Italian, Travel
Comments 8

A Gastronomic Postcard from Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda

I’ve been a little absent from this little online home of late, in the past week that was because I was in Italy, Riva del Garda to be precise, to celebrate a friends wedding, or more accurately two friends weddings, only remove the plural as they were marrying each other :)

I’ve been to Italy three times previously, I love Rome and Naples, both buzzing with energy and with fantastic food, both cities to get lost, idle and indulge in. The furthest North I had been was Florence, which at the tender age of 19 was too quiet for me, so, I was looking forward to visiting Lago di Garda, somewhere quiet and visually spectacular with very different food to what I had experienced further South, the perfect counter to a hectic month in London. Added to this, I grew up next to the Atlantic and love being by water, I especially love ferries and boats, so I was very much looking forward to a first night relaxing with just my book, some good food and some nice red wine somewhere by the Lake.

Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda

This wasn’t to happen, certainly not as I intended, as I was very unlucky and I missed the only bus from the airport (there’s only one a day!), then the bank cancelled my cash card (due to a fraudulent transaction which was only me trying to withdraw money at the airport), so I spent my first few hours talking to my bank and various taxi drivers at the airport who were offering to take me to all corners of Italy for extremely extravagant sums. It all ended well, if differently to expected, with, following a ridiculously overpriced taxi journey, a three and a half hour ferry trip in the evening sun ending in Riva del Garda at sunset.

First impressions of culinary Riva? Good pizza that first night with nice red wine, all enjoyed in the company of a good book. The pizza was not as good as what I had experienced in Naples, but was on a par with the better ones that I have had in London and very fairly priced (Bella Napoli, should you visit). After this, it was a bit hit and miss, Riva being a tourist town and catering very much for German and Austrian tourists, lots of restaurants offered beef and roast potatoes or frankfurters, but, there were some gems, offering the likes of rabbit stew with polenta and wonderful fresh seafood from the lake. Veal was very common and any steak I had was very good.

Seafood Lasagne

Seafood Lasagne

My two favourite restaurants of the week offered the nicest dishes I tasted over my week there, had a lovely atmosphere and service, and are places I’d love to visit again. My favourite dish in the first restaurant, Osteria de l’Anzolim, wasn’t even my own, but I had a taste and was full of regret and main course envy, a beautiful and light seafood lasagne. I had a lovely linguine marinara that was so full of seafood I couldn’t even finish it. The service was great, the owner quite a character and lots of fun. I’d recommend. The second is slightly off the beaten track, Osteria La Contrada, and serves homemade pasta and bread with regional specialties. Here, they had a whole page of the menu dedicated to the truffle, how could I not indulge? So, I had Tagliatelle ai Tartufo and my friend Risotto, both divine, I am still thinking about them! For now, I’ll leave you with the images, until I can do a version to share with you.

Tagliatelle al Tartufo

Tagliatelle al Tartufo

Risotto al Tartufo

Risotto al Tartufo

Homemade maccheroni with tomato and buffalo mozarella

Homemade maccheroni with tomato and buffalo mozarella

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese

Grilled King Prawns

Grilled King Prawns

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

8 Comments

  1. lovely photos! my family is from Riva and it’s a treat to see your photos of the town. (I’ve never been.)

    I wouldn’t be so sure that the sturdy potatoes and frankfurters on offer were necessarily aimed at the tourists; Trentino-Alto Adige is also known as S├╝dtirol (southern Tyrol, aka the southern half of the Austrian province) and passed back and forth between Italy and Austria many times. The food from this part of Italy can be oddball mixture of Italian and germanic… my great-grandmother’s recipes have hilarious titles like “Sauerkrauti”.

  2. Anita – thanks! It is very germanic indeed, so different to any other part of Italy I had been to, we were discussing over our week! I have always been curious about that part of Italy that was Austrian, it was good to go and experience it. Your great grandmothers recipes sound great :)

    Andrew – thanks! I have lots more scenic ones but have had no time to organise them yet. I’ll have them on flickr within the week I hope.

    Helen – thanks! The food ones are a little overexposed but it can be difficult in a restaurant as you know. As for truffle. Mmmmm.

  3. Beautiful pictures! Those prawns look like absolute beasts. I’ve never visited Italy except a brief jaunt in Venice but I’d really love to, especially after seeing this post!

  4. I miss truffles! Everywhere I went around Lake Garda, there were loads of German tourists, and therefore German food and beer to cater for them. As I grew up in Germany, it was really hard to block out the conversations, and there were times when I thought I was in Germany and not Italy…

  5. Desperately envious now. How is it that the Italians can take the simplest food and make it magical?? And those truffles!! May have to go home and eat pasta with truffle butter lurking in cupboard…

  6. Lizzie – thanks and yes, the prawns were enormous. It’s lovely, really beautiful but I do prefer the South :)

    Helen – oh, I’ve got to get me some soon. It’s very germanic indeed, absolutely agreed, it was quite bizarre actually!!

    Jeanne – I know, they do everything right with the very best ingredients. I hope that you enjoyed your pasta!

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