Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Stage 16: Plan de Corones Kronplatz
Today's time trial is so high up the mountain that they can't wear the TT helmet, use the aerobars or the solid back wheel. Part of the stage uses an access road for a ski resort--gravel and dirt. Nuts, but wonderful. We are among the highest peaks of the Dolomites, in the region of Italy called Trentino-Alto Adige. Trentino is the southern part. We are in the Alto Adige--the upper part of the Adige river.
Here they still speak Ladino, a German-influenced Latin. Even though we are in high altitude, there is an ancient tradition of winemaking here. It was first introduced by the Greeks, and then the Romans. In the Alto Adige the wines are made by small family producers and are drunk locally or exported over the border to Austria and Germany. As such they are Germanic in style. A typical bite would be Canaderli and Speghetti--speghetti and meatballs with local herbs and spices. One thing we discovered in Umbria is that in the different parts of Italy there are also unique herbs that are used in cooking, and they really do have their own flavors so you would have trouble trying to fake them at home.
No, you can't just buy the same stuff at home. Just like you can't find rainforest orchids growing wild in Griffith Park. It's called terroir, ladies and gents--local unique diversity in product due to unique local earth composition, microclimate, history and culture. And it's one of the most satisfying reasons to travel the world. To try new stuff, meet new folks, get a fresh perspective on life. You never come back quite the same as when you left, and that's a good thing.
To get the sense of the wine style in this region, you can sample some from Bevmo--see below.
Tramin Pinot Grigot at Bevmo
Viva Italia! Viva il Giro!