There are times when I’m overwhelmed by life and long to escape to a small, quiet pool of tranquillity. Now, a trip to Greece or Tuscany would fit the bill, but I’ve found something almost as good that is much, much closer to home.
A few weeks ago, I headed east – grain elevators, Ukrainian Orthodox churches and slow-moving farm equipment – this is home. When I arrived in Canora, I phoned ahead to the bed and breakfast where I was planning to stay for the next couple of nights and received directions.
Heading out on the highway, I turned onto a gravel road once I reached Mikado. The road curved past newly-sown fields, descending a hill to a bridge over the Whitesand River. One more leisurely curve, and I arrived at La Campagna Bed and Breakfast.
I was warmly welcomed by Linda and Alfredo and their dog, Waldo, and shown to a large suite on the ground floor of the house. Large windows overlooked the garden with its graceful willow tree and lawns sloping down to the river. There was a four-poster bed, comfortable couches and a pretty bouquet of flowers.
I felt more relaxed already.
I barely had time to unpack before I was invited upstairs to the kitchen for appetizers and a welcoming glass of prosecco. I particularly enjoyed the bruschetta with the cannellini topping.
Next up was a bowl of Italian mushroom soup with a dollop of cream in the middle. There was baby spinach in the salad and asparagus in the pasta – all fresh from the garden.
Alfredo is Italian so you can rest assured that he makes his own pasta. He uses 30% whole wheat flour because he likes the flavour.
Alfredo is also the organic gardener. There’s a large herb garden along with a huge patch of strawberries, not to mention raspberries, gooseberries and chokecherries. Alfredo is growing five varieties of organic garlic and says that the cloves are so large that they replace 3 or 4 store-bought ones. Dessert was a rich, creamy crème brulée.
Oh, my – a five-course meal made from garden-fresh ingredients and eggs from the neighbour’s chickens.
Breakfast the next morning began with a large plate of fruit. In the summer, guests are encouraged to pick their own berries. I definitely have to return so that I can enjoy sun-warmed strawberries straight from the garden.
I was offered a cooked breakfast both days. The first morning, I had a poached egg on top of spinach and pine nuts with a healthy dollop of olive oil. The next day, I had mushroom frittata and pancakes.
Supper the second evening began with stuffed mushroom caps, followed by risotto, Alfredo’s specialty, and eggplant parmesan.
I certainly wasn’t complaining when I was offered crème brulée again for dessert. Something that good deserves to be enjoyed twice.
In between meals, I read and relaxed in the fresh country air. More energetic folks can bring their canoe or kayaks and build up an appetite on the river.
Linda and Alfredo are fabulous hosts and good listeners with interesting lives and all sorts of stories to tell. You’ll leave La Campagna refreshed and delighted to find a little corner of Italy in eastern Saskatchewan.