In collaboration with Italy M.S.T.ravel
Lake Garda is the largest lake of Italy. To the South of the lake there are the morenic hills, left behind by the thawing of glaciers; on the Northern, more narrow side, the lake is surrounded by tall peaks and mountains, that give the body of water its peculiar shape, reminiscent of a fjord, and which protect it from the elements, allowing for a meek and Mediterranean climate.
All around the lake are picturesque hamlets and towns, coves, beaches and small ports, but also lively communities, parks and natural reserves.
Important points of interest are also the medieval castles and the Scaligeri strongholds, such as Torri del Benaco or the one in Sirmione, which tower over the landscape.
Known as the “pearls of islands and peninsulas”, Sirmione is know one of the most relevant tourist destinations of Lake Garda, and is visited by people from all over the world.
Famous for the well-known healing properties of the thermal water that flows in the area, Sirmione is on the South side of Lake Garda, nestled on a long strip of land that splits the gulfs of Desenzano and Peschiera; it offers a rich historical and artistic tradition to those who visit it, boasting for examples the remains of an ancient Roman Villa from the early imperial age, the Rocca Scaligera, and the church of Saint Peter in Mavino. The historic center of Sirmione features narrow streets lined by stone walls, making for the perfect scenario for romantic and suggestive vistas.
Punta San Vigilio is considered the “Portofine of Lake Garda”.
The beautiful peninsula, owned by the Guarienti Counts of Brenzone, is on the Veronese shores of the lake, and can boast among its visitors figures such as the King of Naples, Winston Churchill, Prince Charles of England, Laurence Olivier and many more.
It’s possible to visit the elegant Villa Guarienti, the “Locanda” hotel with its rich history, the small port, the park, or to spend your time relaxing in the wonderful Baia delle Sirene, a private beach with a centuries-old olive grove; all of this and more makes for one of the most stunning landscapes you can find along the shores of Lake Garda.
This 60-hectare natural park is located in Valeggio sul Mincio, just 8 km from Peschiera del Garda. Crowned the most beautiful park of Italy in 2013, and second-place as the most beautiful park in Europe for 2015, Parco Giardino Sigurtà houses several natural and historical attractions and sights. During March and April, you can admire a million tulips blossoming, during the largest occurrence of this natural event in all of Italy; you can stroll between the bushes, which fill with over 30.000 flowering roses from May to September; or you can wander the incredible twists and turns of the hedge maze. Between June and July you can enjoy the view of aquatic plants blossoming over 18 bodies of water – all of this, framed by never-ending green lawns.
The area between Southern shores of Lake Garda and the morenic hills is where Lugana DOC wine is produced; the excellent white wine is considered one of the local productions with the highest quality and worldwide renown.
The hinterlands to the East and South of Lake Garda offer a different type of soil, due to the morenic nature of the land and the fluvial and glacial origin of the territory, and the geographic features of the area determine the wine production of this region.
This is a scarlet red wine with faint fruity tones, and notes of red and black cherries, strawberry, raspberry, black currant and spices; it’s made with Veronese corvina and rondinella grapes. The name “Bardolino Classico” is reserved for those wines who have gone through a process of grape harvesting and vinification in the most ancient area of production. Bardolino wine is praised for being easy to drink and easy to pair with a variety of dishes and foods.
This white wine is produced in the Garda lowlands, on a particular type of clay-rich soil, due to the glaciations that then gave birth to the lake itself. The Lugano variety was the first one to gain DOC status in Lombardy and among the first registered in Italy. Made from the native “Turbiana” vineyards, the Lugana has different sub-categories, the Superiore, the Riserva, the Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest) and the Spumante. Perfect for cocktails or paired with first courses, freshwater lake fish, and fresh cheeses.
This refreshing white wine has a slightly aromatic taste, can be drunk without issue, and is easily paired with several types of dishes. The Custoza is made from Garganega, Trebbianello and Bianca Fernanda grapes, which give it its characteristic straw-yellow hue. The area of production crosses the morenic hills South of Lake Garda. It’s perfect with both saltwater as well as with freshwater fish, with fried dishes, with vegetables – such as the Broccoletto di Custoza – and is especially complimented by a place of Tortellini di Valeggio and pumpkin tortelli from Mantova.
On the shores of Lake Garda converge the different culinary traditions of three regions of Italy – Trentino, Veneto and Lombardy – for a cuisine that looks to refined tastes and genuine ingredients, sourced from local fishermen, farmers and stockbreeders from the Garda area.
Here are a few traditional dishes that you can’t miss out on.
The recipe for this pasta dish is said to date back to the 1300’s. The egg-based dough is very thin, and the tortellini are filled with minced beef, pork and chicken meat, natural herbs and seasoning, and Bardolino wine. Cooked in a meat broth, they are served with it, or served with a butter and sage sauce. Be sure to sprinkle parmesan or grana cheese over the tortellini Every year, over the bridge of Valeggio sul Mincio, there is a celebration called “Festa del Nodo d’Amore” (“Festival of the Love Knot”), during which 4000 dining companions enjoy this traditional dish together.
Marinated Trout Carpaccio isn’t exactly a recipe in itself, but rather a technique to preserve lake trout in a truly delicious way. The dry marinade is one of the oldest methods to preserve fish, and consists of marinating the produce without liquids, such as vinegar, white wine or other acidic components, but rather by using salt and sugar. The duration of this process can vary depending on the cut of the filet and on the taste of those who are preparing the trout, and can last between a few hours and a couple of days.
The unique characteristics of the territory make Lake Garde into the perfect place to have a taste of a fascinating blend of different tastes and perfumes. To represent this culinary chemistry, we have a peculiar dessert: the Cassata Gardesana; perhaps less-known than the Sicilian Cassata, this dessert prepared Garda-style is no less tasty! Similar to a ricotta-based semifreddo dessert, it features among its ingredients honey, candied fruit and a drizzle of DOC extra virgin olive oil from the Garda region, a must-have for this turn on the classic Sicilian recipe. Incredibly easy to make, but nonetheless exceptionally delicious – it will be a treat for your palate!
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