The village of Castelvetro.
When I was setting up our 10th annual spring balsamic blowout sale I checked in with Roberta, one half the husband-and-wife partnership that make up La Vecchia Dispensa, our longtime source for balsamic vinegar. I usually hit her up for a wholesale discount that I then double or triple to pass along for the sale.
This year she came back with a better idea. She had some funding from the regional government. She would give us tickets to Italy with a stay in her village, Castelvetro, and tour of Vecchia Dispensa's acetaia (vinegar factory). She told me to figure out how to give them away.
So here's how. Two pairs go to winners of a video contest. One to a customer winner, one to an employee winner. (You' don't have to be a customer—anyone can enter.) Shoot any video you'd like, three minutes or less. Just make sure it has something to do with balsamic. The connection can be paper thin. We're looking for creativity and fun, not film or acting talent. It's due by March 31, 2010.
The prize, I must say, is pretty awesome. Two tickets to Bologna, Italy. You set the terms of your stay as long as its between September 1 and November 30 this year. Stay the whole time if you'd like. Go wherever you want. You just need to fly in and out of Bologna.
Let me stop for a second and say, while it's nice to visit Italy any time of year, I'm particularly partial to fall. The food at harvest's end is great. There are wild mushrooms and game. The tourists have gone back to their holes. The temperatures are cooler but not icy. You can buy a couple sweaters and, guaranteed, you're a year ahead of the fashion cycle in the U.S.
OK, back to the prize. Roberta will give you a private tour of her acetaia and put you up in a swanky little hotel. You'll also visit a Parmigiano-Reggiano maker, incredible on its own right. After that you're on your own.
The videos from the current competition are here underneath Lois's video about the rules.
With ten days left to go I think the contest is wide open. I can't wait to give this prize away.