OCTOBER TEMPTATIONS

Su, 17 September 2017
OCTOBER TEMPTATIONS
The magic of autumn is approaching, October awaits us with its delights: enveloping fragrant smells, warm colours and rich flavours enrapture us before the harsh winter sets in. I am going to have another swim… just one, I promise! Then I will lie in the sun gently caressed by its delicate rays. To..

The magic of autumn is approaching, October awaits us with its delights: enveloping fragrant smells, warm colours and rich flavours enrapture us before the harsh winter sets in.

I am going to have another swim… just one, I promise! Then I will lie in the sun gently caressed by its delicate rays. Today it is impossible to resist the temptation of La Darbia's heated pool! Swimming a few strokes or resting at the edge of the water I absorb the magnificent scenery while the Autumn breeze fondles my hair.

The vineyard has turned many different shades of red, the ripe hazelnuts are dropping off the trees and the grass is covered in a blanket of golden leaves. The island of San Giulio, the Sacro Monte and the hills surrounding the lake have flared into a blaze of colours: in fact, October is accompanied by warm, bright shades and an animated atmosphere which merge with the haze of the lake and enwrap us in a romantic halo, truly enchanting.
Many enjoyable activities can be organized at La Darbia with the arrival of the first days of Autumn. The large chestnut trees yield their ripe fruit and the chestnut harvest begins: we put on walking shoes or boots and, equipped with basket, we set about collecting the nuts which granddad, Nonno Mario, will roast over a crackling fire. These tasty roasted chestnuts are to be eaten hot, rigorously peeled by hand, and accompanied by a glass of red wine on afternoons spent outside in the open air.

Appetizing snacks based on local hams and cheese can also be prepared in our cosy cellar, where a range of wines produced in the region can be tasted. Lovers of mushrooms also come by La Darbia to go for a hike along the country trails and pick some fragrant ceps, porcini mushrooms, in the woods. You can either climb uphill in the direction of Mottarone or head towards the beech woods around Mount Mesma to enjoy a cool morning in sheer freedom.
October is the best month for anyone who likes going for walks; there are long scenic routes which present no difficulty. The promontory walk takes you along the edge of lake Orta as far as Piazza Motta, then continues along via Fava and Litarda Road. However, if you are travelling by car, simply go straight on to Lido di Gozzano, where the five-kilometre-long walk to Pella begins amid woods and the lake. In the square in Pella it's well worth popping into the ice-cream shop, Antica Torre, to try one of their delicious crepes, their special coffee “caferinn de la turr”, or an aperitif.
And what about food? The restaurants in the surrounding area offer outstanding menus in Autumn based on risotto, polenta, roasts and stews, pumpkin gnocchi and the traditional tripe dish. The gastronomic initiative “Profumi e Sapori d’autunno” advocates a seasonal menu in many of the area's restaurants which is a perfect opportunity to sample specialities on an appetizing itinerary from the lowlands to the lakes and the mountains of Ossola.

It's impossible to get bored in Piedmont in Autumn: several events are organized throughout the period beginning with the open-air, antique markets. In Omegna, Arona and Stresa you can wander around stalls selling unique curios from bygone times while Gravellona hosts the “Sagra del cioccolato”, a chocolate fair, and in Mergozzo there is a “ Street Food & Beer” festival; in Santa Maria Maggiore there is a pumpkin-themed, cultural festival known as “Fiori di zucca” and in Arona the Mercato Europeo offers a rich and varied series of appointments.
I dare say if planning a holiday there is plenty to do with all sorts of trimmings! If you wish to avoid the confusion of markets, restaurants and fairs … you can also follow my example and go for a warm, pleasant swim in the pool!

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