I’m going to write about my trip to Northern Italy during the Silver Week in September. First, I’ll write about the food.
Selection of meat and pasta dishes.
In the « Southern Italy » section that we visited during Golden Week last year, we chose to eat mainly seafood and white wine, but this time, as we were in Northern Italy, we chose to eat mainly meat and red wine.
Appetizer : Antipasto antipasto
It’s a little irregular, but the salad buffet at the service area I sometimes used for lunch was also quite good. I thought it was indeed Italian to be able to eat such a big mozzarella.
I think the service area buffet is more northern Italian than French. The south is… (abbreviated).
Pasta: Primo Piatto Primo piatto
I heard that northern Italy has a lot of fresh pasta, or homemade pasta, and that it is delicious, so I tried to order fresh pasta as much as possible.
I think the best dish I had on this trip was the short macaroni pasta I had at a restaurant in Mantova (Lombardy). The sauce was Bolognese. It was superb. It was the first pasta I had on this trip. A very satisfying dish!
The restaurant in Mantova was my favorite of the restaurants we visited.
Then, maybe not as common, but the lasagna we ordered in Veneto was also delicious.
Cheese sauces may also be more common in the north than in the south. In the south, seafood and tomato sauces are more common.
Main: Secondo Piatto Secondo piatto
When I looked around, I thought that there were very few people who ordered the so-called full course (antipasto, primo, secondo). In Bergamo, I was not asked for a second. I wonder if it is no longer common there.
However, I am a full course person. I ordered seconds of course. But to be honest, compared to French food (*I personally have a strong impression of Southwest), Italian main courses are a bit lacking.
That said, I think northern Italian beef is very tasty. I especially love the tenderness of it. The best experience of the beef was this dish at a restaurant in the suburbs of Varese, where we stayed the day before the last day.
The sauce was a white sauce with porcini mushrooms and garlic. It was a little sticky, but it was delicious.
And this lamb dish that I had in Milan for lunch was also delicious. It had a slightly spicy flavor. I had a similar lamb dish with a similar flavor in Cote d’Azur before. Côte d’Azur is an area with strong Italian influence, so it may be a common taste in this area.
We didn’t get to enjoy the dolce too much this time. In the restaurant, we had ice cream at Courmayeur. And tiramisu in Mantova. And I bought gelato in the city during the daytime sightseeing.
The tiramisu was just plain good.
The gelato is also very satisfying. Italian gelato is cheap and very tasty.
Is there more pizza than you thought? More variety too?
When I think of pizza, I always had a strong image of Naples and the south side, but I think it was served more in restaurants than in the south side. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the restaurant I chose was like that. There was also a wide selection of pizza on the menu. Personally, I’d rather order a starter, pasta and main course than a pizza, so I didn’t end up ordering a pizza even once. One of the main reasons is that most of the people eating pizza speak English (lol).
I didn’t have much knowledge about wine, so I just asked him to recommend local wine. I thought I’d order red wine as much as possible, but I had a strong impression that Italian red wine was dry and light-bodied, so I thought I’d get bored with only red wine as I’m a sweet full-bodied person, so I ordered white wine from time to time.
Now, as for the red wine, this one we had in Mantova was very good. We ordered a half bottle, but ended up ordering two bottles.
I didn’t see these effervescent whites in the south where I visited in 2014. But Champagne is also said to be the northern limit of viticulture, so perhaps wines from colder areas tend to be naturally fizzy. Of course, it depends on how it is made.
I would have liked to enjoy this one a bit more, but we didn’t have time. Nevertheless, we were able to have some bluntly large Gorgonzola (the locals called it Zola) at a restaurant in the suburbs of Milan.
The cheese we had as an appetizer at the aforementioned Courmayeur was also excellent. Speaking of which, we also had fondue.
The Savoie region is also famous for its cheese. It seems that I still need to study and research about cheese.
Extras: Cooking in the Dolomites
I think this kind of feeling is the best part of traveling in Europe.
The best 3 restaurants in this trip
Lastly, I’d like to announce my top 3 restaurants of the trip.
「第3位：Ristorante Pizzeria Medusa（ヴァレーゼ）」
As I will report later, the city of Como was not so good, so we changed the place of stay to the outskirts of this city in a hurry. To tell the truth, I didn’t expect to have a satisfactory meal because the hotel was located in an ordinary residential area, but fortunately I was told by the hotel staff that there was a reputable restaurant near the hotel, so I visited there.
The food was mainly commonplace Italian, which was a perfect fit for my love of regional travel. Unfortunately, we couldn’t order risotto due to the number of people, but the gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce we had instead was delicious. The main reason why I ranked this restaurant is because of the main course of beef that I mentioned above. I want to eat that again.
On the first day of our arrival, my friend and I visited this restaurant which has a great reputation among the locals. We made a reservation beforehand, which was a great decision, and before we knew it, the place was packed. One of the features of this restaurant is that they serve local food in large portions. You can fully enjoy the local taste. I realized again that Aosta is rich in food culture.
After all, the impact of the appetizer was too strong to rank. We ordered risotto for pasta and also had fondue.
It’s the undisputed number one. A great restaurant in an alleyway in the old town of Mantova. This restaurant is highly rated on TripAdvisor. The atmosphere is very elegant and the food is carefully prepared and delicious. It is run by a family. The homemade fresh macaroni we had here was excellent. And the wine that was recommended. We made a good choice.
When I go to Europe in the future, I plan to continue to actively enjoy the local food and flavors.