After our morning spent hiking up to Arco castle, the only thing I had on my mind once we hopped back into the car was food! I wanted lunch… and lots of it too!
We drove over to Drena for a taste of traditional Italian food that’s pretty typical to this part of Northern Italy.
See this region of Italy – Garda Trentino, is very different from most of Italy. At one point, a fair bit of was actually part of Austria and so the food and culture here is very different from what you might find, say in Rome, for example.
The restaurant we decided on was La Casina, a restaurant famous in the area for it’s good and one that actually came highly recommended by the locals.
We started off with some sparkling wine from the area (Trentodoc – which is to Garda Trentino what Prosecco is to Trieste in Italy or Champagne to the Champagne region of France).
Lunch was kicked off with some meat and cheese platters (all local specialities), before then going for carpaccio for our ‘primi piatti’ (our first course).
The carpaccio-style dish was actually different here than your typical ‘carpaccio’ in that it came with a sauce over it and was cooked.
And don’t judge me but for my second course, I went for the beef again. 😄 Cooked entirely differently, deliciously tender and one of those courses where you wish you ordered two of – all for yourself! 😋
Desert came in the form of a sort of deconstructed crumble – absolutely delicious and just the best way to finish up lunch!
Leaving lunch, and still feeling chuff with myself for this morning’s exercise 😄, we headed over to Pisoni Winery for an afternoon of wine in the sun!
Our visit started, as quite a few vineyard visits do, with a brief visit to the actual cellars where we found their ‘secret’ (not-so-secret) stash of Trentodoc sparkling wine – all getting nice and ready, along with some rather old barrels (no longer in use but still a fascinating piece of the winery’s history).
Those two guys (arms linked and with flowers in their hat and hands) are actually the brothers who started the vineyard and this photo, is one their mum made them take at the time. 😀
Oh, and the vineyard also makes grappa – which is a product of what’s typically left of wine production (skin, seeds…etc) and you get a sneak peek into this too…(and, if you’re lucky, a sneak taste too 😉 ).
Leaving the ‘business bits’ behind, we headed to the actual vineyards outdoors for a taste through the different wines produced here.
It’s moments like this that remind me why I have such a soft spot for vineyards in general.
Drinking wine in the sun, surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery, throw in some local cheeses and it’s just such a brilliant way to spend an afternoon. (It probably helps that I wasn’t the one driving too so I could drink all the wine I wanted).
After quite some time soaking up the sunshine (and vino), we decided to call it an afternoon and head back to Riva del Garda…
…except, in this part of Italy, there’s always a beautiful distraction just around the corner.
Our beautiful distraction for the afternoon was the ethereally calm Lake Toblino and the equally picturesque Toblino Castle, perched perfectly on the side of the lake.
I think I’ve said this on here before but when you think of Italy, castles never really come to mind. Cathedrals, grand bridges, amphitheatres and all things Roman – yes; that’s the stuff you come to associate with Italy, but never really castles.
It would be a wrong presumption though as Italy has some pretty spectacular castles (though now that I think about it – the ones we’ve seen have generally tended to be in the North of Italy 🤔😄).
There’s also a serenity and calmness at this lake that makes it a perfect little spot to watch the sun set over this beautiful part of Northern Italy.
Swinging quickly past Drena Castle (we’d seen this in the distance and figured we might as well pop in… except we couldn’t as it was closed for renovations following a landslide), we headed back to the lakeside to kick off our shoes for a bit before going to Torbole for dinner.
Torbole is actually a gorgeous little village on Lake Garda though arriving in the evening like we did, it’s hard to get a sense of this. (I’ll show you more in the next post where we get to visit properly in the daytime).
The scene for dinner was La Terazza Restaurant, where I decided to be prudent and skip the first course, go for the second course and skip dessert too. Except, of course, none of that happened.
Somehow I got tempted into getting the gnocchi to start (we both did, actually)…
After which I went for what I had my eye on from the start – the beef, for my second course (Lloyd went for the fish meatballs).
Dessert (after very little persuasion) came in the form of Pannacotta, for me (an easy fave) and chocolate for Lloyd.
I blame how delicious the meals were here for why I decided to go the whole hog! I don’t think I even arrived particularly hungry but once I got the first taste of my meal, the hunger reared it’s head, seemingly out of nowhere! Suffice to say, I was only too happy to oblige.
And with that, we decided to call it a day as tomorrow, we would be taking a cue from the locals and doing something here you absolutely have to do when you visit. 🙂 😀 😀