I have just come back from a fabulous trip to Turin, I was asked by Ford to come and join them for a couple of days whilst trying out there new Vignale luxury car range. The Ford S-Max, Kuga and the Edge. After landing in Turin we were taken to the parking bays to pick up our car for the journey to the hotel. I have always liked big cars so I was not daunted by the Edge a huge family size car, one that all 5 of you can get in even when your kids have grown from children to young adults and teenagers - lots of seat and leg room. Our Sat Nav was started, and off we went it was a far better than the one I have in my car. Travelling abroad can also be a bit strange especially when its night fall, but the car just guided me and we didn’t have any trouble navigating the city centre and its little side roads, arriving at our first hotel in good time.
We checked in to the Hotel Villa Savoia which is in the centre of Turin over looking the river which was very nice. We had canapés and drinks before getting picked up and driven 5 minutes away, to a beautiful restaurant Circola dei Lettori, we were going to be eating in ‘La Tampa’, which translates to hole. This stunning building was a Palace many years ago. Our menu consisted of 6 delicious courses the food and wine we had were delicious. After our evening meal we went for a little wander around the city, we passed the Egyptian museum, with the biggest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside of Cairo - it has two huge statues outside, guarding the entrance. We then took the short drive back to the hotel most of us decided to say for a little night cap before we were off to bed, we knew it was going to be a long day’s driving tomorrow to a new location, so to bed it was for me.
I was up bright and early the next morning and the view from my balcony was breath taking - the sun was up and glistening on the Alps in the distance. My room was spacious really comfortable and wanted for nothing, the large king sized bed was what I had needed for a good night sleep.
Breakfast in the hotel was served nice and early with a selection of cakes, pastries, meats, and for the healthy one’s fresh fruit and yogurts.
Again the cars were ready for us and I opted for the Edge as I said before it was a great drive, very comfortable spacious and with it being automatic a dream to drive. I was the last one to parked up the night before, so I was the one to take the lead. We had been told when you start to go up the hill stop before you get to the top make sure you are safe, pull over and just look at the view, you will see the whole of Turin with the Alps in the back ground. Well, to late was the cry, I just got carried away enjoying the drive as we started to descend, I knew it was to late we missed it. Well I will have to get someone to send a picture.
We were headed for Alba to a vine yard belonging to the Cerretto family - I think it was due to take us about 1.20 hours across country - we did a little bit of motor way driving so you could really put your foot down and experience the sheer luxury with strength of the car. I loved it if I didn’t have 4 kids and a husband it could well be the car for me
We all seemed to arrive pretty much together, and just stood in awe at the view in front of us, 97 hectares of vine yard and hazel nut trees, neatly cris-crossed the landscape with the odd Farm house dotted here and there. What better way to appreciate life than sitting there in the nice warm sun sipping wine and with a view to die for life couldn’t be better. We were introduced to Frederico, a third generation whose family own the vineyard and all the surrounding land. He gave us an insight into how it all started and after many years of struggling in the last 10 years something happened and things just started to slot into place and now they are a thriving vineyard with 160 hectares of estate owned vineyards 4 wineries 17 different wines and 150 employees how good is that his father still comes daily to visit. We had a full tour of his cellars to see how the wine was stored and the different types of wine they produce, then upstairs for the bit I like, we had a little wine tasting whilst we were there, along with some home grown hazelnuts. The setting is something off a film, set we had the choice to stand on the balcony or to go in a futuristic bubble which stand out on a ledge to do the tasting but we opted to stay out in the fresh air. Frederico then introduced us to two really great tasting wines, I just wish I hadn’t been driving I could have really appreciated them.
We got back in our cars and went for a spot of off-roading around the Cretto estate to see where they produce all the vegetables specifically grown for a salad that is renowned in Alba and put together by a 3 Michelin star chef Eurico Crippa of the Piazza Duomo Restaurant. It is known as the Insalata 22.214.171.124 a salad that depending on what time of the year is put together consists of either 21 – 31- 41 -51 individual pieces. After seeing and tasting a selection of ingredients in the greenhouses off to the artist house where we were going to be served lunch. This is where Frederico’s family allow artists to come and stay and its free to use, just to give them inspiration, but who would not be inspired with views like this, After lunch we were informed that the Insalata that we had, had actually had 100 ingredients in it, it was just beautiful to look at and the taste was unreal. Our mains were veal in pasta, again this just enough followed by cake and ice cream, again we tried a couple more glasses of wine.
After lunch I decided to try a different Vignale car so I opted for the S-Max this is more what I need with having a 4 grown up children. Driving through small villages, and very windy roads the car really handled the corners well, and again with it being automatic going up steep inclines the car had no problem handling any of it, a real joy to drive. We stopped off at a little church that the Ceretto family let artists work on whilst they stayed with them - its multi-coloured and very creative - and it bring lots of visitors to the area, Again the landscape is just incredible.
Back in the S-Max for a short drive, all still in convoy off to go truffle hunting. I have to say its something I have never done but to watch the dog doing it was really good fun when we split into 2 teams to see whose dog dug up the most. Well need I say more, ours won and we were going to sample our winnings later that night.
Our last destination before heading back to our hotel was Bricco Rocche Winery, this is set right in the centre of the Barolo area up on the top of a hill with this amazing huge glass cube. You have 360 degrees of pure breath taking views. While we were all taking in the view Federico allowed us to taste a glass of Bricco Rocche 2005 - they only produce 3000 bottles per year - this bottle alone would cost you 350 euros, how lucky were we. The wine, the location, and the sun setting ,you couldn’t want for anything more. I didn’t want to leave the view but we had a little more driving and this was taking us back to our final nights accommodation and we hit the Sat Nav and we were off again, this time only a short journey to Piedmont. The S-Max drives great, really comfortable, and very easy on the steering you could almost forget you are actually driving.
In Piedmont I stayed in the Vincafe, a great little city bed and breakfast, the room was huge and had the great balcony were you could sit and see all the hustle and bustle of every day going on around you.
We all met at the Enoclub for our evening meal, we ate in the amazing room a cellar of some sort they obviously let you use it for large parties, and we sat around the biggest table I have ever seen in my life . Our menu again was incredible, I have never had Fondant potato with black truffle but I would definitely recommend it, that was followed by noodles with bra sausage ragout, I was full after that but then they brought Guinea fowl with hazelnuts, I new I was going to struggle with that one, but I did manage a mouth full, and the Amaretto and chocolate panna cotta desert, I could only look at, but it was all so amazing I new I was going to be a stone heavier, then when I got off the plane. This was all finished off with some well chosen wine and again Frederico gave us a huge bottle of Barolo to have during the meal.
Heading back to the hotel everyone decided to have a night cap, I just had one and headed for bed as I knew we had an early start the following morning. I slept like a log the bed was huge and so comfortable.
Next morning up and down stairs for breakfast, all the locals were sitting having coffee and tapas before heading off to work, I just had a pastry and headed off to the S-Max . All ready to go Sat Nav set and off we went, we were off to the Car Museum and to meet an incredible character called Arrigo Gallizio who designed the car doors on the Lamborghini , he gave us a guided tour and he told us all about the cars he designed over the year. Also he showed us a concept car that his son had produced from a drawing that Arrigo had done 50 years earlier it was stunning, but it hadn’t dated it looked like it had been made for todays market. We even had a look at one of the original Fords, the Ford T made in any colour as long as it was black.
Back in the S-Max and this time for a short drive for a bit of chocolate, we went to visit the Guido Gobino, you couldn’t come to Italy and not try some chocolate. We were spoilt with trip around the factory to see how their chocolate is produced and what goes into making it. We had a special treat set out for us, we were going to make our own chocolate truffles and to make something from fruit and chocolate it was really good fun and we were allowed to bring home what we had made, not sure that my kids appreciate that I had made them, but still they were edible. After we went for lunch which was rather unusual but different they had prepared meals for us that incorporated chocolate and hazelnuts in the starter main and obviously desert. Before we set off for the airport and my final time in the S-max destination all set, and away we went. Again both of the cars I drove first the Edge and then the S-max handled really well, whether it was off roading, driving stop star in peak time city traffic, or cruising on the motorway I really did enyoy the drive, if I didn’t have 4 kids to have to chauffer around I think I would be tempted into getting the Edge it’s great.
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