Verona, Italy

All right, maybe I was a tad hasty with my rant other the day about the hotel. It's' not exactly the kind of thing one finds welcoming at 2 in the morning after a long day, a show, two hour drive and a stomach virus. Granted the decor ain't my bucket of blood, but the bar is wonderful and the staff fabulous, everyone is there to accommodate whatever request.

Today's a day off and here's what I did. Slept until 11 then got up and went to the gym for a work out. The stomach isn't 100% yet but certainly better than a week ago this time. Danny rang saying he had Philip one of our drivers, a car and we should go into Verona. We'd both been talking about getting haircuts, so met down at the concierge to try to arrange something. It all got a bit complicated so we simply decided to get in the car, go to Verona and see what happened. The traffic into town was a snail's pace and took forever to get there, then parking was a nightmare. Philip finally found a place to park and by this time I was absolutely famished as I'd not had anything to eat since last night. The first order of business was to get a bowl of pasta and some pomodoro sauce then maybe find a place to get a couple of haircuts. We'd only walked a block or so when Dan's cell phone rang. It was Guy saying he, Paul Crockford and Pete McKay were at an amazing winery and the chef from our hotel had popped in and wanted to prepare an amarone risotto. At this point a snap decision was made, we turned round back to the car and hightailed it to the winery.

In the heart of the beautiful countryside of Valpolicella, Italy is a small family owned winery. For the last couple of nights in the hotel bar we've been enjoying a delicious locally produced wine that turns out is made just a few miles away from grapes grown on the same land that has been in the family for four generations, it's name, Montecariano. It was arranged for a tour of the winery which led to the hotel chef's offer to come to the winery and prepare the special risotto. Amarone is one variation of wine made there, a robust, large and complex wine with a high alcohol content.

Danny and I arrived just in time to be greeted by the Gini/Galtarossa family and began the wine tasting, the second or third tasting for Guy, Paul and Pete, followed by massive bowls of the most exquisite light purple risotto I've ever tasted. This is where the words fail but a few that come to mind are, steaming, creamy, chewy, buttery, cheesy, mildly sweet, perfectly salty and majestically delicious, all served of course with bottles of Montecarino wine. A serious adventure and one more example of something I experience every time I am in Italia, the generosity of the Italian people, they cannot do enough for you. Please visit their web-site at: and if you come across a bottle of Montecariano don't fail to buy one. But, be patient, as with all wine it must be opened an hour or two before drinking to allow the full flavour to grow and mellow. Squisito!!!

After the purchase of many cases of wine, thanks and goodbyes....we came back to the hotel around 6 and off to our rooms for siestas. Dan and I never did get those haircuts, but decided our hair looked all right as it was.

So long,