New Years Eve is hard for dogs, so we celebrated our last day of 2015 – and our last before the AIP – with a day trip and then easy dinner at home. Perfect.
We drove north to the Sud Tirol, where Bressanone and Vipiteno are alight with Christmas cheer. They are beautiful towns at any time, but during the Christmas season they sparkle. We go for the Christmas markets which fill the piazza’s. So pretty. Huge red balls hang in the winter trees, and the 15th cobblestoned streets echo with the click-click-click of horse hooves. Booths sell hand-painted glass decorations, wreaths, chocolate and crafts. At any point you might smell vin brule, heady and sweet, or Austrian sausage, fatty and spiced.
The Sud Tirol borders with Austria, and everyone is bilingual: Italian and German. This is the land of breads filled with whole grains and seeds, of Sacher Torte and Apple Streudal, of goulash and speck and beer. One really doesn’t go to the Sud Tirol for a large mixed salad, especially when one hasn’t yet started the AIP.
Before leaving, we had our normal breakfast vegetable hash with some minced beef. And on return, we had a mountain of salad with slivers of roast pork that I’d made the day before. So, it wasn’t like we went all-out for the whole day. But we did indulge. We stopped off at the decadent pasticerria in Bressanone for a late-morning coffee and pastry. We stood at a market stall in Vipiteno and ate venison goulash served with bread and herb dumplings. And, because our feet were freezing, we had an afternoon teabreak of hot chocolate and rum, with apple streudal and chocolate rum cake. It was good.
On the way back to the car, I was somehow sucked into a very beautiful food store. An aisle was filled with boutique balsamic vinegars, exotic olive oils, salts and dried herbs. We bought some treats to complement the AIP: smoked salt from Denmark, dried garlic slivers, organic apple rings, and something which we’d had on our wish list for a long time – a ceramic jug of extra virgin olive oil, which we’ll refill forever, thus protecting the oil from oxidisation.
So, we had our last cake, our last coffee. And prepared ourselves for the next step in our experiment with healing and health.
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