Valle d”Aosta is located in an extremely mountainous area. It is the smallest Italian region and borders France to the west and Switzerland to the north. It is dominated by some of the highest majestic mountains in Europe called the “Four Queens of the Alps” including Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Cervino and Gran Paradiso.
It’s the perfect place for a “White Christmas”; and nobody does it like Bing Crosby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA45TnJQxhU. In Italian, listen to “Bianco Natale” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0HT7D7JCTQ
There are four languages spoken in this autonomous province: French, Italian, Valdotain and German. Many feudal castles were constructed in this area to serve military functions.
This region of Italy is a haven for skiiers; with 23 ski resorts and 170 ski lifts. Mountain climbers, rock climbers, snowboarders and winter sports enthusiasts flock to this area. The region is famous for “Torchlight Processions” around New Years’ Eve. In this province, Christmas Markets are called “Marche Noel.”
Holiday Events and Torchlight Processions
“Noel au Bourg” at the Fortress of Bord until January 6th.
“Marche Vert Noel” in Piazza Severin Caveri in Aosta until January 6th.
The 2oth annual “Courmayer Noir in Festival” through December 13th. www.noirfest.com
A ski competition in Pila December 18th-20th.
“Fiera di Sant’Orso” in Aosta January 30-31 that originated in the year 1000.
There are many “Torchlight Ski Processions” on December 30th and 31st in this area. Some of the places to see these pocessions include in the towns of: Ayas-Antagnod, Breuil-Cervinia, Chamois, Champorcher, Courmayeur, Etroubles and Gressoney-Saint-Jean.
The Valle d’Aosta Alpine vineyards are Italy’s window to Switzerland.
There are many “Vino con Vista” opportunities on the “Route des Vins.” This is a regional circuit of wineries. The vineyards are generally terraced and follow the “adret” that are located on the southern, sunny side of the mountains. The highest vineyards in Europe are located in Morgex-LaSalle. Stop in the village of Morgex and have a glass of the prestigious Blanc de Morgex. The village houses a chalet with a tasting room and a restaurant. There are 22 DOC wines in the “DOC Valle d’Aosta”
Orchards and vineyards line the valley. Fresian cows graze in the pastures. Fontina cheese is produced in this region. Regional specialties include beefsteak alla valostana that is breaded, fried, topped with fontina cheese and ham an reheated in the oven on a slice of polenta. Order a cup of Valle d’Aosta coffee with a shot of grappa to accompany your yummy chocolate dessert or regional tegole and torcetti almond cookies.
The Buon Ricordo destination in Valle D’Aosta is Hotel Ristorante Casale in Saint Christophe on Fraz Condemine www.hotelrestaurantecasale.it. The signature dish is Scaloppa alla Valdostana cooked with prosciutto and fontina cheese. The collector plate shows three Fresian cows grazing in the sunny pasture.
Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com