Sunday, 18 August 2013

A cool escape...

Every year in July we head off on holiday with the kids to the mountains in order to escape the worst of the Tuscan summer heat. In my opinion in Italy there's one ideal destination for this type of holiday, The Dolomites in the north east of the country. 

 I literally fell in love with the area from the first time my hubby took me (more years ago than I'd care to remember now!) and so it has meant my summer doesn't feel complete unless we've spent at least a week there.  There are several valleys to choose from. Some of the most popular are Val Gardena and Val di Fassa but since the birth of our first child five years ago we've made Val Badia our  choice spot for incredible, breathtaking walks through woods or easy treks on top of the mountain range surrounded by impressive rocky (and often snowy) peaks.  

With it being the most agricultural of the valleys there is always a busy, working buzz  where you see whole families out drying and raking the hay covered hillsides and young boys and girls moving the cattle from one mountain field to another. 

 My children adore discovering new adventurous paths, playing in freezing cold streams, running through beautiful,  flowering fields and of course we all enjoy visiting  the traditional Malghe (our usual halfway mark in a day's trek) for a lunchtime treat. In these rustic wooden structures found everywhere along the hundreds of marked paths you can try some delicious local dishes. Cheeses, cold meats, polenta with wild game stew, fresh yoghurt with warm fruits of the forest and my favourite the famous Canederli in broth ( balls made of bread, cheese, Speck and herbs) are all on offer. 

With entire mountain sides covered in pine forests, in the Dolomites there are many artisans working the wood into beautiful furniture, figures or accessories for the home. Of course this meant that despite being on holiday I couldn't resist making a couple of my favourite finds a part of the Ginger & Mora collection! More on that later...

Do you have somewhere idyllic you like to escape to with all the family? If you do, I'd love to hear about it.