Le Dolci Terre: shopping, sagre, and 9 kilos of borlotti

Man, these getaways can really take the wind out of you when there’s a lot on your plate, and I mean that figuratively. We spent an extended weekend in Piemonte, specifically in the area between Alessandria and Ovada where shopping, wine, chocolate (and more) lure visitors to experience Le Dolci Terre, or Sweet Lands. This is not to be mistaken with la dolce vita that happens anywhere in Italy, but if you’re familiar with this part of the Piemonte region, then you already know of Serravalle Designer Outlet and its top brand names that draw quite an international crowd. What surprised me the most is that dogs are just as welcome in the stores (with the exception of Armani, if I’m to believe a forum post), and for once this meant not having to leave our two in the car.

Doggies at Serravalle Outlet
Not too pleased to pose in front of D&G, but totally okay with Versace and Prada.

Shopping Days "Welcome Bag"
Goodie bag! I am not an outlet shopping person by a long shot, but when a free welcome bag is thrown in upon reserving a hotel room through the Shopping Days website

Twin city to Vinon-sur-Verdon
Main square at Capriata d’Orba

Surrounded by orchards of Dolcetto grapes, our room was at a farmstay located on the rural outskirts of Capriata d’Orba. This place in particular wouldn’t have meant a thing to us had we not found out that Capriata is sister cities with Vinon-sur-Verdon (France) where we spent our lavender-lovin’ holidays!

Sagra in Grondona
At the Sagra della Capra e della Fersulla

I’m making a bold statement in saying that Piemonte is king of the local sagra, but at the food festivals we attended, each and every one was like a finely-tuned machine. They had dozens of staff members, both in the kitchen and in the dining room area. I’ve never witnessed such harmonious orchestration in tending to the masses of people that poured in.

Bulk-pack borlotti
In case you’re wondering… 9 kilos of fresh borlotti yields a little over 4 kilos of shelled beans

As I said at the beginning… getaways can really take the wind out of you, especially when beans play a large role. We managed to check out 3 different sagre, one of which had us smacking our lips of beans AND loads of garlic. It was so good that I was prompted to pick up this crate of borlotti at a Sunday market in Basaluzzo on our way home. Sagra posts up next!


8 thoughts on “Le Dolci Terre: shopping, sagre, and 9 kilos of borlotti

  1. Ruth

    Hi Rowena, just came over to look at your blog having seen your comment on Lemon House Life. I’m so happy to see that you take your dogs shopping in Italy. Our German Shepherd- Border Collie cross also loves shopping here and is generally made to feel very welcome. The only problem is, when we go back to the UK she isn’t allowed in any shops at all which she finds most disconcerting.


    1. Rowena Post author

      A couple of months ago we were seated next to a UK couple (and their westie!) at a restaurant and they pretty much told us the same thing. They absolutely love spending their holidays in Italy and France because they can always bring along their dog without any problems.


    1. Rowena Post author

      If I compare the outlet with my options in Lecco, it IS worth it (stores all in one location), and even more so if you’ve got plans to visit the area anyway. In truth, Serravalle just happened to be where we wanted to be based at (near Gavi) in order to visit several sagre. The room options through Shopping Days also made it a piece of cake to find a place to stay.

      The only drawback is that the 10% discount card is only good for 1 day, so if you’re a serious shopaholic….



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