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Alternate Routes · Europe · italy · Veneto · Romāns Komars

Wine Region

Author: Romāns Komars1 COMMENT

Veneto is one of the largest wine-producing districts in Italy, known for such a famous labels, as Bardolino, Valpolicella, Bianco di Custoza, Pinot Grigio, Amarone. Located in the northeast of the country, it lures not only lovers of fine wines but those, who wish to enjoy relaxing holidays at the Garda Lake beaches and delicious gastronomic pleasures, too. Verona and Venice are just two outstanding destinations among many, worth visiting in the northern part of Italy. Vineyards grown on South Tyrolean mountain slopes and in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia are equally beautiful.
Almost any small Italian village charms with its traditional late-night walks - after diner time streets are filling with cheerful people and lively motion, at times not abating until small hours.


Foto: Wine RegionFoto: Wine Region

Garda is Italy's biggest lake. Located almost at the foot of the Italian Alps, it is surrounded by lots of small villages with numerous hotels. Every second tourist met in Bardolino is a German. The small town - with its slightly over 6 thousand population - is located just 30 km from Verona but 130 km separate it from Venice.
Bardolino is much loved by tourists and its ancient part - although being quite small - hides lots of cozy gourmet restaurants. Although they do not qualify for Michelin stars, it is does not matter here at all. A real treat of Bardolino is delicious homemade Tiramisu and Da Antonio - actually, like anything else relished in a wonderful and cozy ambience, where nothing is showy or gaudy.
Also Olive Oil Museum, Movieland studios (counterpart of Sinevilla in Latvia) and a water amusement park are located within close reach.

Hotel Kriss

Foto: Wine RegionFoto: Wine RegionFoto: Wine Region

Hotel Kriss, located in the center of Bardolino too, occupies some 50 meters in front of the blue waters of Lake Garda. A facade and interiors of the four- storey hotel remind a style characteristic of beginning of the nineties - ornamented wallpapers are from the time, when such patterns were the latest fashion. Those, who do not seek refined style but clean and tidy accommodations, 33 Hotel Kriss rooms, its excellent service and a marvelous view just few meters away, will find truly fascinating.
Tourists, lounging on the beach, sunbathe almost at the very steps of the hotel. Although a stony shore seems to be a serious obstacle, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the huge lake too - just start a swim from a plank-way. Silvery trout, circling around the boat, can be seen through the crystal clear water and, having used to people, they glide close to swimmers too.
If there is any slippage in the Hotel Kriss service - it is breakfast. Most probably, gourmets would not be satisfied with a standard set of yogurt, fruit, eggs, toasts, two sorts of cheese and two sorts of sausage. Nevertheless, during summer the hotel is full and reservations should be made in advance.
Prices per single room - from 44 euro (breakfast included)

Lungolago Cipriani, 3
37011 Bardolino - Lago di Garda, Verona (Italy)
Phone: +39 045 6212433
Fax: +39 045 7210242

La Porte and Ristorante Da Memo

More flattering price-quality relationship in Italy would not be easy to find. The two restaurants, settled in the ancient part of Bardolino - on the opposite sides of the main street - glorify old-fashioned Italian style. The both restaurants are almost empty inside - as more then hundred gourmets have occupied tables on the open-air terraces.
La Porte as well as Ristorante Da Memo, surprise with incredibly fresh sea products and a wine list, offering great wines of 1995, 1996 and 1997 for an almost ridiculous price of 50 to 75 Euros per bottle. A "secret tactic" of the owners lies in selling wines, purchased ten years ago. Market value of these labels have grown ever since, however, the hosts do not hurry to raise prices accordingly, giving the guests of La Porte and Ristorante Da Memo an opportunity of savoring excellent Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino of 1996 just for 65 Euro per bottle. And this is even below a producer's price...
Maybe someone will notice that the best Florentine steak (Bistecca alla Fiorentina) could be tasted exclusively in Florence. Moreover, a slice of meat à la La Porte - more than 500 grams and one and a half-centimeter thick - is supreme enjoyment even for a very choosy gourmet. Fried, half a minute from one side and half a minute from the other and using just the most essential spices - pepper, salt and olive oil - it literally melts in ones mouth, like an ice cream. Only Italians are able of making such a treat! A steak like this together with the best Tuscan wine might soon become a reason of visiting La Porte again.
Ristorante Da Memo, in its turn, offers zucchini stew with sea scallops that will make you forget about potatoes forever and to become irreversibly addicted to this green vegetable. Prices are more than favorable too - six big shrimps with olive oil and cherry tomatoes - for only 12 Euro. It would not be difficult at all to spend at Ristorante Da Memo whole day.
Unlike Frenchmen, who prefer to keep their distance, Italians possess eagerness and marketing skills. Guests are soon entwined by friendly conversation, lively gesturing and sincere desire to oblige any of the gourmets' wishes. Communication in English is not a problem at all - even menus are both in Italian and English tongue.
Specials touch to the wonderful ambience brings an elderly musician, Russian by nationality, who - walking from one side of the street to another - is ready to play almost anything. Even Vivaldi's Four Seasons sounds amazing and technically impeccable. And nothing cheep or disturbing about the violinist's performance - approving applause of guests, sitting on the terraces, being proof for that.
In summertime, a table inside is not a problem - yet, if you wish to sit outside, reservation should be made in advance.
Really fantastic and rare wines can be found in two nearby enotecas.

Ristorante Da Memo
Via San Martino 15
37011 Bardolino
Tel.: 045 7210130

La Porte is located on the opposite side of the street.

Auto Grill

Proof of strong Italian roadside eating traditions can be found almost after every 50 kilometers. Just stop there, and you can feast on fresh Mozzarella cheese, fantastic lasagna (almost for free), Parmesan ham, olives and tomatoes. And trying a strawberry cake is almost a must! Auto Grill, in spite of its not- very-savory-name, is as excellent way to start exploring typical Italian tastes. Just put all your favorite delicious things on a tray and take the best seat to watch a stream of cars bellow (Auto Grill is situated a bit above the road). Being in Italy and not trying Auto Grill means having been not in Italy at all!
Even at Milan airport the only place offering enjoyable food is Auto Grill - from the entrance on the left and upwards.


Foto: Wine Region

The Zenato family winery and their 40 hectares' estate for lovers of fine wines is a must to visit. Founded in 1960 Azienda Vinicola Zenato is located approximately 25 km from Verona, currently being one of the leading Lugana province wine producers. No equals to the famous productions of Bordeaux castles can be found there, however, a visitation of the winery as well as tasting of some of the most outstanding local productions is more than a fascinating adventure.

Azienda Vinicola Zenato S.r.l.
S. Benedetto di Lugana - Italia
Phone: +39 045 7550300
Fax: +39 045 6400449

Useful Information

- Easiest way of traveling - airBaltic direct flight Riga - Milan.

- Car rental in Milan costs 250 to 300 Euros per five days.

- Although air temperature in June may reach +32, +36 degrees, humidity is low and the heat is pretty bearable.

Posted in 2008.

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