Lake Garda Food & Wine
Wines and extra virgin olive oil, along with freshwater fish are the leading products of Lake Garda. The treasure of Lake Garda's cuisine is lake fish and except for carp, the most renowned and typical among the species, the catch is quite rich. Found only in Lake Garda, it is getting harder to catch or find on the menu of local inns or old restaurants. Other cuisine appreciated for their gastronomic qualities are whitefish and coregone, trout, eels, sardines, pike, chub, tench, minnows, carp, and perch.
Truffles, a recent rediscovery, have enriched Lake Garda's cuisine and can be found in both the mountainous areas on the west side and in the southern Morainic Hills. The most sought after black truffle has a strong, pleasant smell and usually ripens between November and March.
Practically all the oil produced from pressing the olives grown on the shores of Lake Garda is extra virgin. It is certified by the denomination of controlled origin DOP "Garda". Its wholesomeness, digestibility, nutritional value, and richness of flavor make it ideal either for cooking or for dressing.
Famous D.O.C. wines of the area are Bianco di Custoza and Bardolino. These wines are produced on the Riviera Veronese of Lake Garda and exported all over the world. They are: the Bardolino, in its versions of Classico, Chiaretto, and Novello and the Bianco di Custoza, the Valdadige, and the Lugana. The most famous area is Lugana, which is where the wine with the same name is produced.
Practically all the vineyards here grow white grapes, and the wines are slightly dry and full-bodied. The sun-kissed land is fruitful and its products are exported throughout Europe. Lugana wine is chiefly made with Trebbiano grapes. Its color ranges from a bright straw yellow to a greenish hue that turns golden when the wine matures. The bouquet is dry, and its flavor vivacious. It is a subtle wine that is perfect for appetizers and fish, and it should be served chilled.
Lugana is also the home of fine sparkling white wines. Lugana Spumante is made from Trebbiano grapes of Lugana, which should not be confused with Trebbiano from Tuscany. It is made according to the classic "charmat" method. (With the charmat process, the base wine is mixed with yeast and sugar and placed in a temperature-controlled pressure tank. In essence, it is the equivalent of a very large bottle. After the fermentation is complete, the wine is filtered under counter pressure, liqueured, and then bottled using a counter-pressure filler.) Lugana must be chilled. Like all superb Spumante wines, it can be served with many different types of food and is perfect for special occasions.
During your stay in the region, you have the opportunity to discover the places where wine is produced, visit the many cellars situated along the "wine routes" and buy wine directly from the vineyard owners.