Thursday, January 20, 2011

More to Sestriere than beauty and skiing

Sestriere dressed up for the 2006 Olympics
This seems like a good time to start slipping in some of the posts I have been meaning to get to for ages. I think I will layer them up between some of the recipes that I have been trying to get to as well. The weather is nice out, but it's still mid winter so indoor activities are not out of order until we get some fresh snow and the outdoor playtime is back on the map.
Whenever our guests, or us for that matter, are headed up to Sestriere ski area, we always make a point to recommend stopping by at least 2 places, (there are more, of course) when you find yourself in this part of the alps, Carlo's and Constantino's. Two diverse places, but within a stones throw of one another, the main ski slopes and usually, open year round, no matter the season. Wander up Via Louset after turning from SS23 that brings you to the center of town and it won't take you long to discover Carlo's wonderful handiwork spilling out from his "Trucioli d'Autore" shop's front door. You might even encounter a few flying wood chips as well.
Carlo Piffer 
His graceful and clever wood sculptures are also found liberally sprinkled all around Sestriere and throughout the upper Chisone valley, gracing various nooks and crannies with wooden trees and all sorts of memorabilia depictions from the 2006 Winter Olympic games that happened here.
Olympic Flame
He has quite a range of small whimsical ornaments in his shop that are made with a laser cutting process,  making sure that you will find a little something that will fit into your luggage and price range.  You will also find the more substantial and lovingly hand carved pieces that run the range of domesticated farm animals to the various wildlife that live and wander this part of the alps. Carlo also has an interesting and often humorous take on realistic house hold pieces that have a twist to the functionality that turns it into an art form rather than for it's mundane function. 

Table with drape
Festive Trees
High Country Cows
His handicraft is not to be missed when you are in Sestriere and even worth the gorgeous drive up our Chisone valley just to stop in and say Ciao!
You can admire and maybe purchase some of Carlo's lovingly hand carved sculptures and afterwards, satisfy your tummy's rumbling for something to take the edge off your hunger, with a local specialty called Gofri.
Goffrie, Yogurteria, Creperia
Constantino's Gofri joint
 Thin crispy waffles filled with savory fillings like prosciutto crudo and mozzarella or gorgonzola and walnuts or you can head straight for the Nutella filling. You can find a recipe if you feel the urge to make them yourself and some photos of making Gofri here, from a post I did a while back.
Nutella Gofri
Otherwise, I recommend that you head over to the Torre dell'Orologio plaza and grab a seat, if you can, inside or out in this tiny "hole in the wall",  that serves up fresh, fast, and ever so tasty, gofri and crepes as you like them. Savory or sweet, you really can't go wrong with these made while you wait, sandwiches  and pair them with a glass of red or white local wine from an excellent selection of Piedmontese varieties. It's a great choice after hitting the slopes or wandering around the area, to enjoy the beauty of the mountains surrounding you everywhere.
Outside seating year round
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