Last night we stayed in a part of Italy that’s new to us — Vercelli, in the north west corner, bordering France to the west.

Near the Fiat factory we found the very trendy Garibaldi Hotel. Our wonderful hosts guided our van into a secure area of the garden, locked the gates, and offered us water and a bag of biscuits for the dogs.

We don’t actually make our choice of accommodation based on the chance to enjoy gourmet food, but once in a while we’re lucky enough to experience a true gastronomic treat. The hotel’s highly rated restaurant offers a small menu of completely home-made dishes made with raw ingredients, including any of the four types of locally grown rice. It’s such a popular place they were turning people away.

Everything was delicious but we honestly believe that what keeps people coming back is the desserts! Home made (of course) and mostly chocolate, they’re arranged on decorated plates on a patisserie counter for diners to make their choice. They look too good to eat — but eat them we did!

It all made a welcome change from the service station sandwiches and junk food that is sometimes all we can find.

Inside the restaurant

Coffee chocolate pyramid

Chocolate-covered chocolate mousse with hot chocolate sauce — the healthy option featuring redcurrants and blackcurrants!

The first restaurant we’ve come across on our travels that has its very own chocolate fountain