On June 30 I was invited to live the Naviglio DiVino experience. Naviglio means canal and DiVino is a word pun. Divino means divine. But also recalls “di vino”, meaning “of wine” and refers to the peculiarity of the soiree. We Italians love to play on words!
On board of the Burchiello boat (provided with panoramic terrace, air-conditioned cabin, toilet and bar service) you sail along the canal from Padova to Stra (and back of course), tasting local wines and small samples of food. We departed at 9pm (appointment at 8.45 at the dock) and we were back at 00.15am. Each soiree you can taste wine and food of a different wine company and a different restaurateur. You can check the future events (private events can be planned) at the Padova Navigli website.
Burchiello was the name of the ancient boats used to sail in the Lagoon of Venice or between Venice and Padova. Clearly they fell into disuse with the modern era. But in 1960 the Tourist Board of Padova decided to launch a river navigation service along the Brenta Riviera.
Naviglio DiVino – my experience
I loved the thing! I have to say it. First of all we got on the boat terrace. We were given a wine glass and a glass holder necklace (that you can both take home as a souvenir of the soiree) and a super kind lady, representing Ca’ Lustra wine company, offered us the first wine tasting. She was so sweet, always smiling.
The sailing was pleasant and calm. One hostess with a mic told us some facts and anecdotes. But not all the way, just here and there. So it was informative but not intrusive or boring.
The locks experience was also fun. You have to know that all the Veneto is crossed by rivers and canals that connect every city to each other and to the Lagoon. But these canals have not all the same altitude. That’s why locks (with gate sluices) were built. Did you know that… The original idea to build the first locks was of Leonardo Da Vinci.
The boat enters the lock when the front gate is closed. Then an operator closes the back gate (using a remote control). Then the front gate is slowly opened, in order for the water to flow in or out, so that the boat can continue its navigation.
It was also nice for me to see things from a different perspective. I know well the places along the canals, I rode along them several times by bike. But on a boat, comfortably seated enjoying a pleasant breeze and with a musical background is something else, isn’t it?
Then the time of the tastings came and we went below deck to the cabin. We sat at a table with a poor couple that had to bear our blog-centered manners: taking pictures of everything, for example. I tried not to take many pictures, or to take them quickly not to bother them too much. As a result all the pics of the food samples are blurred. Sorry!
I can tell you that they were all delicious, but super tiny, so you have to dine before! The finger food samples were prepared by Scarpon farm and the wine shop and cicchetteria (cicchetti are tiny samples of food, typical of the Veneto region) La Sosteria.
Each sample was accompained by a different wine of Ca’ Lustra (the smiling lady): Moscato, Nerello Mascalese Rosso, Colli Euganei Rosso “Marco Polo” and Spumante Fior d’Arancio. The cicchetti were:
- crostino with stracciatella pugliese (Apulian delicious buffalo milk cheese), peppers and oregano
- turkey terrine with pistachio nuts and giardiniera (pickled vegetables)
- crostino with taleggio DOP (soft cheese) and jam made of plums and lavender
- shot glass with ricotta cream with ribes jam and taralli crumble. The ricotta cream was so delicious that I was terribly tempted to lick the glass.
- tasting of a liqueur: Brodo di Giuggiole or Estregone by Scarpon
The giggly duo
I had much fun also (and probably mainly) because I was with two fellow bloggers with whom I get along really well: Alberto and Lisa (BlogdiPadova). Alberto is very kind and polite. Lisa and I are very similar. We are both quite giggly. As you know, I usually do not drink. At all. But that night I tasted all the 5 wines (I had just a sip or two each). But for me it was enough. Moreover Lisa drank all the wine I left. So you will surely understand that as a result we were both slightly… not drunk but… cheerful. So we basically laughed at everything. I can’t show you a picture I took of her that night cause she would kill me. But that was the emblem of our euphoric state. In fact I entitled it “Ode to Joy”.
In conclusion, I would surely suggest to attend one of these Naviglio DiVino soirees. It is a way to spend a nice and out of the ordinary evening (I mostly saw couples and small groups of friends). So, make sure to be in good company!