Lovely towns around Lake Garda – Good cuisine, scenery and olive oil.

With amazing landscapes, countless theme parks – Gardaland, Movie Studios, Medieval Times to name a few – scenic villages and a gourmet gastronomic tradition, exciting water sports to experience, you’ll wish to come again to visit Lake Garda. Start the tour of the lake from the suggestive southern villages of Desenzano, Peschiera and Sirmione or explore its surroundings through tailored itineraries.

Italy

Garda olive Oil is a typical product of the area – image source

What to eat when visiting lake Garda.

Lake Garda cuisine has a very eclectic style, incorporating all the ingredients of the land, and the lake. Of course there is an emphasis on the lake fishes such as Pike and Tench, Risotto that is an always present classic of the Veneto and Lombard cuisine. Home made Pasta such as Bigoli that are a sort of fatten up spaghetti are a ever green classic of the area. The Lake Garda DOP olive oil here is the king of the table and visitor should not miss the opportunity to taste it.

Desenzano, in the province of Brescia (Lombardy)

Located in the south westernmost shore of Lake Garda, Desenzano del Garda or Desenzano is a picturesque village with a medieval heart. This tourist destination in the province of Brescia attracts tourists for summer vacations along its peddled beaches: Desenzanino, Rivoltella and Spiaggia d’Oro. But there are many other interesting activities to do than simply laze around the fresh waters of the lake: explore the great outdoors through hiking trails on Mount Corno, taste local specialities matched with excellent wines – Cabernet, Merlot – and lake fish such as Pike (luccio) topped with the Lake Garda PDO extra virgin olive oil, stroll in the city centre to visit the charming Cathedral of Santa Maria Maddalena and other monuments, experience sailing and windsurf on the lake, enjoy the vibrant night life.
Desenzano is connected with Milan, Venice and other tourist destination through the railway network. From Emilia Romagna, it takes 1h30 of easy drive from the town of Bologna and you will cross the beautiful towns of Modena, Mantua and Verona along the way.

Peschiera del garda, in the province of Verona (Veneto)

Lying on the southeaster bank of the Lake, Peschiera del Garda has been inhabited since Roman times as you may notice visiting its fascinating historical centre characterized by the military fortress and archaeological sites. The city draws pilgrims’ attention for the presence of the church of Madonna del Frassino. Situated at the heart of the natural sites of Laghetto del Frassino and the Mincio Valley, Peschiera del Garda is the perfect starting point for walking excursions in the lush vegetation. The village is placed just a few kilometres from the place of production of one of the finest Italian DOC wines, the Lugana. Enjoy gastronomic tours and have lunch in first-class restaurants serving regional cuisine such as bigoli with sardines, risotto with tench.

bigoli alle millepiume

Bigoli are such a classic around lake Garda – image source

Get to Peschiera del Garda from Verona or Desenzano via the A4 highway. If you want to reach Lake Garda from Bologna, you just need to follow the directions of A1 and A22.

Sirmione, in the province of Brescia (Lombardy)

You may have heard of Sirmione thanks to the poetic works of Catullo, Goethe and Stendhal who fell in love with this little charming site. Placed in a long peninsula it geographically divides Desenzano from Peschiera, giving the opportunity to admire romantic sunsets and the cities skyline by the lake.
Besides being a popular SPA landmark, Sirmione is the production site of the DOC white wine Lugana, so you can take gourmet wine tasting tours.
Its impressive city center is dominated by the Scaligera fortress, Roman villas and monuments dating back the Longobard and the Venetian dominations, so it can be considered an ideal tourist destination for cultural excursions.
As for Desenzano and Peschiera, you can get to Sirmione through the A4 highway if you come from Verona. But if you wouldn’t mind to visit other interesting towns before reaching Lake Garda, travel through the A13 from Bologna for a 2h30 itinerary that includes Ferrara, Padova, Vicenza and Verona.

Wine and Olive oils tours from Desenzano, Peschiera and Sirmione.

Lake Garda has a remarkable climates that allows to grow olive trees in this northern area, actually it is the northernmost olive growing oil area in the world. Emilia Delizia organises  olive oil tours in Cisano at the olive oil museum. The tour also will include tastings and visits at a local producer. Bardolino is also a famous hot spot for high quality wines where visitor can taste the world renowned Amarone wines that are made from raisins. Our company can set up a gourmet day for your group that includes culinary experience around Lake Garda.

The Olive Tree

Stunning Scenery around lake Garda – image source

Gourmet food and skiing on the Italian Alps.

Probably only Italy is the sole country where someone is able to hit the slopes and at at the same time have some gourmet dining experience. Check out some great destination on the Italian Alps like Madonna di Campiglio and Cortina for some hearty traditional Italian food that does not fail to please even the most demanding foodie.

Dolomites

Skiing on the dolomites – Source

From the wonderful scenery of the Dolomites to the captivating landscape of Alps, Italy offers exclusive ski resorts for winter sport enthusiasts. Read on to find out the top winter destinations in Northern Italy where you can enjoy infinite slopes with different level of proficiency, practice your favourite winter sports – snowboard, cross-country, Nordic sky – extreme sports – ice climbing and paragliding – walking tours in natural parks and taste typical products.

Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites (Trentino)

Located in the Rendena Valley, Madonna di Campiglio is a popular ski resort nestled in the Brenta Dolomites Park – UNESCO World Natural Site. With 57 lifts and up to 150 km of slopes, its snow park is one of the best equipped of Northern Italy. Moreover, you have direct access to Pinzolo, Folgarida and Marilleva pistes for never-ending snow adventures.

If the vibrant city center is full of tourists and VIPs, the enchanting surrounding valleys are heavenly peaceful and dotted with the Castles of Trentino.
After a day full of emotions, relax in a restaurant to taste Val Rendena delicacies as polenta, mushrooms and wild games.

Polenta en train de refroidir (1/3)

Polenta is a typical Italian dish made with corn flour – source

Are you ready for an exciting tour? If so, you should get to Madonna di Campiglio ski resort from Emilia Romagna, after an easy drive of about 3 hours, scheduling stops in the beautiful towns of Mantua, Verona, Lake Garda, Rovereto and Trento.

 Bormio & Livigno in the Alps (Lombardy)

Take a breath of fresh air booking mountain holidays in Bormio and Livigno, two of the best ski resorts of Lombardy overlooking the Valtellina valley, near to the Stelvio National Park. When in Bormio, combine chill excursions in the snow and wellness moments at the spa. Over 50 km of superb pistes and the World Cup runs awaits you.

From the village of Bormio, you can access to the snowboarders’ heaven of Livigno to experience freestyle activities on its slopes. Livigno city center if full of après-ski attractions for tourists, so you can rest in cosy restaurants and take a stroll to do shopping. From here, popular locations as Zemez and Saint Moritz, in Switzerland, are quite close. Delight your palate with the pizzoccheri, Sciatt e Manfrigole typical of Valtelline food. Situated in the province of Sondrio, you can get to Bormio and Livigno from Milan in about 3 hours and 4 hours from Bologna.

D. C. Pasta Co.-10

Pizzoccheri traditionally made with buckwheat flour – source

 Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Ampezzo Dolomites (Veneto)

Cortina d’Ampezzo, or simply Cortina, is one of the most exclusive ski resorts in Italy. Provided of state of the art infrastructures and 1120 km of pistes, in 1956 it hosted the Olympics sports and has always been the favourite winter destination for celebrities and aristocrats.

Situated at the heart of the wonderful Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites – UNESCO Natural Heritage Site since 2009 – and lying in the Valle del Boite, Cortina is the ideal point to access the park all year round both for winter sports and summer walking tours.

After a day spent in the high white peaks, you can have a nice walk in the city center surrounded by scenic views of the mountains. As you walk down the Corso Italia, you will find elegant boutiques but also gourmet restaurants offering specialities coming from the Austrian and Tyrol heritage – knodel, the grostl, the apfelstrudel.

Situated in the province of Belluno, Cortina can be reached in two hours from Venice and three hours from Bologna.

For more information about gourmet skiing holidays you can also check our page. 

This article has been written by Valentina.

What to eat in Milan – Colours and Flavours of traditional Milanese cuisine

Eating at a Milanese restaurant is a feast for the eyes and the palate. Milan traditional cuisine is typically rich in ingredients: on the one hand this provides colourful dishes; on the other hand these foods are always very tasteful.

Take Minestrone for example. Peasant dish par excellence, this is a rainbow of vegetables, a soup made with carrots, zucchini, cabbage, onions, and beans; but it’s also an intensely flavoured dish because according to the ‘perfect recipe’ it must contain even lard and pork rind.

And Risotto alla Milanese. Just try and find another dish of this colour  Ok, it’s a single shade of colour  nothing to do with the rainbow of Minestrone, but in its simplicity it is extremely particular. Saffron is the element that gives colour to rice, filling it with an unmistakable flavour at the same time. In some restaurants in Milan, saffron rice is served along with a delicious piece of meat called osso buco, cross-cut veal shanks cooked in butter and a little stock. At that point, even Yellow Rice becomes a multi-colour dish.

And what about the tasty Cotoletta alla Milanese, better known as “la Milanese” in all the restaurant menus around the World. That crispy, golden breadcrumb crust contains a veal cutlet with bone: if it is cooked to perfection, when you cut it you will still see blood-red meat at the centre and close to the bone, which offers a nice contrast. Also its taste is unique: a meat slice covered with a crust of bread and eggs.

If you happen to visit Milan in the cold winter (December to February) and you wish to try one of the most classic Milanese dishes, Cassoeula (pronounced Càsola) is the answer, to delight your eyes and nose with a preparation that bears the typical colours of autumn/winter: the straw yellow of fallen leaves, with shades of beige and brown. The main ingredients of Cassoeula are cabbage and all the less ‘noble’ parts of the pig, those scorned by the Lords in the past, which therefore ended up in the peasants’ pots: the rind, feet, ribs and head of the pig. That said: can you only imagine what a strong, extremely tasty flavour this popular dish now proposed in the best Milanese restaurants or served in many trattorias in Brianza and Lodigiano may have?

Talking of colours & flavours we cannot miss to mention Panettone, another cult in Milan with regards to traditional cuisine. On the outside it looks like a big bread with a thousand shades. When you cut it open, the inside is yellow due to the great number of eggs used in the preparation. Each slice is poetry for the eye, due to the presence of this storm of coloured drops: dark raisins, and multicoloured pieces of candied fruit. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of taste, which always sounds of Christmas carols as soon as you close your eyes.

So if someone tells you that in Milan you will only eat Polenta (hint: polenta with Gorgonzola cheese, mmmhh mouth-watering,) just remember that they are wrong. Milanese cuisine offers plenty of traditional dishes, that satisfy the palate and the eyes, too.

 

What to eat in Mantua

Mantua food exploration

by Marcelo Pinto October 12th 2012

This medium town in the north of Italy share many culinary tradition with Emilia Romagna. There you will find hard cheese, red sparkling wines, stuffed egg pasta, vegetable and fruit preserves aromatised with mustard, and cured meats.

Cheese

Mantua produces both Parmesan and Grana Padano. The former is only produced in a small area south of the Po river near the neighbouring province of Modena. Of course it is possible to visit the Parmigiano Reggiano producer in the area. Grana Padano is still a PDO cheese however it is considered of lower quality due to the use of anti fermentative in the ageing process.

Pumpkin the queen of the mantua cuisine.

Manuta lays in the flat of the fertile Padana plain, traditionally pumpkin, melons and watermelons grow plentiful. Especially pumpkins find the way in the local cuisine. Typical tortelli di zucca are egg pasta parcels stuffed with the delicious vegetables. Sometimes to the filling it is added some crumbled amaretti biscuits, giving to the savoury dish a truly unique taste. It is recommended to try them topped with Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

Mostarde.

In this area of northern  Italy is alo tradition to cook pasta dumplings in capon and beef brisket broth.  In Mantua the resulting meat is eaten hot or cold accompanied with mostarde. These are preserved fruits and vegetables with a hint of mustard. So if you are visiting in winter you cannot leave without savouring bollito misto (mix boiled meats) with it matching mostarda.

Torta sbrisolona and torta di tagliatelle.

Torta sbrisolona is the Italian version of the crumble cake, it is traditional and probably inherited from the royal banquets in the region. As the name says it has a crumbling texture and it is topped with almond and sugar. It is possible to taste with your coffee in the cafes’ in the main piazza.

Torta di tagliatelle is an amusing short crust cake topped with ordinary egg tagliatelle which are baked together with the base. The result is a unique crunchy texture, simply divine.

Relax on the 2 lake of river Mincio.

Mantova as we say in Italian, It is the pearl of Padana plain. In fact the city sits between 2 lakes forming from river Mincio which is formed from the run off water of lake Garda. In short the town the embraced by the 2 lakes and it must said that it is very nice to lounge on the lake banks in the summer hot days.