We needed some fresh air and a new adventure so we headed to Gran Paradiso Park in the Alps. Why wouldn’t we head to the sea, you ask? Gardner. She insisted on the mountains and was anxious to see the ibex and the minks. We never saw any, but we did see a lot of trees and fresh-water streams.
On the drive to the park we found an idyllic restaurant, Pont Viei, in Italy’s fifth smallest town, Ingria. There are somewhere between 11 and 15 residents, two of whom are the restaurant owners who live and work in the building.
We were greeted and served by owner, Fausto, who was surprised by our visit. When folks ask us where we are from, we say, “Cincinnati, Ohio,” and the response is, “Ohio!!” We always respond with, “Oh! Do you know it?” “No, where is it?” is always the answer. So today we said we were from Texas and Fausto says, “Austin!” “No,” we correct him, “Houston.” We may continue this experiment with all the places we’ve lived. Fausto told us we are only the second Americans to dine in his fine establishment. His English was fantastic for the amount of practice he has had and he took a special course to learn it. I love his determination and preparation.
The meal was a four course, set menu extravaganza. At the end of the meal, Fausto shared what can only be described as a digestif: sugar cubes soaked in 95% alcohol, one flavored with coffee, the other with mint. A crazy-strong after-dinner treat not for the weak.
We scooted out to catch the last bit of sunlight and Fausto ran to our car to tell us farewell and grazie. He told us to call him when we come back and we will certainly do both!