01 March 2008

Goodbye 2006 Winter Olympics, again, Hello Remodel time

Two year ago this past week the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics came to a close. The significance for Fabrizio and myself was that it was the culmination of our goal to return to his families home and restart a business. Fabrizio's parents had come to Serre Marchetto in the early 60's, bought a piece of property close to where Fabrizio's maternal grandfather grew up and built their "La Baita". With help from both sides of their families, they created a life that housed and fed them and a good portion of this valley and folks from Torino who heard that they served up great mountain specialties. Like most "Baite"( rustic mountain houses), wild game atop polenta, bagna caĆ¼da, risotto, salami, Toma and Tomini cheeses were served up to the delight of all, by the sheer will and resourcefulness of this extended family. When they arrived from the bottom of the hill literally, the road to the end of the historically popular footpath to Grandubbione was just getting started. They commenced serving food with no phone for making reservations, electricity generated by their own NAFTA generator that pumped the water up from the nearby stream. They were pioneers and worked hard to create a life in the mountains that supported them and created a welcome stop for a days outing to the mountains or a atmospheric spot for a special occasion celebrated with friends. Over the years they added on rooms and a dining hall with a disco on top to make those weddings and new years occasions a full package to look forward to.
Fast forward a number of years and time passes, tastes change and dreams transmute.Fabrizio and I meet and decide to return to the family home which has seen his parents retire to the hunting and gathering so dear to their hearts and tending the family garden. We decided to make the rooms into a bed and breakfast next to the restaurant which continues on with others who are young and energetic for running a restaurant. When we arrived we proceeded to start sprucing up the building and rooms and hung out the proverbial sign, open for business. Piedmont, Torino, and our Italian alps aren't as well known as our more famous neighbors like Tuscany, Milano and the Lake district or the Dolomites, but that was to change. The 2006 Torino Winter Olympics (photo album here ) and Paralympics put us on the map. Have a look at our signed Olympic flag that we'll feature somewhere when we're done. My website for Bella Baita brought us all manner of English speakers from all over the world looking for rooms for the games. When we saw the need for facilitating people finding places to stay we helped everyone that we could find somewhere that suited them to house them closer to the event or their family member, many whom qualified close to the start of the games. We met a lot of folks on line and then finally in person when they arrived for the games. It was an exciting few weeks during the events. Even the months before with all the preparations and scurrying about we did, facilitating the various stays and managing endless details that came up over the course of many months prior kept us riding a wave of excitement. My blog was born out of this period of time with a desire to use some of the writing I had done during the course of correspondence with others trying to find their way around, in a mostly unknown area and a desire to try and bolster the visibility of our B&B business. I also realized that there wasn't much information about this area singing it's charms prior to the Olympics and Paralympics. I have worked steadily to put us on the radar ever since. We are enthusiastic to promote our area and all the myriad of things to experience of which food and drink are a well known part of the equation to our guests both near and abroad through our commitment to creating interesting cooking and wine courses and other possibilities percolating behind the scenes. We created an association in order to do just that , called TEM, Touristic Ecosotenible Montana, or Sustainable Mountain Tourism. Now with our association, we are able to grow this side of the business and expand into different areas of developing various business opportunities for this area. We have had a great response to our small custom classes, that has grown along with our business. We work with a number of small producers and aritsans , so we hope to expand on creating more opportunities for all.
Whilst the Olympics were on we used the "disco" room for our grand central head quarters and meal room always with the desire to transform it into a more functional multi purpose room.
Now since two days after our New Years guests left after January 6th, Fabrizio with a little help from his father and friends has been on mission. Remodel the "disco " into the Olympia room by May has been his mantra. This a driven man who is putting in almost 12 hours every day to make this happen, almost single handed! We're living with a lot more than the usual dust these days as the project migrates over with every trip in and out of the "Olympia" room to here. It's starting to take shape and everyone is starting to be excited. After much ripping and shredding, and his father more than once mumbling something about "spending his whole life building this up only to have Fabrizio tear it all down", the huge wood beams are up and the wooden slats are covering the massive insulation job done just prior to the beams going up. Progress is being made. The once dark disco is starting to reflect some light and the remodel theory is starting to take a bit of shape and reality. Both of his parents are looking a little happier these days, and Momma is singing again, which is a sure sign of approval. That is what is shaking here at Bella Baita and the "BB View" is clearing up too so I can carry on with writing about things going on around the area and with us. I'll keep on with a recipe or two to keep some of you interested and me committed to writing down my scraps of paper into coherent legible recipes that others might use who haven't a clue what my kitchen short hand is all about. Now where is my recipe for.......

A few remodel photos....

Our beams come from the Germansca valley from whence our BB view looks into.
We ordered them from our friends sawmill down the road in San Germano.
They prepared and delivered them to our door.

Then and Now
Beams in place and now we're making progress.
Stay tuned as the transformation continues.


joe@italyville.com said...

Hi - Will you be decorating the room with any memorabilia from the Olympics? If so, I might be able to help:) Joe

rowena said...

This is so exciting...what an undertaking! I'm looking forward to how things will shape up in the end but tell me, what are you feeding that man that he has so much energy?!? 12 HOURS on the job? Now that's what I call nose to the grindstone!

Pasticcera said...

Thanks Joe anything you can come up with we might find a place with some of our memorabilia.
Rowena, the trick is to just keep feeding him regularly especially home made bread. That's the key to this Italian boy.

Bookmark and Share