Cantina Pietrantonj, Vittorito

Christmas is over, but with winter well under way here in Abruzzo, snow all around us and freezing temperatures, there is nothing better in the evening than snuggling up in front of the fire with a good glass of Montepulciano and a good book. With this in mind, I thought I’d introduce you to our favourite Valle Peligna vineyard and the superb wine they have to offer.

Pietrantonj. We love this place. Discreetly tucked away in the small hilltop village of Vittorito you really have to search this cantina out, even though it is right in the centre, but believe me it’s worth it. Eight generations of the Pietrantonj family have been making classic Abruzzo wines here – Montepulciano, Cerasuolo and Trebbiano in particular (red, rosé and white respectively) – with records dating as far back as 1791. But there is nothing old and stale about it.

As the eighth generation, Sisters Alice and Roberta Pietrantonj have taken on the family business with zeal and are producing some spectacular, award winning wines. But you know it’s not just the wine that makes this place special, it’s the people and its spirit.

What do we think?

We love a morning/afternoon out to Pietrantonj. You are always sure to be greeted with smiles and an incredible, genuine hospitality…even if you turn up on the hoof (as we often annoyingly do). It makes this Cantina stand out from the bigger Cantinas of Abruzzo. There is no snobbery (good job otherwise they probably wouldn’t let me past the front door!), just a real passion for their work and enthusiasm for the wines they produce, that you cannot help but be consumed by.

What do the kids think?

Luckily for us the kids love it too – a trip down to the Cantina cellar to see the big antique wooden barrels that tower above us, followed by exploring the small Renaissance style (I think!) garden, looking for the fish in the pond and a quick game of hide and seek is the pay off for mum and dad boringly wanting to try and buy wine!

Our favourite wine?

It’s a tough one! The Pecorino (white) is really good at any time of year, but on these dark, cold winter nights it is most definitely the Cerano Riserva that brings a glow to our cheeks. Cheers everyone, Happy New Year!

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Festa del Letargo, Anversa degli Abruzzi (It’s hibernation time!)

Abruzzo is known for its festas. Often more than one a week just in our valley from the end of May to the middle of September celebrating everything from cherries, to pigs, to artichokes.

Abruzzo is also known for its bears. One of the only locations left in western europe where you still find bears in the wild. What better way to close the season in late November than to combine both? The ‘Festa del Letargo’ a.k.a. the Hibernation Festival.

What was on offer?

In Anversa degli Abruzzi, the village square was buzzing with stands touting local produce – oils, cheeses, meats and more; information from the WWF, the Majella national park and  an array of the nature reserves that scatter our area; companies that offer activities such as nature watching in a glass cube – a true window to the outside world – trekking, biking and, in addition, an array of artisan goods made from natural, sustainable products including the beautiful woollen blankets that i love from the Porta dei Parchi agriturismo.

The activities on offer included a trek into the mountains – one suitable for children, another more difficult one for the more experienced trekker, activities for children to let them discover nature and a book presentation for a new book about the bear.

The restaurants of the town all worked together to provide a festa menu for 15 euros all from locally produced food and later in the day there was singing, roasted chestnuts, polenta.

Although the village of Anversa is only small and maybe the number of visitors was not as high as the organisers had hoped, certainly at the time that we were there anyway,  it was a lovely way to spend a morning / afternoon. Stunning scenery combined with good food and a real sense that the people of Abruzzo are realising the importance of the mountains around them.

Loving unexpected days off school

An unexpected ‘ordinanza’ from the mayor closing the school due to heating problems means an unexpected day off school for us! For a lot of mums this means a lot of organising for last minute childcare – luckily for us, it just means stolen moments of fun and family time. And who says we’re not learning?…

Our activity today included craft, nature, maths and biology. It was to make bird feeders for our garden. I obviously, liking all things chic, wanted something nice. What I got were two plastic bottles with twigs poking out of them and filled with bird seed…plus two happy faces!

Welcome to the new look blog

Although the old blog was functional, it never did look as pretty as I wanted it to, so here I am moving to WordPress in the hope that I can make the blog look and feel as good as it does in my head. The past four years of our adventures in Abruzzo are on here too or can still be found on metheboysandouradventures.blogspot.it for the time being.

As ever there will be ramblings on our daily life as British immigrants here in Italy, sharing our experiences bad and good, talking about our mini adventures and all the lead up to the big year long RTW trip with our ‘bimbi’, scheduled to begin in September 2018. I’d love to hear your comments on what you think!

A very Jamie dessert…

With Uva Fragola (Strawberry Grapes) growing in the garden and homemade grappa from our friends neighbour it felt rude not to add chocolate and try Jamie’s dessert recipe. Our impatience, however, meant we skipped the freezing the grapes stage  😑 #cheekytuesday

Hillwalking Heaven!

I thought it was time to make the most of the Autumn sunshine and the perfect conditions for tackling a mountain, so on Tuesday I headed up to the peak of Monte Mattone via Rifugio il Lago.

Sitting at 1515m alt it is not, by far, the highest mountain on our doorstep but the views are 360 degree spectacular and well worth the 900m+ climb. To top it off, I took with me my own personal mountain guide and author of the Cicerone guide Walking in Abruzzo (above), the formidable Mr Stuart Haines. Thank you Stuart for the company! Enjoy the photos…

In the footsteps of wolves…wolf pooh anyway!

Where we’ve come from.

Where we’re headed.

Good view of the peak.

Nice spot for a bbq.

…or to fill up on water.

Rifugio Il Lago

The view!

The formidable Mr Haines!

At the summit cairn just to prove I did it!
Spot of sunbathing at 1400m+ anyone?!

Flo!

Max!

Giant Funghi.

Highlights of 2015 #5 – Community spirit at its best

Ecological day in our comune means literally getting your hands dirty. What a great time we had meeting neighbours and cleaning up our community at the same time – I am still shocked by how much rubbish people dump, surely by 2015 most people have heard of a bin?

Like anything here in Abruzzo, time spent together is not truly time spent wisely unless it involves good food and wine at the end of it. Thank you Mr Mayor for personally inviting us along!
All picked up from the side of the road!

Team Casa Faiella/Vallecorvo

Still at it

Here comes the pasta!

The youngsters causing trouble again.

Seconds…don’t mind if I do! 
The Kitchen Squad
Enough Sausages?
La Griglia
Mr Mayor among his people
W.I. – You’d be proud! 
The Coffee Boy