More than a few bagged but happy, fumble-headed people are making their way back home this week as the Olympic party folds up its tents – for now.
Never mind the gluttony of medals and adrenaline Canada got to enjoy, from all reports everyone, win or lose, enjoyed the typical Turinese gluttony of food and drink as well.
So for fans on and off the official Olympic site now going through withdrawal, here’s what you need to keep the party going.
1. A bottle of fine Piedmontese red… Put your feet up and enjoy a glass of Barbaresco or Barolo. The Piedmont region, which is home to Turin, produces a number of fine wines, but these two big reds top the list. Both are from the nebiollo grape and both come from grape-growing areas, or DOCGs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – isn’t that a mouthful?), near Alba, south of Turin. Both not only go with just about anything, they’re capable of transforming even a slice of pizza or a salami sandwich into a feast. Either choice is a gold medal contender, but many would crown the slightly more elegant Barolo king of Italian wines.
You also can’t go wrong with the region’s other big red "B" – Barbera. It’s another fine pick that goes with just about anything, especially anything cooked in a tomato sauce.
If sparkling wines are more your cup of, well, wine, go for a bottle of Asti Spumante, Italy’s best and best known sparkling wine. It comes from the DOCG around the town of Asti, in the southeastern part of Piedmont. Simply living at Whistler at the foot of Whistler-Blackcomb (after all, Piedmont means "foot of the mountain") offers plenty of verisimilitude to celebrate anytime.
Whatever your choice, make sure you have on hand…
2. A platter of great appetizers… Never mind king of big reds, a few factors have coalesced to make Turin the big king of appetizers. Masters of pursuing life’s little pleasures and among the first in Italy to embrace the concept of a "café society", the Turinese, in fact all of the folks in the Piedmont region, know a good thing when they see it – a prolonged "cocktail hour."
Although the evening apertivi is officially not supposed to get underway until six o’clock, just about any bar, trattoria or restaurant serves up tasty little appetizers with drinks in the afternoon (wouldn’t that be a nice custom to start in Whistler?). Then there’s the merenda , a snack served between lunch and dinner – or perhaps the snacking and apertivizing run smack into each other in one long and pleasant indulgence. Either way, it all has a good purpose, given you can’t get dinner in any restaurant before the very continental hour of 7 p.m.