Sunday, 21 June 2009

Arriving in Apricale

"Come on, you have to admit, it's incredible. Just 40 minutes from Nice. Parking right outside Edinburgh terminal. A pittance for car hire. The place has bars and restaurants. Flight times are perfect. There's even a wine we've never tried before....".

So it continued and by the time we were in the air I was sick of myself.
The night before we'd been treated to dinner, and, as usual just before a holiday, drank more than we should. Now the after effects of that indulgence helped shut me up, and drifting in and out of sleep I imagined what would happen after we landed.... pick up car, easy journey, nice Italian food, new wine..... then at 39,000ft over the Alps......

... I suddenly realised I didn't have my driving license. Aaargh, the shock was horrendous, the perfection was shattered. What a bloody idiot. Images of smiley faced winemakers, restauranteurs and olive squeezers were instantly replaced by those of reluctant taxi drivers and endless queues for busses. As the initial shock slightly subsided, we tried convincing ourselves that this new reality, although very different, could be just as good.
At Hertz I went through the motions, "No, neither of us has a driving license". After a look only the French can give she said, "Ah, well, in that case...(pause, here we go, it is all over)... your only chance is for the DVLA to fax a copy". Mon Dieu, a glimmer, a faint hope, could it be possible?
Two hours of tension, calling Swansea and staring at a fax machine, but eventually it came through. What followed was the sweetest drive of my life. It was like sighting the promised land..

We parked up then made our way through the cobbled streets and understood why cases with wheels were a recent invention.

It was dark by the time we'd freshened up.

At the Piazza.... one place was still open and blasting out Frank Sinatra tunes.

By now I'd have eaten anything and declared it manna. What I got was their 'special'.

It lived up to it's name. Soft polenta and fresh porcini dribbled with grassy olive oil, flecked with pecorino. The soft mealy polenta infused with the woody, funky aromas of the porcini. Delicious. And, a first taste of the local wine, Rossese di Dolceacqua. This one a 'superiore'.

Enzo Guglielmi's 2006 was a lovely old style Italian, real strength of flavour- bruised plums on the nose, very minerally, a sourness too but balanced by a richness and sweet black fruits. All was once again well with the world... very well in fact.


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