Thursday, 18 June 2015

Relaxing retreat | Trentino


I just had to blog about this excursion we paid to do while staying in Garda. We booked through our Thomson Lakes & Mountains holiday advisor and it was just incredible – a real eye opener and a great way to experience local life, cuisine and sights. The excursion programme was excellent, with options near and far – although we spent half of our holiday money booking them. For Flavours of Trentino, we were picked up at our hotel at 11:00 and returned back at just before 19:00. We had a guide on the coach with us and then local guides at each point throughout the day.
Our first stop was Canale, a beautiful medieval village, home to about 40 people. We only had half an hour here, which was enough time to walk the narrow cobbled streets, admire the frescos and visit the Casa Artisti (Artists’ house), This was a beautiful old building, which housed art work by local artists, run by volunteers. There were many different styles on display and the view from the open windows was just breathtaking, too. Our guide said the village people normally live in Canale during the summer, as it’s too hot on the lake.
From here, we stopped at Lago di Tenno (Lake Tenno). It was a short walk from the drop off point to the lake itself, down a dirt track – but there was a small coffee shop en route and we stopped for gelato on the way back. The lake itself was pristine, a beautiful glistening turquoise, which looked so inviting – if only I had packed alternative attire. The spot was so serene and unspoilt, with swimmers and local people basking in the early morning sunshine.
The first actual excursion was a visit to a small family run cattle farm. Caseificio Fontanel is in the small village of Fiave. Alessandra was our guide and she showed us around the grounds, explaining they have over 50 cows which product 1,100 litres of milk per day and they only keep female cows, with the males going to the slaughterhouse *sad face*. The conditions for the poor animals looked so cramped and because they don’t own the surrounding fields, they don’t often get out either, which is just horrible. Our visit concluded with a tasting of a variety of the farm’s cheese, with meats, bread and local wine. This was lovely, but for a family who sat down in the corner and just filled their boots!
 
Next in Fiave, we stopped at Ca de Mel, an aviary, Cristiano was one of the beekeepers and went into the observatory to show us the bees in action. He said they have over 400,000 bees and 40 hives and he goes locally to source the bees. After a short demonstration, explaining the honey making process, we went into the casa to try some of the produce. We tasted two types of honey: acacia and eucalyptus, before visiting the shop which sold jars of honey, as well as confectionary and beauty/skincare products.
One of my favourite parts of the day was stopping at the Cascata Rio Bianco, an incredible waterfall, which flows from the Brenta Dolomites. We managed to get up close and the spray was so refreshing! There was also the option to walk one of the trails which led to the top of the waterfall, but I don’t think we really had time as it was a short stop. It’s a shame because the view would’ve been amazing. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there’s a lovely botanical gardens. I wish we had more time there as it was so idyllic and would’ve been perfect to watch the world go by and enjoy a picnic.
 
The day finished with wine tasting at a local winery – Cantina Tobolino. They produce 23 varieties of wine and we were lucky enough to try four, as well as their extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, limoncello and grappa. Everything was accompanied with local cheese and meat. The wines we tried were Rebo (red), Nosiola (white), Lagrein Kretzen (rosé) and San Vigilio Moscato Dolce (sparkling ‘spumante’). We went to the shop afterwards to make our purchases (in my case, a bottle of rosé and two of spumante!) and I absolutely loved the petrol-style wine pumps. People were genuinely filling up five litres bottles at a time! The Italians have the right idea!

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