An Italian New Year in the Dolomites

After leaving Sweden and its expensive alcohol policies (6 pounds for a pint of beer must be considered a robbery) I was hoping to score bargains in Italy. Of course, skiing has never been a cheap hobby so the prospect of saving any dough was soon met with four expensive words: ski rental and ski pass. With New Year’s prices.

The Italian, his Auntie B, a group of 20 other Bari skiiers and myself flooded the tiny village of Folgarida in the Dolomites on the 31st and were ready to take on the slopes. The Italians in their stylish gear, I, in my 10-year old faded ski jacket.

However, New Year’s Eve got off to a frightful start with a girl in the group having to be transported with a rescue helicopter off the slopes. Luckily, she only suffered from concussion. My thighs on the other hand felt traumatised after only 3 hours of skiing. Although I had wanted to stay in bed for the rest of the night I knew I had to show face at the New Year’s Eve supper at the hotel. No rest for the wicked – or the gluttonous.

Unlike Swedes, which tend to have a good organisation sense, I find it’s quite the opposite with Italians. It can easily take 20 minutes to sit down for dinner and even though dinner starts at 8pm it doesn’t necessarily mean people are there. Half our table was empty when the first course was served. My mother would’ve had a nervous breakdown by that time.

They soon dropped in however, and the 7-course meal could begin. The food was very rustic and Alpine heavy, featuring traditional Trentino ingredients such as polenta, risotto, filo parcels with onion, savoury cheesecakes as well as fish (trout) and meat (everything from cow, pig and moose). The Italian and Auntie B managed to get a second serving of the filo parcels, which appeared from nowhere like a godsend. I focused my eating skills on finishing the semifreddo, one of my favourite desserts.

As the night progressed, Auntie B signed up for entertaining us. And by entertaining us I don’t mean our group, I speak about the entire hotel restaurant. As the tunes to Sade’s Smooth Operator trickled through the speakers, the Italian and I looked at each other with delight, this was priceless.

Auntie B was the star of the night. Although there were 2 hosts that were meant to keep the night going, they couldn’t match Auntie B’s enthusiasm. Just before the clock struck 12, she made everyone form the Locomotion and we hopped around to a carnivalesque song like Duracell bunnies.

It was certainly a memorable New Year and I went to bed with a smile on my face.

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