La Darbia was first mentioned to me by my photographer Tory, who is super talented and amazing and gets to lots of location shoots all over the world. She told me about these italian holiday apartments with amazing views out across mountains and lakes. She wasn't wrong! La Darbia is an amazing spot for a relaxing holiday in a wonderful part of Italy.
We flew in to Milan Malpensa with Easyjet and it was a drive of just under an hour up into the mountains, arriving around 6pm to explore the grounds and our apartment in the last of the daylight before seeing a magnificent sunset.
For me an amazing view with fantastic sunsets is almost as important as amazing food/wine and La Darbia had both in abundance. Seriously. This was my dream holiday!
To get to the restaurant you walk through the kitchen gardens, there is no doubt here about the quality or provenance of the food you are eating. The restaurant is apparently a newer addition to this Italian holiday village. You wouldn't know it though, the young female chef who we met put together exceptional flavour experiences and the resident pizza chef had years of experience is creating dough that will make you never want to eat in a chain restaurant ever again.
The dining setting is beautiful too, indoors or outdoors its a relaxing and beautiful space to chill out enjoy the food, the wine and the good company.
There were, I would guess about 20 other people staying at La Darbia at the same time as us but it didn't feel at all crowded. Everyone was polite and friendly but you certainly had enough privacy, and on holiday I like to have that choice!
The owners, Matteo and Claudia, are extremely hospitable, welcoming and still very hands on with the business. They obviously care a lot, this is a passion for them and I loved hearing how they came upon the land and what they did, bit by bit to make La Darbia hat it is now. We were lucky enough to be invited to a wine tasting hosted by them on our first day, after all La Darbia is a working vinyard itself.
Did i mention that holidays for me are about eating and drinking. I tried so many new things and came back inspired to find new varieties of grape, more wines from this region, fresh burata, all kinds of cheese and ingredients to enjoy at home too.
We also explored the surrounding area. Up the mountain to small villages, past local churches from which you hear the bells toll across the valley. Down to the lake and the island which is full of history and stories as you explore the winding cobbled streets and look for out across the water at the old monastery.
Though I need the outlet of being able to explore mostly what i want to do on a week or ten day holiday is sit and relax. I want a nice apartment to retreat to but also public areas, particularly outside ones, to give me variety and a change of scene. Hopping from the pool to the apartment verandah to a quiet shady spot down by the vinyard was idea, particularly because everywhere you went there was that amazing view! It never gets old!!
From dawn to dusk i found perfect places to read a book, chat with the others, have a glass of wine, nod off for a little while.
Soon enough there was going to be work to be done, after all I had come here with the photographer and videographer to do a shoot! But whilst there was time stretching out before me I made the most of it!!!!