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Italian Culinary Roadtrip: Mantua, Garda, Verona

Italian Culinary Roadtrip: Mantua, Garda, Verona

Discover Italy through the eyes of a fine dining lover, start by visiting romantic Verona, Lake Garda and Mantua, and learn how to make one of their delicacies.

By FDL on

Lake Garda is poetry on water. Situated on the borders of Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. Flora and fauna thrive here and you can still see many examples on teh banks of the lake today, such as herons, mallards or hawks and even finding wild orchids is not uncommon.

Take a trip around the lake's five islands; you can even walk across to Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island) and Isola del Sogno (Dream Island) in periods of drought. The lake's spectacular delights can also be enjoyed at the table as its cuisine offers a wonderful selection of tasty fish dishes like fried bleak.

Not a far drive from the lake you find Verona, the city of the legendary love. It's also the only place where you can combine the emotion of opera with the magnificence of the world famous Verona Arena, a Roman amphitheatre that was dedicated to theatre and opera in the 1800s and has become the largest open-air opera theatre.

Seeing a show at the Arena is an aboslute must as is visiting the world's most romantic balcony, immortalised by the pen of William Shakespeare. Verona is the settingfor the greatest love story ever told, the tale of Romeo and Juliet. While still tingling with the excitement offered by this uniquely Italian experience, why not enjoy a romantic meal with the very finest local speciality, the legendary risi e bisi.

Mantua is the pearl of the Gonzagas, one of Italy's oldest aristocratic families, and as everyone knows hospitality is sacred for nobility: a spectacular view of palaces and towers welcomes you to the city as soon as you arrive. Mantua is a city that inspired talented people through the ages.

Even the great musician Giuseppe Verdi couldn't Mantua's charm, he set its history to music: the Rigoletto was inspired by the Gonzagas' court jester. Savour the moment by revelling in a piece of Sbrisolona cake, and tempting your taste buds with a seventeenth century tradition.


Sbrisolona is a very crumbly and totally mouth-watering cake as it is made with really high-calorie ingredients. It is known as the "three-cup cake" because you can use a cup to measure out the white flour and sugar.

Then add 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar, 100 g (1/2 cup) butter, 100 g (1/2 cup) lard, 200 g (1 1/3 cups) chopped almonds, the rind of half a lemon and a sacht of vanilla powder. Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a baking tin and decorate the top with whole almonds. Bake at 180° (350 °F) for about an hour. Leave to cool and dust the cake with icing sugar. Before serving break the cake into portions but remember to use yur hands otherwise it isn't a real sbrisolona. 

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