|The view from the terrace of Baita Bondella - postcard ready!|
I love travel and I love food. Put the two together and it's a wonderful trip. My trip to Florence has so far been my best culinary travel experience to date, but I still have many unexplored dining room and kitchens to encounter. One of them, if I want to live to see another birthday, will be soon, and will take me back to Italy but this time to the lovely region of Como. I have friends all over the place - Trinis at that. There is a saying, "Trinis in everything, like salt" and that rings true cause we are everywhere. Even near the stunning Lake Como.
It is there that my friend, from as far back as high school, the ever lovely Kisha and her husband, Stefano run Baita Bondella, gleefully located at Via del Colme 9, Brunate, Como, where it offers a magnificent view over the Brianza region and Milan.
Having been a patron of their Tobago-based establishments, I can give an honest-to-goodness plug for the personal attention to detail in everything they do - from the way Stefano prepares every dish, to the extra personal service and the genuine warmth they bring to the experience, whether it be via their daughters' childish charms, or, dare I say, Kisha's unique Trini touch (we Trinis are fun people!). It is indeed a true family experience, coupled with the pristine environment - clean, fresh air, nature trails, and if you're lucky, you can sometimes spot some of the other residents like deer and wild boar.
|Dining at Baita Bondella|
Kisha recommends the brasato with polenta, and polenta with cheese. They also have a wide variety of wines, which should satisfy even the most demanding wine palate.
Previously, the Montis ran establishments in Tobago, the smaller of the two islands of my lovely homeland, Trinidad and Tobago. Having moved back to Italy, the family first settled in Puglia but I guess once a dream has been born, it's pretty hard to ignore it.
Very early in my marriage, during one of our yearly trips to Italy, my husband took me to see this lovely baita in Brunate that he and his family had run for many years. He had left it to open a trendy type thing in the centre of Como. And I commented, "Its really lovely up here. What ever influenced you to move away?"
Famous last words. Eight years after that trip, he comes home one day ( in Puglia) to announce that he had taken up the lease at the Baita and the rest is history
|A sample of what you can expect from Baita Bondella - freshly prepared food and a variety of fine wines|
She loves Como, and explains why its charm enthralls her.
Well, its just beautiful. Lovely villas and palaces wrapped onto pine covered hills. Its like living in a postcard. And then, well, it is a very cosmopolitian area. Apart from the Italian dishes that one can try here, there are also Chinese resaurants and I saw an Indian one the other day. Lots of Arab stuff as well.
(No Trini roti shop. Yet. I am drafting my business plan as I type this, cause I am a wicked Afro-Caribbean curry star!)
And you can imagine, it has not been easy, with her moving miles away from her Caribbean home, her family and friends, to live in Italy. Yet, as a true adventurer, she takes it in stride. So, what are some of the unique and quirky charms that only a Trini can point out?
I still cannot get over the fact that stores close from 1 to 3 (in Puglia it was from 130 to 5) and then they reopen. What is the sense to open from 9 to 1? It has been explained to me but I still dont get it and never will.
Pigeon peas. The only place I have been able to find pigeon peas is in a small Latin American grocery in Milan that sells it at the beauty of three euro a tin. Yes folks I pay $30TT for a can of pigeon peas!!!
My little village is out of the main city of Como and like Princes Town (in Trinidad), we have our village intrigues, like who don’t shop there because thirty years ago, the man give me short change and that kinda stuff.
Still getting to know the place since I have been here for a little more than two months but so far I am liking it
($30TT for pigeon peas is really rough. But then I pay almost $60TT for a roti here in London. It's tough being a Trini expat, lemme tell ya).
And in true Kisha style, and almost thinking like me, she adds,
"Oh and did I mention the fashion and the cars? I have always been dowdy and frumpy but Como is making me look like a bag lady. In need of a make over!!!!
|Call Baita Bondella next time you're in the area|
And when I asked her what has been the best part of the experience for her thus far, she did not answer from her seat as manageress, or as Trini expat in Italy. She answered as mummy.
Seeing my kids integrate after yet another move. I spent all my childhood in one place and I am always petrified that I am ruining my kids' childhood by continually uprooting them. So, yes that is the best thing so far - that they have new friends here, and that they are happy to be here.Her girls are beautiful, by the way.
I plan to visit (soon, promise) so I will have photos and tales for sure, but if ever you are in Como, please do take a day to visit the area and Baita Bondella. You can tell them I sent you. No, you won't get any discounts, but you're sure to get an amazing experience. This I can guarantee!
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