TOURISM AND GASTRONOMY
Local cuisine, as emerges from the chronicles of the great travellers of the past, is of utmost importance to tourism. Today this is true more than ever. The Veronese Riviera of Lake Garda and the valley of the River Mincio and the morainic hills, Mount Baldo and the Caprino Valley with its morainic amphitheatre of Rivoli, represent not only a remarkable display of nature but also a combination in which traditional cuisine is closely linked to local fishing products and those of its mountain and hillside agriculture.
Typical traditional dishes along the lake shore are: "Risotto con la tinca" (risotto with tench), "aole fritte" (fried bleak), "aole in sisam" (dried bleak marinated in vinegar, onion and herbs). Other dishes are: "bigoli co'le aole" (a type of spaghetti with beak), "anguilla con sguassei" (eel), "filetti di sardena sott'olio" (marinated pilchard fillets in locally produced extra-virgin oil), "filetti di persico al vino bianco" (fillet of bass in white wine), "sardene en saor" (salted pilchards, onion and oil), "cavassii coi bisi" (fish stew with peas), "tinca al forno" (oven-baked tench), "lavarello al cartoccio" (lake whitefish baked in tinfoil); amongst the more prized fish are: "carpione al cartoccio" (carp cooked in tilfoil), "carpione ai ferri" (grilled carp), "trota all'uva fresca" (trout with fresh grapes) and "trota lessata" ( poached trout).
All this adds up a remarkable culinary panorama which becomes even more varied in the hinterland, where the following are added to the menu: "risotto con gli asparagi" (risotto with asparagus), "risi e bisi" (risotto with bacon and peas), various other risottos made with Amarone (a full-bodied red wine), "risotto con l'anatra" (with duck), "pappardelle con la selvaggina" (a kind of pasta with game), "bigoli al torchio" (a type of spaghetti), "gnocchi di patate" (small italian potato dumplings). Game-based dishes are very popular, but so are dishes with rabbit, lamb and goat.
Traditional dishes are: "bollito misto co'la pearą" (meat stew served with a pepper sauce made from ox bonemarrow, fresh breadcrumbs, a small amount of broth and cheese), "la pastissada de caval" (horsemeat stew), grilled or barbecued meat (steaks, cutlets and ribs), "anatra e faraona ripiena" (duck and stuffed guinea-fowl). The sophisticated and original cuisine of the Mincio Valley is a combination of farmhouse and fisherman cuisine on the one hand and the more refined cuisine of the nobility on the other hand with its very own aromas and flavours: "tortellini di Valeggio" (pasta filled with mashed pumpkin), "tagliolini al salmone" (noodles with salmon), "risotto al radicchio rosso" (a vegetable), "risotto alla cicoria di campo" (with wild chicory), "risotto alla fragola" (with strawberries), and last but not least tasty farmhouse soups.
Main courses are: "stinco di maiale" (pig's trotters), " stinco di vitello" (calf's trotters), barbecued meat and chicken, "lepre in salmģ" (hare in a rich sauce), "lumache in umido" (snails in a souce). Typical cakes and pastries are: "sanvigilini" (biscuits), " sbrisolona" (kind of shortbread with almonds), "fogazza sulla gradela" (cake made with maize flour), the flans and cakes are based on traditional recipes. Fruit salad and ice-cream is a popular dessert and many others contain woodland berries as their main ingredient. The local wine list includes the lightly sparkling Bardolino and white Custoza, the Bardolino Novello, the Bardolino Chiaretto, the Pinot Grigio and the Sauvignon della Valdadige. At this point we would like to remind you of the extremely delicate and exquisite extra-virgin olive oil of the Olive Riviera, made from locally grown olives. This oil is an essential ingredient for vegetable and salad dressings as well as numerous other dishes some of which are mentioned above.
GARDA LAKE WINE PRODUCTION
Another important area for the production of wines is the south-centre of the Garda Lake, extending from the hills of the Valtenesi to the hinterland of Sirmione.
The quality DOC of the Garda area has been mentioned as "Classic", an adjective gathering many meanings among the experts, since this denomination is given only to the very old cultivation vineyard areas and imposes to produce only top quality wines.
The variety of the white and red wines harmonically combines with a highly charming landscape, among hills, olive trees and Mediterranean gorgeous vegetation.
Confining with the Valtenesi, there is a small area on the back of Sirmione, called Lugana.
The wine produced here has colorful reflects (from the bright yellow to most golden tonalities) combined with a unique aroma, immediately recognized for the delicacy and harmony of its taste, rich in personality. The best thing to do is discover this wine with a good plate of lake fish.
SAN MARTINO DELLA BATTAGLIA
San Martino della Battaglia is a small climatic niche, between the border of the morainic hills and the south hinterland of the Garda Lake: it is partially coincident with Lugana and Garda Classic area. Here the vine of the Tocai has found its environment of election, so much to have been survived in the time to all the external influences and thanks to the low productions and the refined wine-making techniques wines having a pleasant aromatic characteristics are produced.