Today was our first day exploring the Barolo area. Barolo is considered (by many) one of the most prestigious wine-making regions in all of Italy. We have been to Napa multiple times and have also visited vineyards in New Zealand and Australia, so we were excited to do some tasting in Italy.
James decided to wake up early this morning, so we got a head start to the day (somewhat) and had an early breakfast. The place we are staying at, Le Torri, provides a breakfast. Like the last place, it is mainly fruit, yogurt, meats, breads, and cheese. When we got there, they had already set out a high chair for James with a baby plate and utensils. Everyone has been so nice and accommodating for James. We had a couple of cappuccinos and James ate most of a yogurt. The rest of the yogurt, he smeared all over his face, hands, etc.
We had a 10:00 tour and tasting at GD Vajra. Everything went pretty smoothly. We always hope that James will quietly stay in the Ergo baby while we do what we want. Well, we are 9 nights into this trip and that hasn’t happened yet. He immediately wants to get down and run around like a crazy person. Luckily, we were the only ones at that tasting so it wasn’t a big deal. While we were trying the wines, the sweet tour guide brought out some toys for James to play with. He was in good spirits, and it all went reasonably well.
We wanted to get some lunch at 12:00, but James fell asleep in the car and the plans changed. We went back to the hotel so that a James can take a nap. Flexibility has really been the name of the game on this trip.
After James woke up, we ate at Loconda Del Centro which is about a minute from the hotel. James gnawed on a bread stick while we ate. He did have 1 meltdown, but he recovered and the meal wasn’t a total fail. He also tried some veal tartare and seemed to like it!
After lunch, we walked around the small town where we are staying, Castiglione Falletto. We found an open area where James could run around and had a relaxing afternoon.
Next up on the agenda was a tasting at Bartolo Mascarello. We went into the town of Barolo and walked around before the tasting. We saw a school letting out for the day and all the kids coming off the bus to meet there parents. Justin wore James in the Ergo baby and he seemed very content. We had high hopes for a nice quiet tasting, but baby James had other plans.
Our tour guide was about 15 minutes late, but at first things were looking up. James was being sweet and flirting with the other people in our group. Awesome. However, once we started, things took at turn for the worst. We went into the wine cellar and James started fussing so I took him outside. A first, he wanted to play with a pitchfork. I decided that that was a bad idea. James acted like I just killed his best friend. Then, he wanted to sweep the floor with the brooms that they had outside. Ok, I can deal with that. He likes to sweep at home, so I though this would keep him entertained for a while. Unfortunately, he can’t maneuver the broom over concrete as well as he can on the hardwood floor at home. Well, that was just too much to handle for a 15 month old. He cried when he tried to sweep, then he cried when I took it away. Not just a gentle wimpering, but a full blown scream on the top of his lungs. Justin said that all he could hear was screaming outside the cellar, and it made him super stressed out. At least I wasn’t alone in my misery.
I spent the rest of the “tasting” outside with James watching “the wheels on the bus” on the iPad. The nice tour guide did bring me out a very appreciated glass of wine.
We had dinner at L’Argaj down the street from the hotel. It was very good and luckily we were one of only 2 tables. James was reasonably good. He ate some breadstick, grilled octopus and panna cotta.
The day had its highs and lows, but overall we are still very much enjoying being out in the countryside. I think we all just feel so much more relaxed here and making great memories as a family. One day we may look back at this experience and say “what were we thinking?” But I think we will also laugh a lot at some of the things that have happened!