Friday, May 11, 2018

Everything is possible. Even a wineyard in Italy.

My heart has always beaten for Italy. Deep inside I must be at least 50% Italian and whenever I hit Italian ground or am surrounded by Italian people I instantly feel at home. 

Arriving to this wonderful little restaurant.

This spring I had the opportunity to revisit one of my favourite places in the world: Piedmont and spend a few days in Milan where I used to work and live as a young girl. Piemonte was as beautiful as always. It is one of the prettiest places with the wine valleys reaching below and the mountain ranges opening up so close but yet so far away. It is the region of truffels and great wine. 

The owner puts his whole heart into his Vinoteca Centro Storico

We resided at Hotel Villa Beccaris in Monforte d'Alba. It is a stunning villa with beautiful rooms and the most amazing scenery from the breakfast table (see video above). We visited a lot of beautiful local restaurants and walked around in Alba the second afternoon. We also drank a lot of fantastic wines and laughed so much that our bellies hurt and tears ran down our faces.

In the evening we were picked up by a bus in order to visit Finnish couple Riikka and Jyrki Sukula at the Azienda Agricola Sukula. When we arrived at their place I was utterly stunned. The house had been a stable that had been converted into the most beautiful home for the couple and their children. It resided on top of a hill looking over what seemed a million wineyards with the evening sun still lighting up the porch and our Finnish souls after a long and cold winter.

Riikka and Jyrki Sukula were on their honeymoon when they met an Italian man whom they ended up spending time with. They told him that they would someday like to learn how to make wine and not only hear from others how they make it or how is should be done. 

Jyrki Sukula is known as the crazy cook (The Crazy Cook and his Wife)

When they got home from their honeymoon they got a call that a wineyard in Piedmont is for sale. They jumped on the call and about a week later they were handed the keys to this magnificent place. Soon thereafter they moved to Italy and Riikka began her winemaking techniques studies with Gianpiero Romana and in 2006 produced the estate's first vintage, a Langhe Rosso (Meriame Langhetta)*

The evening that we spent at the Azienda Agricola Sukula was magical. We were not only getting acquainted to the biodynamic way of making wine but Riikka told us stories of the wineyard and how some of the grapewines were very thick and old and some were younger but starting to produce some amazing red wine. Riikka seems to be a real connoiseur and the Sukulas are well known in the Piemontian Region of Italy 

The view from the yard.

Super stylish Riikka and their dog head out to greet us. 

The coujple.

After some aperitivo in the living room we took a seat at the cozy kitchen table. After being served some homemade wine we were served absolutely fantastic food. The food was local and seasonally ripe. There was artichoke, local bird and a lot of other things that I just can't remember right now.

During the dinner both Sukulas entertained us with stories about their lives and at some point Riikkas father also joined the table. Not only have they been living in Italy for a long time, but they have clearly also become accustomed to a more Italian way of living where families spend time together and grandparents are a natural part of the daily family.  

All these perfect little details.

The dinner table.

The masterchef at his essence.

View from the kitchen. 

The evening light! Magical!

Pots and pans. And a lot of spices!
The next day we woke up and had the best breakfast at our hotel. The fried egg was the best egg I have ever eaten in my entire life. You could feel that it had literally just come out from the chicken.

Breakfast view!

After the breakfast Mr. Sukula himself came to send us off to Alba where we walked around for a while and bought home some necessary Italian ingredients such as truffle oil and fresh pasta.

Check out this Espresso machine. 

I am a big lover of coffee and especially good coffee. People always laugh at me but there is no laughing when it comes to coffee and that is something that the Italians are very well aware of. Proper espressos are part of even the smallest places DNA and just look at this machine in a little cafeteria that we passed by. Sure tasted amazing! If I ever open up a coffee shop, this will be the machine that will make all the coffee. 

After Alba we headed off toward Milan and stopped on the way at the nicest little Trattoria. Trattoria i Bologna. When we entered the restaurant, one of the owners of the place was making the pasta that we were going to have for lunch. How fresh is that?

The most amazing pasta. 

Fresh fruits. 

The backyard where they have a few rooms for guests and where all the herbs grow in the summer. 

Carcci is showing some "yoga moves".

And then some more "yoga moves".

Buonasera Milano.

Upon arrival to Milan we almost directly headed out for dinner to wonderful and trendy restaurant called Carlo e Camilla. Carlo and Camilla are very famous for their food and have opened up a restaurant in an industrial area of Milan. The restaurant itself was a lovely experience and the food was also good. Everything was done with such good taste and it was pure pleasure to watch Italian dine with each other. Everyone is so happy and talkative and I couldn't help but follow all those Italian young and joyful people.

After the dinner we still had a drink at a nightclub and I am so happy that I did all that when I was young. It was so nice to just head home pretty early and go to sleep in the hustle and bustle of Milan. 

The next morning we walked around, did some shopping, some dancing and went to get ourselves made up with some make-up at Kiko Milano. After a glass of bubbly in the sun we then had he best saffran risotto and Tiramisu ever at Don Lisander

The trip was short but intensive. It made me miss and love Italy even more and gave me energy for many weeks to come. Italy still feels as much home as always. The people, the scenery, the craziness, the loudness, he food and the wine..... Thank you!

Places that we visited during this trip:
Hotel Villa Beccaris, Monforte
Vinoteca Centro Storico
Trattoria i Bologna
Don Lisander, Milan

*Azienda Agricola Sukula

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