I had a dream the other day. I was sitting on a big fuchsia bench. I was holding a box of baci di dama (hazelnut cookies). Next to me there were some strangers I was talking to. Who knows what I was saying?
Then, suddenly I saw something swirling in the air. The sky was clear and the sun was already low on the horizon, drawing some long shadows. This thing keeps swirling in the air, driven by a gentle breeze, but I cannot quite see its outline. I know what you must be thinking! No. It was not a feather. It slowly landed on the box of baci di dama and, even before I could identify its shape and colour, I was able to recognize its scent: it was a graceful, large and very scented truffle slice. I woke up, called a few friends and on the first available weekend I left. As Sepulveda said, "And if it's all a dream, who cares. I like it and I want to keep dreaming."
So here we are. With my two lifelong friends and our girlfriends. Few but good, as we say, just like the wines we want to taste.
Actually, this weekend marks a special anniversary: I have been dating Lucia for twelve years. A long time, isn't it? Time has flown by and, between studies and career, we hardly noticed. I feel that we no longer have much time to waste. I have been wanting to ask her to marry me for a while. The setting is perfect: the hills with their almost autumnal foliage, the small hotel, with attention to every detail and surrounded by vineyards where the last acts of the grape harvest are being staged. The first truffles are starting to appear on the tables and in the shop windows of Alba's Via Maestra, while preparations are underway for the World Truffle Market, which is due to open shortly. I have checked this out, including all details, with my friends. They suggest that the “fateful moment” should be scheduled on Sunday, right at the end of the weekend which, according to our plans, promises to be flawless.
We will spend our Saturday visiting an experiential and interactive wine museum, which we have heard about, have lunch in a typical Roero trattoria, take a walk and then take a few selfies on the big benches and panoramic viewpoints (just to arouse some healthy envy on the social media). Next we go on a tasting tour of a historic family-run winery where we can talk to the owners and learn the stories and secrets of their wines. What about dinner? ça va sans dire…it is on the main floor of an old historic building, a dinner with truffles, excellent wines and traditional dishes reinterpreted by the flair of an up-and-coming young chef. We will hear more about him!
So it is on Sunday then, but where? I hope she will not take it badly, but I plan to do it during a cooking class. It will be me, her, my friends and Mrs Elvira, our teacher and helper in staging this. We will be juggling hunchback cardoon flan, plin and amaretti-stuffed peaches.
Well, I am off. Wish me luck. I will tell you later.
It is Sunday evening, I am at home and, looking at the lights of the city from my large window, I am sipping some Barolo Chinato: I want to keep the magic of this wonderful early autumn break alive.
You are curious to know how it went, aren't you? Romantic things, no matter what people say, are always intriguing.
It all went well!!! Mrs Elvira welcomed us into her very tidy kitchen, explained everything about flan, introduced us to the art of kneading and then a bundle of rolled pasta appeared in her slender hands. "This is a plin, Miss Lucia, please open it and check if the stuffing will fit, according to you". Voilà! Here comes the ring, Lucia is speechless, I ask her with my hands dirty with flour: "Come on, shall we get married?” Excitement, tears, hugs, toasts and lots of joy. Lunch is excellent, although prepared by us. Lucia, on cloud nine, said yes but on one condition: we will have to get married here, on these hills. I do not know where she read that there are some beautiful little country churches, which are quite intimate and in absolute harmony with the landscape.
Who knows how long she had been dreaming of this moment? Who knows if this is how she imagined it? It feels good to discover that chemistry can also be found in dreams. And if, as Saint-Exupéry said: "Make your life a dream and a dream a reality", this time I really think I have nailed it.
“And if it's all a dream, who cares. I like it and I want to keep dreaming.”