grape salad, then a chopped-vege crepe with a wonderful cheese sauce with poppy seeds, then risotto with a filet of local fish, then porchetta with roasted potatoes, ending with gelato with fresh raspberry sauce! Only some of us could even fit a coffee!
Of course, you must add the wines that flowed as well. :-)
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