Saturday, November 7, 2015

Swept Away to the Alpine Region of the Valle d'Aosta

This month our ItalianFWT group brings you to the Valle d'Aosta region of Italy. Not one of the first region that comes to mind for the average tourist, but if you love the outdoors I can't recommend this region enough. I posted a preview earlier in the week.  I took my first trip to this lesser known region for my honeymoon in October of 2013 where we spent a few nights in the town of Aosta at an agriturismo La Viggni de Crest. I had fortunately been to so many regions in Italy I wanted to discover something off the beaten path and was so glad that I chose this region for so many reasons.

Travels through the Valle d'Aosta
I have so much to tell of this wonderful region so I'll have to share it in tidbits and highlights of what I loved the most. We spent our honeymoon there for a few nights and were ready to immerse ourselves in the great outdoors.  

Green mountains, snow capped mountains, vineyards steeply terraced with mountain wildlife roaming about.  Castles scattered tucked high up on hillsides overlooking the valleys below.  
Fenis Castle
Castello de Fenis
Hiking in the Aosta Valley
Hiking in the Aosta Valley
 Fortunately we were also spending my birthday there and spent one of the most memorable experiences of our honeymoon making our way to the top of Monte Bianco.  The steep ascent to the top that only brought us so far and to get to their newest addition you had to walk the rest of the way up some stairs.  I can only imagine the folks that actually climb some of the tallest mountains in the world as I found it challenging to breathe at those levels.  We picked a perfect clear day where you could see for miles, including other mountains such as the Matterhorn, Cervinia, Gran Paradiso, Monte Rosa.  The color of the blue from glaciers up there and the pointy snow peaks were breathtaking.

Monte Bianco Mont Blanc
Monte Bianco

We also experienced that same day this amazing spa, Pre-Saint Didier, I highly recommend if you're in the area.  You pay an entrance and get access to their buildings that have multiple floors and rooms each specializing in a different spa treatments, saunas, turkish baths with herbal salts, whirlpools and best of all their outdoor natural thermal spa pools with the Alps hanging over you while you take in this amazingness.

Throughout our days we stopped in some small towns to explore like Courmayeur, Aosta, Valtoney and Cogne were so peaceful strolling about watching the locals live their daily lives and getting lost on some hiking trails with a bottle of wine and stopping to enjoy the peacefulness all around you.  What's better?!
Town of Cogne in Valle d'Aosta
Town of Cogna
Teatro Romano in Aosta
Teatro Romano in Aosta

Town of Aosta
Town of Aosta
The wine of the Valle d'Aosta
The Aosta Valley is divided into 3 different parts: the Upper Valley, Valdigne, the Central Valley, Valle Centrale, and the Lower Valley, Bassa Valley. The Valdigne is tucked right at the bottom of Monte Bianco, which is the tallest mountain in western Europe. Here the most prevalent grape is prie blanc, a still and sparkling white wine. The Valle Centrale has the majority of the unique grapes of the region like Torrette, Petite Rouge, Fumin, Cornalin and more. This area has the largest production of winemaking. Lastly, the Bassa Valley has grapes that you will find most common to Piedmont as this area is bordering Piedmont to the south. Here the majority of the grapes you will find are nebbiolo as well as dolcetto and freisa. The nebbiolo here is closer in comparison to those of the Valtellina that are tucked in the alpine area of the Lombardy region.

Due to the influences of France you will find the labels of this region partially in Italian and French as it's a bilingual region. Seeking wine out from this region is not an easy task either in the US and luckily I had brought home a couple bottles to keep and enjoy at a later date. I had written about my wine experiences in the Valle d'Aosta previously that you can read about.
Agriturismo Le Viggni de Crest
The food of Valle d'Aosta
In the spirit of preparing for this feature on the Valle d'Aosta I wanted to prepare a typical dish of the region to share with you that was so simple to prepare. I made a Costolette alla Valdostana, also known as Veal Cutlets Valdostana. I used thin slices of veal that were doused in egg and rolled panko breadcrumbs in friend. Since fontina is a cow's milk cheese that is typical of this region I used that between the cutlets. Topped with a little parsley and viola! You've got a taste of the Valle d'Aosta from your own kitchen.
Costolette alla Valdostana
They may not be the easiest wines to find, but during the winter there are some hearty cuisine to be enjoyed and future thoughts of a getaway to experience the pure beauty that this region has to offer.

Follow along with my other blogger friends to their tour of the Valle d'Aosta. You can also join our live conversation Saturday November 7th at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.

Join the rest of my fellow bloggers:
Culinary Adventures with Camilla - Pluot-Glazed Duck Legs and Les Cretes Torrette 2011
Rockin Red Blog - Over the Hills and Far Away
Enofylz Wine Blog - Veal Ribs with Fontina with Valle d'Aosta Torrette Superieur #ItalianFWT
Cooking Chat - Ziti with Kale Pesto and Roasted Broccoli
Food Wine Click - They Sure Love Fontina in the Valle d'Aosta
Confessions of a Culinary Diva - Valle d'Aosta Fonduta & Wine
The Wining Hour - Valle d'Aosta Petit Rouge & Fontina