Dry white wine in the UK is synonymous with Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon blanc but I’ve always been a fan of the lesser appreciated Soave made from grapes grown in Veneto.
Only wines from the heart of this region have the right to be called Soave Classico and they are deliciously dry, fresh and balanced with scented, stone fruit flavours.
Imagine my excitement then, when we arrived at our next aire just a few steps away from the impressive medieval walls that surround the ancient town of Soave.
The stunning walled town of Soave
To enter Soave, you have to pass through one of the towering keep gates and once inside, you’re transported back in time. Many Italian towns are charming but the buildings are a bit dilapidated and graffiti adorns the crumbling architecture however Soave is different. The buildings are in fabulous condition or are being renovated, there are plenty of independent shops and a plethora of delightful bars, trattorias and Osterias. While we were there, we even witnessed shopkeepers coming out and sweeping the roads in front of their premises.
More images of beautiful Soave
Our first full day in Soave happened to be Valentines Day. Now this is a fateful day for Mr. B and me. I have a chequered history including long fought battles with mental health and the last time we celebrated Valentines Day was over 20 years ago. In a desperate and somewhat foolhardy bid to distract me from the deep depression I was in at the time, James decided to take me out for dinner. Unfortunately for me, him and all the other romantic couples in the Quayside Hotel Restaurant, I broke down and sat crying through the starter and we ended up leaving abruptly. We’ve never celebrated it since!
As we walked into Soave however under an azure blue sky, feeling the warmth of the sun and a gentle breeze, then, sat holding hands as we drank our morning espresso, I have to admit, I felt the stirrings of romance.
We ended up at Enoteca Il Drago, an imposing restaurant with a large covered stone terrace from where you have a sweeping view of the town and The Castello above. We proceeded to enjoy one of the best lunches we’d had for years. We began by sharing Carpaccio of polpo; slithers of octopus that melted in the mouth with zingy pickled pepper, capers and tiny sweet cherry tomato’s. For mains we shared spaghetti with black truffle and pasta with artichoke. What the Italians do best is elevate a simple pasta dish with just one or two ingredients to something spectacular. Drizzled with local olive oil and liberal black pepper, the handmade pasta was exquisite. and each course was paired with a local wine.
Long live Valentines Day
After lunch, we continued to wander the cobbled streets of Soave, stopping now or then for a glass of Classico and exploring the stunning Duomo Di San Lorenzo Martire which has incredible paintings and frescos.
By the time we walked back to Ada, it’s fair to say, we had well and truly laid the ghosts of Valentines past to rest. Romance was alive and well after all!
After the past few weeks of walking 8 to 10,000 steps a day in Avignon, Verona and Venice, my body was really grumbling so a day of rest was in order. Mr. B went for a long run and I spent the day with my feet up. It was Saturday and by lunchtime, more and more motor homes began assembling alongside us. Eventually the aire was full with 19 vans squeezed in. The reason became apparent on Sunday morning. Once a month, there is a huge antiques market in Soave with over 100 stalls. The town was bustling, with bars and cafes full and hundreds of people milling round perusing the many beautiful things for sale; everything from archaic farm implements to pristine China and vintage clothing.
Market Day in Soave
We enjoyed the spectacle and atmosphere and indulged in a few more glasses of Soave Classico! We’ll Definitely be stocking up on it before we move on!
Drinking Soave Classico back in Ada!