Tag Archives: Christmas

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Bake-off 2017

I know that sounds downright ambitious of me but given the 4.1 kilos of Belgian chocolate from an Amazon order, I am ready to fire up the oven. During the holidays it is always a mad rush for getting cookies, cakes and those wonderful treats out on time, but this year will be less chaotic because 1) I’m not making a lot of different cookies, I’m just baking more of what we like best and 2) I’m going to cheat. How, you might ask? Well for starters, no gingerbread house from scratch. I picked up the house kit from IKEA and while it’s a small one, I’ll take small over having to mess with templates and all that goes with decorating the end product.

Today was predicted to be a snow day but it turned into a mix of flurries, sunshine, and passing clouds. Nighttime temps have dropped down to 0°C, the wood-burning stove is almost always lit, and so far it doesn’t look like any snowstorm is heading our way. What do you think Mister B? Poor guy. He’s having his teeth cleaned tomorrow and I’m going to be hearing a stream of annoyed huffs in the morning since he mustn’t eat anything before being put under.

First snow day of December

Advertisements

A white Christmas in Dogliani

View of Monviso
Early Christmas morning: view of Monviso

Well, that went by fast! I hope you all had a nice Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year. As you can see, we decided to find us some snow (since it didn’t look like any was gonna fall in Lecco), and headed to our 2nd favorite region in Italy: Piemonte. There was just enough snow on the ground in Dogliani to make it worth the trip, but the surprise was that Dogliani is also a great place to base ourselves for future visits to the Langhe.

Agriturismo Minaldo
Italian farmstay in Dogliani: Agriturismo Minaldo

Out in the countryside and flanked by vineyards, the agriturismo is perfect for small families and couples. We took the apartment with kitchenette and ate in for Christmas eve and day. Breakfast is included in the daily rate and free wi-fi. The owners are wonderful, and their 3 little doggies make up the rest of the welcome committee.

Agriturismo Minaldo lane
Early morning walk for the pooches

Xmas with the kids in Dogliani
These two are out of shape. They were all worn out after a good romp in the white stuff.

Of course we had to stop in at all the wine shops that we had time for, and Cantina La Morra was the only one open on xmas eve. More Barolo than you can shake a stick at!

Cantina La Morra

I did not miss cooking one bit this Christmas, and from now on I think we’re going to do it like this if no snow falls in the chestnut forest: go on a little vacay. No fuss, the “kids” get to be snow bunnies, and zero stress. I almost feel like I was cheated out from not getting super stressed!

Xmas aperitivi 2016
Assorted tidbits from Picard grocery store, just heat and serve.

Xmas lunch 2016
Fresh agnolotti al plin pasta (3 minutes tops in a boiling pot of water) and tomato-basil sauce from a local market – just the thing to go with the complimentary bottle of Dogliani from the agriturismo.

That went by much too quickly

I am still in recovery mode from all the eating and imbibing, but the idea of one more big meal in a few days is no less exciting. Between Christmas eve, day, the day after, and lastly the day after the day after, I estimate that we consumed a little more than the usual calories during the 4-day weekend at home and out with friends.

Xmas eve pre-dinner munchies

Our house, Christmas eve, 2pm. I’m starving, we need a snack! Weren’t they just showing mortadella on the tube? Let’s run to the store like the rest of the last-minute shoppers.

Xmas eve lobster paella

A few hours later, 8:15pm. Paella dinner. We polished off two-thirds lickety split with a big bottle of belgian xmas ale. Ridiculously easy to make and looks impressive on the table.

Christmas Pandoro

Christmas morning, 2am. Santa appreciated the pandoro and left open tickets for a faraway place of our choice. “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”