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About 20 minutes drive outside of Lugano, you get the cutest little wine-bar you could ever imagine.

Set in the tiny little village of San Mamete (Valsolda), “Cioccolato,” a new stop spot for weary travelers, hiking adventurers, or thirsty locals, is a little slice of heaven.

Cozy inside with its warm colors and array of bottles of vino for sale, my favorite was to sit outside, under the overhang of the old portico. Sit in comfortable chairs on ancient tiled floors while shaded from sun and protected from rain (lots of rain when I was there!), but you still feel connected to life on the bustling tiny little square. (San Mamete basically consists of this lone square with two cafes and this wine-bar, a bank, a stationary shop and a little shop for emergency food items, and that’s it! And yet there was a constant flow of traffic as cars sped down the busy road that cuts the square off from water, or as cars attempted hair-raising angled turns from the road into the square. It was a feat of Italian driving that would make Andretti proud!)

Part of the charm and welcoming feel of this spot is the beautiful and charming owner, Samantha. Her smile and infectious enthusiasm for her wines already makes this spot a winner! Rely on her to recommend a nice glass to taste and sip… or to recommend a lovely bottle to take home as a gift.

Even a simple glass of prosecco or Gavi doesn’t remain simple under Samantha’s care and attention for long! While you sit, watch the crazy cars, enjoy the view, begin to chat with the friendly locals, and sip at your wine, Samantha will pop by to check on you and with a plate of some ridiculously yummy ‘snack’ that will help the wine’s flavors to erupt: Some fresh bread with prosciutto or a cheese spread, small bites of panini with ham and gherkins, chips and spicy salsa, or a bowl of nuts.

Charming and adorable. A place for wine lovers, for lovers of a view, for lovers of la dolce far niente, or just for lovers :)

With a name like “Cioccolato,” how could this spot be anything but ideal! :)

“Cioccolato” can be found at 22010 Valsolda (CO), Fraz. S. Mamete, or by contacting stj@hotmail.it