Noreen Farooqui, writer, copywriter, behavioural scientist, strategy, strategist, University of Toronto, English, business psychology, behavioural economics

La Braja: Part 2

Continued…

Those who wish to learn how to concoct these tasty delights have the opportunity to do so with La Braja Tours. Guests custom design the week-long visit that includes cooking lessons, tours of Piemonte vineyards, and excursions to seasonal attractions.
“Our clients are asked to submit a questionnaire about four weeks prior to the beginning of the program. I use this information to plan the week’s events: what dishes to prepare, and any other cultural activities that are taking place in the given time period,” says Kerri.

The outings provide guests with the opportunity to indulge in activities of their own liking and have ranged from the everyday to the unusual.

“We have had requests for truffle hunting which is usually done between 2 am and 6 am because the dog that has to sniff them out is the most relaxed, and there is less noise than during the day,” says Kerri.

truffles

Other events include seeing the Palio at Astis on the third Sunday in September, the Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea for Carnivale, and the truffle fair in Moncalvo. Not all the excursions have to do with food though. There have even been visits to the thermal baths in Acqui Terme, and shopping for gold and jewels.

The guests are housed in Cascina Valfossata, an Italian farm villa with a pastoral setting, located about 3 kilometres from Montemagno and La Braja Restaurant.

With the tour, Kerri gets to indulge in another one of her passions: teaching. In the morning, guests participate in hands-on cooking with each of the chefs. The whole family gets involved in the action.

“Each part of the tour involves a different member of the family. The food preparation is hosted by my husband, my father-in-law, or myself, depending on what the day’s menu entails. The meal is served by my cousin Christian (Antonio’s son), and the wines are explained by Antonio. The day continues with a visit to the vineyard where wines can be tasted, as well as purchased. Depending on the season, it may even be possible to assist in an actual grape harvest,” said Kerri.

LaBrajaWine

The vineyards of Monferrato produce some of the best wines in the world, and La Braja has a shop adjacent to the restaurant that includes some of the region’s wines.

“Our largest selection is Piemonte wines, but we also carry wines from other Italian regions, plus international. We have over one thousand labels in the wine store, with prices ranging from 13 euros to 750 euros per bottle. One favourite is a white from the Trentini-Alto region, a sauvignon called La Foa,” said Kerri.

For those who want to indulge in gourmet delights at home, there are specialty products exclusive to the store.
“We have a large selection of preserves that we make, sauces for pastas, jams, various pickle products, and another very Piemontese thing, the bagna cauda, which is an anchovy and garlic sauce served warm for dipping cooked and raw vegetables,” says Kerri. “We also have a large selection of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.”

Kerri cannot imagine living a life outside of La Braja. It is a little taste of heaven that she welcomes the world to come and enjoy.



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