12 December 2010

the night we slept in linen sheets

We have this friend, this American friend, this American friend who is a member of the Veneto Region Sommelier Association.  He says there are two types of people who go through the courses and tests to become official sommeliers:  those in the business of making, buying or selling wine and those, like him, who are simply enthusiasts.  He is a teacher by day and a wine connoisseur by night.  Friday night we attended a holiday dinner of this association as a guest of our friend and his wife.

This year the event was held at the Venetian villa Hotel Relais Monaco outside of Treviso.

The amount of glassware at this type of event is stunning. I drank from six different glasses throughout the evening; however, there wasn't a distinction between glasses for white or red, none of that fussy business.  No two types of beverage were served in the same glass, though.

We sat next to the table of the guy who serves as leader of the association.  Each time a new type of wine was introduced to the table, it first went to his table, where each person's glass was filled simultaneously.

Our very own sommelier served all wine for our table -- this fine gentlemen pictured above. Not a drop was spilled, even with his one-handed pour. He stood at attention behind us ready to fill glasses as they emptied.  Have we arrived in heaven?

The first dessert was served after midnight; there were seven courses in all and it was all pretty good, despite the kitchen having to feed the masses.   The event started at eight with a Prosecco reception where I had my first taste of Cartizze Prosecco

While the wine and dinner were a delight, the hotel was a real treat for us common folk.  We wisely chose to spend the evening at the hotel which hosted the dinner . . . a fancy smancy hotel.  Have you ever experienced the luxury of linen sheets?  We ARE in heaven.

No really. I mean FANCY.  European hotels post the room cost inside the room.  During the off season, however, we paid less that an third of the cost during high season, even quite a bit less than the posted low season rate.  It pays to stay in these places when no one is there, and the service is great.

You know, the kind of places with fancy carpets and chandeliers.

Those with well-appointed bars and club chairs.  We never stay in these kinds of places when we travel. It was fun to feel a bit like a regular Fancy Nancy for the evening.  I wish I could say I prefer our budget hotels and apartments to a place like this, but that just wouldn't be true.  Wouldn't you like to enjoy a cocktail a the bar above before retiring to your luxurious room?  Ahhh..... 


Life is just about experiences.  This is one I'll remember for some time.  One might think that this would be quite a stuffy crowd.  This was not my impression at all.  I did not feel an air of pretentiousness from the people, nor from the staff at the hotel. No wine snobs present.  It was a pleasant surprise. In fact, my friend who went through the courses reports that the organization and individuals were always supportive of his efforts during the process.  Of course, he's a nice guy, so that helps.  Nice goes far in life, doesn't it?

Here's hoping for a bit of fancy in your life this holiday season!


  1. it looks like it was amazing. i´ll meet you at the bar any time you´d like;) hope all is well dana!

  2. The hotel looks beautiful and I am sure the food wasn't too bad either. What a nice little getaway.

  3. What wines did they serve and what kind of food? I love hearing about food :)
    The hotel looks amazing, what a great experience.

  4. Susan,
    We left the card with all of this info at the table . . . ugghh, I was not happy to discover that Saturday morning. I don't know the wines; I only remember specifically the different type of Prosecco.

  5. 'twas lovely indeed, jane and the city of Treviso is quite nice as well.

    I wish we had stayed two nights!

  6. Not just fancy rugs but worn fancy rugs. For some reason that seems more fancy to me. Old world-ish, maybe?