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Poolside snacks

Sunny and warm pool days are here!

Take it easy, read a book, listen some music, do poolside yoga, enjoy cooling drink….But somehow relaxing can make you grave for some snacks, right? We like to recommend small tramezzino sandwiches! Easy peasy to make even for a bigger crew and everybody loves them. Add some sweet melon wedges on the side and even some crispy potato chips and you’ll have almost a lunch!

You’ll need:

Tramezzino bread (soft bread slices without crust, sold in every supermarket)

For fillings use different kinds of spreads that you can find from shops and I always like cucumber slices, they taste so fresh!

Try these filling combinations or come up with your own:

Artichoke spread + prosciutto cotto + cucumber slices

Olive spread + thin salami slices + mayonnaise + cucumber slices

Mayonnaise + boiled eggs in slices + good quality tuna + cucumber slices

Hummus + rucola/basil + tomato slices

Tzatziki + cucumber slices + marinated zucchini slices + feta cheese

Ricotta cheese + cold smoked salmon slices + cucumber slices + chopped chives

Tip! All kinds of leftovers work like a charm (potato slices, grilled chicken, salads…)

Tip! It’s always a good idea to add fresh herbs, salad leaves…

Make one or two layers, cut into small triangle shape breads and serve! So easy, so tasty! 

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House dog

If you rent Agnes & Albin Atelje apartment, you will probably meet our house dog.

Lido is a mix of dalmatian and border collie, already 12 years old, but still full of energy. She welcomes you with all of her joy and energy, running around in the yard and maybe jumping around you, happy to meet new people. This lasts few seconds and then she is back to her normal self. It means back to laying under the sun, sleeping one eye open, watching the gate and giving a notice if something unusual happens. She will also regularly check if everything is Ok around the pool. It’s her job to keep us safe and she does it so well.

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Al mare

Days at the beach doing nothing but relaxing and enjoying are an italian summer institution.

Ligurian coast is 1,5 h drive away, so you can easily have a beach day while staying in Agnes & Albin. For a day trip we recommend Noli. It’s a small fishermen’s village and you can drive little scenic roads if you don’t want to take the highway route. Camogli is also very beautiful, but a little more far away.

We have a beach umbrella and towels for your day trip, so you can use free public beaches, if you don’t want to rent a beach chair from one of the many beach clubs. In summer time our only advise is – go early to catch a parking space!

Enjoy your day al mare, have long lunch eating Frutti Di Mare and drinking Vino Bianco. Don’t forget to taste a Gelato!

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Postcard from Genova

Greetings from Genova! We had a one night visit in Genova and I can already say, it’s a hidden gem.

A vibrant city with so many contradictions, small alleys and big palazzos, historical city of banks and fishermen, so many gastronomical delicacies like pesto sauce, farinata (kind of focaccia made from chickpea flours), everything fritto (!), ligurian olive oil etc…You can smell the sea, feel the sea breeze, walk in the cozy old town, visit beautiful museums and Europe’s largest aquarium, take a boat ride by the sea…

Need to do more exploring in the future, this summer Palazzo Ducale has a Magnum photo agency’s exhibition about Italy, that’s on my list for next visit to Genova!

By car: 1,5 hours drive from Agnes & Albin
By train: 1,5-2 hours from Nizza Monferrato train station (you’ll have to change train once)

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Time for bubbles!

It’s official! Great news! Majority of Italian regions will be ”zona gialla” starting from next monday and Piedmont is one of those regions.

Gialla means yellow and it’s the lowest corona alert stage in Italy. It means that we are slowly returning to normality. I’m not listing all the changes, only those most relevant to us and our guests. So starting from monday:

All shops will be open

Restaurants operating open air can be open for lunch and dinner (4 persons/table or even more if you live together)

Museums open their doors (for weekends you’ll have to reserve your visiting slot)

Movies & theaters & events can start activities, first in open air and with reservation

Sport activity, including training in team, is allowed outdoors, public swimming pools and gyms will open later.

You can move freely from one region to another, if those areas are both in ”zona gialla”. For us this means, we can drive for example to the seaside of Liguria!

Of course many restrictions apply to all of those activities mentioned above (opening hours, limited amount of customers, reservations in advance, keeping always distances…). And there is still a curfew from 22-05 in every region. On the other hand, being home early equals to good night sleep…right?

Now all thumbs up that this will be a start for a new, better era. At least, we can all enjoy this open air season! We are opening a bottle of local Metodo Classico -bubbles (made in champagne method) for these news, for sure! 

Contratto’s For England Rosè seems appropriate, so we can congratulate also them for taking steps back to normality 🙂 Kippis! Per salute!

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Safe travels

Renting a private holiday house from countryside is probably the most safe way to travel and experience the world this summer.

We are happy to welcome you under the italian sun with to most safe way. Wearing a mask in public areas, maintaining a distance for others and sanitazing hands frequently are a new normal here and everyone respects those rules. Also, when entering a shop or restaurant, normally your body temperature is being checked.

Italy has of course it’s own travel restrictions and from these links you can check which applies to you, when entering Italy.

Governments information site for travellers entering to Italy

Governments questionary site, provides same information as the site above, but in more user friendly questionary form.

Situation is changing all the time, as we know, but probably this summer you still need to have certificate for negative test result when entering (wild guess:)) and also when returning home (depending your home country and it’s rules, of course). Good news is that getting a test and certificate here in Italy is easy and affordable. Here in Piedmont you can take use of our pharmacies, which do rapid tests. Book an appointment in advance, go and take a test, you will have results and a certificate for travelling in few minutes. Prices range from 35-40 euros.

Stay safe everyone and hope to see you this summer!

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Holiday house mood

What makes a holiday house? What you can expect when you book your stay at Agnes & Albin?

Agnes & Albin is a private house in a small village. It means we have neighbours, but it means also that you will be in the middle of Italian true life. The house still feels very private and tranquil, it has a big gate and walls surrounding the yard. 

Big pool is a must in a holiday house, and we created one last summer! We are thrilled to open it soon for a new season.

Terraces and different kinds of ”hang out -areas” are also important. Big tables for gatherings, different spots for reading a book in the shade…

I could continue the list forever, but the most important thing maybe is a good mood and good soul. A place where you can relax in your own world. This house has the mood for a holiday, I can tell you!

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Nizza DOCG

Agnes & Albin is perfectly located at the ”monferrato” wine area, which is especially known for Barbera wines and producers of high quality Nizza Docg version. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nizza_DOCG

Our house is surrounded by quality producers such as Olim Bauda, Cantine Brema, Braida, Scarpa etc. Here is a list of some producers https://www.vinorandum.com/appellation/nizza-docg

Besides barbera also great whites are produced in this part of Piedmont and some great vintage bubbles at our bubbly neighbor town Canelli https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canelli

More about those later!

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Foggy season

Light rain, lots of fog, sunshine every now and then…sounds like very early spring! I’m sure nature is trying to preserve all the water and humidity for the hot summer. We already have a promise of summer, our camelia tree is starting to bloom! 

Long walks are the best things in this season. Air is just so easy to breathe and you can see how the nature is slowly waking up! Foggy villages are also dreamy, like walking in a movie scene. Totally different mood. And then suddenly comes the sun and the fog disappears and you are in a different world!

After walk some comfort food and a good book with glass of wine is recommended. It’s all about the balance.

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Aubergine tomato pasta

We love cooking and especially simple cooking, when all the ingredients can shine on a plate! That’s basic here in Italy and that is one reason I love cooking here so much. Nothing complicated, but simple things with quality ingredients. 

Right now I’m creating our house recipes. Recipes that will be easy to cook in our kitchen or outdoors. Recipes that will be great for entertaining. Recipes with quality ingredients. Lots of veggies, but local meat and frutti di mare, too.

This aubergine tomato pasta ticks the boxes! Easy peasy and super delicious!

Aubergine tomato pasta 
(For 4 eaters)

2 middle sized aubergines (or 1 big)
200 g cherry tomatoes
5 garlic gloves
grated zest of 1 lemon (only the yellow part!)
pinch of peperonchino
1 tbsp capers
pinch of salt
1 dl olive oil

Heat the oven for 200C. Cut aubergines into cubes (about size of a cherry tomato), peel garlic gloves, halve tomatoes. Mix all the ingredients above in an oven pan. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until everything is well cooked and you have a lovely aroma in your kitchen.

400 g spaghetti

Meanwhile your veggies are cooking in the oven, cook spaghetti al dente as advised in your spaghetti package.

When veggies are done, add:

squeezed juice of 1 lemon
black pepper, freshly ground

Mash veggies with a fork and mix well. There it is, your pasta sauce! (You can add some spaghetti boiling water, if your sauce is too thick) Taste and season with salt if necessary. Mix cooked spaghetti with your sauce in the oven pan. And finally add:

grated parmesan, as much as you like!
(Roasted and chopped hazelnuts or almonds, this is optional, though gives nice crunchy feel!)

Bring pasta pan into table and enjoy with a glass of barbera wine and great conversations.

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New year, new travel plans

We are so happy to set the table for 2021, may it be a good year for everyone.

For us the year 2020 was a year to create Agnes & Albin. Now we really hope this year will be a year to finally share it. We already have some reservations – thank you friends of Agnes & Albin! We are so happy you have thought of us when planning future trips.

Now we have opened our reservation calendar for independent Annex house (sleeps 2 adults + 2 small children) and we are also renting the whole property for private use for limited weeks this summer. 

Annex house reservations via Airbnb https://airbnb.com/h/agnesandalbinatelje

Weeks available for renting the whole property (bookings via email agnesandalbin(at)gmail.com):

26.6-3.7.2021

10-17.7.2021

7-14.8.2021

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Gardening season

This feel so crazy for a finn, but the gardening season is here! Now it’s the moment to cut trees and plant new ones.

We are getting our lawn fixed after the pool construction project and some new plants around the pool. Look, this picture says it all – it will be a green summer next year!