Travel to Italy

Travel to Italy
Travel to Italy

Italian Recipes

Italian Recipes
Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Pila or Bust-Eating in Valle d’Aosta

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If you’ve never been to Italy, or even if you’ve been there, it may be difficult to fathom that sometimes the most amazing meal can be found in the most unobvious place. A delicious meal can be found in the middle of a bustling highway at an Auto Grill; or on a cold and dark mountain road in the middle of the day.

We were driving up a cold and foggy mountain road in the middle of the day and had lost all hope for finding a decent meal. It’s the middle of June and we were in Valle d’Aosta. It was supposed to be sunny and warm.  We approached a charming small hotel and restaurant Chacaril and were not sure what to expect.
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We entered and saw a quaint room warmed by a fireplace filled with workers in plaid shirts and construction boots. Sitting in their gorgeous hand-carved chairs that almost looked too small to accommodate their bodies, they paused while putting in the next pasta bite as if to say, “You found our secret place.”
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Mario welcomed us with a warm smile and “Buon giorno!” and took us to our table. He suggested we start with a  typical antipasto plate from the Valle d’Aosta region: nocetta (which is like bresaola),lardo (lard), butter, sweet chestnuts, and honey. This is how you do it: butter spread on a slice of homemade bread, a little nocetta or lardo, a drizzle of honey. Unbelievable flavor combination that I would’ve never imagined trying. The sweet/salty flavor of the lardo mixed with the creamy butter and the surprise drizzle of honey on top. I was in love with this new antipasto.
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I could’ve been satisfied with eating that all day. But we had to move on to more typical plates of Valle d’Aosta.  Penne with panna, speck, and zucchini. We also had agnolotti with artichokes and fonduta sauce.
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After the pasta, there was room for one more dish from the region: grilled polenta with cinghiale. Cinghiale is wild boar and they made it with porcini mushrooms.
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The last diners left and Mario had time to sit with us and talk a little about the products of Valle d’Aosta. He brought us a wine from the area that was so rich you could taste the earth, flowers, and grass from the mountains in every sip. He brought us Fontina D.O.P. cheese. A cheese that he explained must be eaten with this wine. The cheese was phenonemenal and I ate 1/2 of it before taking a photo.
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The Fontina D.O.P. also had a honey that goes perfectly with it: a delicious chestnut honey.
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We were there for hours. I watched the rain drizzle outside as I sipped my wine and ate the last bite of cheese while listening to Mario and Fabrizio talk about food in Italy compared to food in America. The difference in the quality of products and the way they are enjoyed.

Maria offered us the crostata they make for dessert. I’m sad to say there wasn’t room this time for another bite. We will return to visit our new friends at Chacaril and definitely have a slice of crostata.Winking smile
CIAO from Italia! I hope you are enjoying these posts and photos.SmileThank you for stopping by!!

30 comments

  1. I was smiling and getting hungry while reading this. I love the passion that "this cheese must be eaten with this wine"
    Glad you're having such a wonderful time and stumbling onto little adventures like this one:)
    keep eating!

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  2. YUMMMM!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Yes I am enjoying the posts and pictures! Have fun and enjoy your every bite!

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  4. What gorgeous photo's I feel like we are there with you! In spirit for sure... lovelys post!

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  5. What I loved even more than the food was the description of your host's level of hospitality and interest in being sure you sampled the best of his region ... I miss that when I go to small diners and restaurants in America ... we are very much pre-packaged and assume that diners don't want interaction with the chefs and restaurantowners ... au contraire!

    Safe travels! Enjoy your time in Italy!

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  6. Mmm, Italian food porn! Thanks for sharing your fabulous meals and travels with us. Hope you can make room for the crostata.

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  7. What a delightful find for you. I clicked on the link you provided, such a beautiful little retreat tucked in the mountains. They have a special offer that says *Be Happy By Nature*...how fitting! Your photographs and description of your three hours are lovely. Nothing like the pride that comes with a family run business.

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  8. This reminded me of why I loved Tuscany so much... the food and the people, it is just such an experience! Thank you for sharing and letting me feel like I was there with you:-)

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  9. Italy and cheese..how many variations and versions do they have! Love the picture of the drive way. Good that you had fun. Hugs.

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  10. Oh my goodness you just made my mouth water at all that delicious looking food. Fabulous.. I'm so jealous of your adventures overseas! What I wouldn't give to be on a trip like that right now!!

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  11. woah, you have me so jealous. What a special meal.

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  12. wow, decadent food!!! i wish i were in italy right now~~

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  13. Thank you for introducing us to such wonderful flavors combinations. It's wonderful you get to travel and visit family, I was wondering where you were. I love going to Greece and visiting my grandparents, the food seems to taste so much fresher and I always learn something new. My last visit we made Restina wine, not my favorite, though the family loved it! Enjoy & have a fabulous time.

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  14. Can I just say that I'm incredibly jealous of your trip. I am dying to travel to Italy and this post has just increased my interest.

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  15. Sometimes the best places are found when you're not looking for them, this secret hideaway looks amazing! And I love sitting inside with the rain outside, it feels really nice and atmospheric that way :) And I want to try some of that cinghiale!

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  16. We are in Italy all the time! And we love your site! So glad we found you! Thanks...:)

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  17. Sounds like you are having an amazing trip dear Lora!! Keep enjoying life travels and food. your friend, Shulie

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  18. Love reading about all the tasty delights you're experiencing in Italy. Thanks for sharing and now I want some grilled polenta with cinghiale!

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  19. What a lovely post! I so enjoyed reading about your eating adventures! Safe travels…enjoy your trip!

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  20. The food is very different...everything looks so delicious! The cheese and the chestnut honey it must be sensational. I wish I was there :) Enjoy your vacation :)

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  21. I'm loving all of your posts on Italy! I want to eat that entire plate of pasta and all of the cheese. YUM!!! :)

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  22. Such a wonderful trip, sounds like you are savoring every moment of it!
    I just made your Catholic Guilt cake and we all enjoyed it;-)
    Have fun, how could you not;-)

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  23. So much good food Lora! You'd have to roll me out of there! I'm suddenly craving pasta and zucchini. xoxo

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  24. I am totally jealous..:)) everything looks amazing Lora..ohh that antipasto look incredible.. Looks like you are having great time!!!

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  25. I love to travel vicariously through blogging friends. :) This sounds like a phenomenal trip with fabulous food! I hope you're having a wonderful time!

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  26. How fun to ride along with you! I recently discovered a local source for lardo and am completely smitten with it. Hope you are feeling great and enjoying a wonderful trip!

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  27. Micsoda jó dolgok történnek!!!!!

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  28. That chestnut honey sounds delicious and your trip is making me want to go to Italy ASAP! Happy Eating!
    -Karriann Graf
    http://creativecookingcorner.com

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  29. Yes, I could just eat plate after plate of that antipasto plate (with maybe just a sliver of crostata!). What a delightful meal~

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