best hiking in Lake Como Italy Ossuccio

Lake Como offers a wide variety of hiking trails and in this article, you will find some of the best hiking paths around the lake. There are three main areas of Lake Como, that are perfect for hiking: Northern side, Bellagio and Menaggio almost in front of it (central Lake), and the area of Como itself. Today you are going to discover our favorites in the central Lake area. 

Menaggio’s area offers the well know trail called Greenway of Lake Como, which is a very easy path of 10 km passing through the town of Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante. In each spot you have something interesting worth visiting it: for example, ancient hamlets, churches and beautiful villas. In addition, the picturesque landscape around the lake is something you won’t miss.

The path to the Sacred Mount of Ossuccio part of the UNESCO World Heritage, ideal for lovers of history and art. In fact, along the trail, there are 14 unique chapels such as the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary, a pilgrimage place in the past. Also, this itinerary is offered by Slow Lake Como, which focuses on enjoying the lake and its monuments from a slow tourism point of view.

best hiking in Lake Como Italy Ossuccio

Foto Source: Town of Ossuccio https://www.in-lombardia.it/en/tourism-in-lombardy/tourism-como/boroughs-como/village-of-ossuccio

In Varenna’s area the most famous hiking is surely the “Sentiero del Viandante”. This trail is an interesting route dating back to the Roman period, which runs along the eastern coast of Lake Como, from Abbadia Lariana to Piantedo, for 45 km.

This walking path offers those who walk along with the chance of enjoying some peaceful hours deep in stillness and in an environment all one with the sky and the lake. The path, once connecting Milan and Switzerland starts in Abbadia Lariana at the small Church of St. Martin and ends at the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Val Pozzo in the district of Piantedo.

A short but attractive path which runs along a thin mule track that winds along the side of the mountain among chestnut woods and mild cultivated slopes. In a few hours time it collects the best of the landscape characters in this part of Lombardy: majestic landscapes, botanical and geological peculiarities, tokens of faith, places of the popular imagination, scraps of fields, rustic houses, vineyards and olive groves which create a frame that has been sung by poets and writers at length and for a long time.

Slow Lake Como collaborates with local guides to assure the most interesting and fascinating experience on the Sentiero del Viandante.

Another fascinating region is the one of Bellagio, Slow Lake Como organizes two hours walk starting from the Devil’s bridge in Bellagio to the town of Lezzeno, a typical authentic beauty full of history and legends about witches, miracles and devils.

An interesting thing that I personally noticed about Lake Como is the variety of hiking trails and the incredible microclimate that reminds us of the Mediterranean one, with olive trees and beautiful flowers. Villages are also well connected with each other especially if you want to travel more sustainably you can definitely rely on public transport such as the bus, train or the navigation ferries companies. 

References:

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

 

Lake Como cooking classe how to make pizza 2

Pizza is a traditional Italian food and Lake Como is a great place to learn how to make pizza and also to taste it. Pizza can be found in different variations and it is so appreciated that in 2017 it has become a UNESCO heritage. It is interesting to learn about the real history of pizza: it is said that it was invented by the chef Esposito in 1889 for the visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy. The originality of the pizza was that it looked like the Italian flag with red made of tomatoes, white from mozzarella and green of basil and it was named in honor of the Queen Margherita. However, pizza appears also before in 1866 in the book “Customs and Traditions of Naples” from De Bouchard, and it is said that it was invented for the working class, who required inexpensive food that could be consumed quickly but it was the Esposito’s version that made it popular and symbol of Italian food culture.

Nowadays, there are many versions of pizza form the cheapest ones to the most expensive ones like the one invented by the pizzaiolo Renato Viola, named Luigi XII, which is worth 8,300 euros. The ingredients are biological certified flour and Australian pink salt, three types of caviar, red prawns, lobster, sea cicada, fish eggs and Cognac Louis XII Remy Martin. Moreover, it is also served with a champagne bottle. Another version of pizza very famous in Naples is the fried pizza, which was born after the war as a response of the Neapolitan people. In fact, after the world war, eating pizza was expensive not only because of the ingredients but also because bombings destroyed the ovens. The dough of fried pizza is the same, the only difference is that instead of being cooked in an oven, it is soaked in red-hot oil.

Since 2009, Pizza Margherita was given the Traditional Guaranteed Speciality EU label together with other two pizzas’ types: Pizza Marinara with garlic and oregano, and Margherita Extra made of mozzarella di Bufala DOP, tomatoes and basil.

Lake Como cooking classe how to make pizza

Source: pizza in the wood-brick oven  https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/pizza-margherita-history-and-recipe

These pizzas are certified because in order to make them it is necessary to use quality ingredients and a special procedure: first of all, 3 mm thick disk of dough with 1-2 cm of crust are needed. Moreover, the pizza should be made by hand without machinery and the pizza needs to be cooked in a wood-brick oven at 485°C for about 90 seconds.

Here it is the original Pizza Margherita recipe registered in the “Disciplinare di Produzione della Specialità Tradizionale Garantita Pizza Napoletana”. To make the dough you have to mix flour, salt, water and yeast and it should be smooth and extensible. After letting the dough to rest for 2 hours it should be divided in portions of 180 grams each and let them rise for other 4-6 hours. After this, when the dough is ready, you need to roll it until it becomes 3 mm thick and has 1-2 cm edge. For the filling, take 70 g chopped tomatoes and put and spread them in the center of the disk of dough. Then, add DOP mozzarella and some basil leaves. At the end, put some extra virgin olive oil and cook at a temperature between 450C° to 480C°. pay attention to change the position of the pizza frequently so that the heat is spread.

Lake Como cooking classe how to make pizza 2

Source: the original pizza Margherita https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/pizza-margherita-history-and-recipe

Slow Lake Como organizes unique cooking classes in the Lake Como area. How to make pizza is one of our most appreciated experiences. The philosophy behind is that food is not only nutrition but also culture, history, and passion. With the teacher, you will make your own pizza and of course taste it is the perfect way to finish the class.

References:

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

NOT TO MISS:

The tours, courses, and events promoted by Slow Lake Como allow you to sample local products coming into contact with farmers, artisans, and producers of local foods. 

Tremezzo, now part of the bigger municipality of Tremezzina, is a town situated on the western branch of Lake Como, 10 minutes from Hotel Loveno (our Central Lake location) by bus or car. The name Tremezzo has its roots in a fishermen’s town called Tramezzo, which was located between Mount Crocione and the ancient Romana Regina Street. The importance of the town was not only because of its position between Como and the end of the lake but also due to its favorable climate thanks to the south-east orientation and the protection from cold winds. All these factors contributed to agriculture, especially the growth of olive trees introduced by Romans, citrus fruit trees and mulberries, used to raise silkworms, whose silk made Lake Como famous all over the world. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, agriculture was abandoned and tourism became the main industry of the area, helped by the wonderful villas and big hotels on the lake.

Tremezzo Lake Como Italy_Slow Lake Como

Source: Tremezzo https://lakecomotravel.com/tremezzina/#ossuccio-isola-comacina

A definite must-see in the area is Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello, Isola Comacina, the path to the Sacred Mountain of Ossuccio (a unique UNESCO site) and the Greenway of Lake Como.

Villa Carlotta is one of the most known villas on Lake Como with a neoclassical style and fine art masterpieces. The villa was built in the 17th century by Marquis Giorgio Clerici of Milan and then sold to Giovanni Battista Sommariva, who was a politician. Thanks to his political career, he could afford to buy works by Antonio Canova and Francesco Hayez.

Villa Balbianello is well known because it was used as the setting for numerous movies such as A Month by the Lake, Casino Royale, and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. However, the villa has also an interesting history: on the peninsula where the villa is located, there was a monastery of Franciscan friars and the Cardinal Durini took it over. In 1787 the monastery was transformed into a villa. Silvio Pellico, Giovanni Berchet and Alessandro Manzoni were some of the many famous politicians, art and literature personalities who have lived in the villa. Later, the first Italian Everest climber Guido Monzino bought the villa and decorated the interiors with rare furniture. Nowadays, the villa is part of the Italian Environment Fund FAI and is one of the most visited in Italy.

While for nature lovers, the Greenway del Lago is the perfect place to make a 10 km easy walk going along little villages with Roman findings and beautiful gardens.

Slow Lake Como organizes an unmissable tour to Ossuccio specifically for travelers interested in slow tourism. In fact, the tour focuses on the Sacred Mount of Ossuccio, a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its unique 14 chapels such as the amazing abandoned monastery St. Benedict and the Acquafredda Sanctuary, a symbol of the devotion and spirituality of Lake Como. Together with the expert guides, travelers will have the opportunity to connect to the soul of Lake Como and enjoy at the same time the picturesque landscape surrounding this place. The Romanesque St. Benedict Monastery is reachable only by foot, located in the wild and undeveloped Perlana Valley (800 m a.s.l.). The monastery was built in 1090 and abandoned 200 years later in 1298: even if it lost its political and economic function, it keeps still its charm. The Acquafredda Sanctuary is another center of spirituality that is included in the tour and has amazing panoramic views on Lake Como. The tour includes not only professional guides but also a picnic basket with local healthy products. In front of Ossuccio, it is visible a small island (the only one in Lake Como) called Isola Comacina: it has three artists’ homes built by Pietro Lingeri in 1940 and is open to travelers from March to October.

Tremezzo Lake Como Italy _ St. Benedict Abbey_Slow Lake Como

Source: St. Benedict Abbey https://lakecomotravel.com/tremezzina/#ossuccio-isola-comacina

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile/what’s up/ Telegram +39 392 027 9675.

References:

cooking class Slow Lake Como + Abroad a foreigner

Italy is the perfect place where you can learn how to make homemade pasta, at Slow Lake Como, in the Lake Como area we have fantastic cooking classes. One of the most appreciated types of fresh pasta we teach how to make is called tagliatelle.

cooking class Slow Lake Como + Abroad a foreigner

Tagliatelle has an interesting story and origin: the name “tagliatelle” comes from the Italian word cut “taglio” made on the thin dough. The origin is from Emilia Romagna, a region in the central-northern part of Italy but it is spread all over the country. Already in the ancient past, the poet Orazio mentioned the special dough used to make tagliatelle, giving us the first historical reference about it.
According to a legend, tagliatelle were invented in 1478 by mastro Zefirano, the personal chef of Giovanni II Bentivoglio for the wedding of his son with Lucrezia, the daughter of Ercole d’Este. The chef was inspired by the beauty of Lucrezia and created the tagliatelle. A curiosity is that during fascism, Filippo Marinetti, writer inventor of Futurism, proposed the abolition of tagliatelle and maccheroni, as he considered them not so masculine, but it was a never listened to provocation.

To be perfect its width must be 8 millimeters corresponding to the 12.270th part of the Asinelli tower in Bologna (and about 7 mm when it is raw). The Confraternity of Tortellino and the Italian Academy of Cuisine in 1972 deposited the measure at the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna. And it is in the Palazzo della Mercanzia that there is a reproduction of an 8 mm gold tagliatella. However, there is no coding for the thickness, usually between 6 and 8 tenths of a millimeter. The tagliatella should be enjoyed strictly with meat sauce (“ragù”). The Bolognese one is so tasty because it is slow-cooked for hours on the stove.
There are different options of tagliatelle: in Lazio, this type of pasta is called Fettuccine, it is narrower in size than Emilian noodles, but they are usually seasoned with ragù. In Tuscany the most commonly used condiment is porcini mushrooms or wild boar ragu, while in the Marche they are considered a typical dish and are seasoned with various types of ragù, including duck. In Veneto they are used to prepare pasta and beans.

cooking class - fresh pasta - Slow Lake Como - Como

Here is the recipe of tagliatelle dough:

  • Flour 300 g
  • Eggs 3
  • Salt 1 pinch

For the ragù:

  • Beef 200 g
  • Bacon 50 g
  • Onion 1/2
  • Carrot 1
  • Celery 1
  • Tomatoes
  • Red wine 1 glass
  • Broth
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper as needed

Here is the procedure: brown the bacon in a few tablespoons of oil, add a mixture prepared with vegetables. Finally, add the meat and brown it until it has reached a nice uniform brown color. Sprinkle with wine, let it evaporate and add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and a little broth. Cook over low heat for a couple of hours, adding more broth if necessary. Mix the flour with the eggs and a pinch of salt, working the dough until you get a mixture of firm consistency. Roll out the dough into very thin sheets and cut into strips about one centimeter wide. Boil in plenty of salted water, drain it al dente and season with the previously prepared sauce.

Thanks to Slow Lake Como anyone can become a chef for a day and make homemade tagliatelle using healthy quality materials provided by local farmers. Making of pasta is a form of art: it is not only about cooking and eating but also understanding the products used in the recipes and the local traditions.
https://slowlakecomo.com/product/lake-como-cooking-classes-how-to-make-homemade-pasta/?lang=en

Lake Como food info from:

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

NOT TO MISS:

The tours, courses, and events promoted by Slow Lake Como allow you to sample local products coming into contact with farmers, artisans and producers of local foods. 

Varenna_Towns on Lake Como Italy_Slow Lake Como

One of the most traditional towns on Lake Como is Varenna, a fishing village dating back to the 11th century, a real jewel which still keeps the characteristics of an ancient village. It has not only amazing landscape views but also narrow and cobblestone streets which brings people back in time. It is the perfect place for all those who are looking for relaxation, traditions, romantic walks, and inspiration.

If you are interested in culture, we suggest you visit the Churches of San Giovanni Battista and San Giorgio. The Church of San Giovanni Battista is one of the oldest on Lake Como dating back to the 11th century, while the Church of San Giorgio is in a Romanesque and Gothic style and inside you can find wonderful ancient paintings and a spectacular pavement made of local marble. Another cultural landmark is the castle of Vezio, which is supposed to be a Ligurian-Celtic settlement or Etruscan. If you are animal lovers, around 3 p.m. there is an incredible falconry show which is worth the visit.

For those who are interested in nature Villa Monastero is a perfect choice. It was a monastery in the 12th century, then it was given to the State of Italy and nowadays is a museum and has a wonderful botanical garden with many rare species. Villa Cipressi is another ancient villa with a beautiful botanical garden to visit and is also a renowned destination for weddings and conferences, besides being a luxury 4-star hotel perfect for a holiday with a lake view.

Varenna_Towns on Lake Como Italy_Slow Lake Como

For those who want to enjoy a romantic and slow walk, there is the Greenway dei Patriarchi, dedicated to the wise people of the village called “Patriarchi”: it is a 2 hours walk and it is easy to reach as it is located close to train stations and ferry stations.

greenway of Varenna _Slow Lake Como

For those who are looking for inspiration, the Fiumelatte river is the perfect spot for this as its water is so white that reminds people of milk. An interesting itinerary which gives you some hours of peace immersed in stillness is the Sentiero del Viandante, dating back to the Roman period. Once this was a route from Milan to Switzerland and was equipped in 1989, currently covers a total length of about 45 km, which can be covered in several stages. This short but very suggestive walk brings together in the space of a few hours the best of the landscape features of this part of Lombardy: botanical and geological singularity, testimonies of faith, places of popular imagination, cuttings of fields, farmhouses, vineyards, and olive groves.

For those who enjoy HIKING combined with some HISTORY, our partner Cristina organizes an amazing historical and natural experience close to Varenna, called Treasures of mount Legnoncino Valvarrone (Lecco). You will learn about the remains of the trenches part of the well-known Cadorna Line (1915-1918) and go into tunnels used by soldiers during the First World War. In the end, you will reach the peak of Mount Legnoncino (1700m a.s.l.), where there is a wonderful view on Lake Como and the natural reserve of Pian di Spagna.

Another interesting tour focused on nature and eagles is the so-called With eyes of an eagle: you will spend time in one of the wildest areas of Valsassina (Lecco), where eagles are located and will see breathtaking sceneries of Lake Como.

With eyes of an eagle_Slow Lake Como

Photo credits: Alessandro Omassi

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Source:

Secret Lake Como to discover:

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Hostaria La Costa_Slow Lake Como partner

One of our favorite food partner on Lake Como is the inn La Costa, which cooperates with Slow Lake Como for many gastronomic events linked to the local cuisine. This tavern has an interesting history going back to the 17th century when it was a typical Lombard farmhouse. Then at the beginning of 1900, it became an inn and was visited by farmers who wanted to drink some wine and enjoy themselves after the hard work on the field. After them, it was the time for day laborers to come to La Costa. In the ’60s the inn was transformed into a pizza restaurant and now it is not only a pizzeria but also a restaurant and it has a more modern look, however, it has a link to the past thanks to the investment done to restore the furniture.

Nowadays, La Costa offers a cuisine based on the seasonal proposal, maintaining a close link with the territory. Its pride is the production of local salame and fresh homemade pasta, all the ingredients are carefully researched and selected. 70% of the products are produced and grown by the inn, as it tries to be more independent from suppliers. Pizzas are made with the best ingredients and respecting the tradition by cooking them in a wood oven. Some of the local dishes include meat, risotto, local cheese, gnocchi, lasagne, pizzoccheri, hand-made cakes, and regional wine.

Hostaria La Costa_Slow Lake Como partners

Moreover, there is the possibility to organize banquets, refreshments, business lunches, private parties and wine tasting evenings to satisfy every customer request. In fact, Slow Lake Como often organizes gastronomic events at La Costa. One example is the event about the local dish Paradell, which was eaten by farmers as it uses simple ingredients such as flour, eggs, water or milk, and sugar/salt. Today we use to cook it using sugar but in the past, it was a salty dish and for this reason during the event participants have the opportunity to cook it traditionally using salt. Here is the recipe: mix white flour in milk or water with a pinch of salt, adding a whole egg until everything is well blended. Then put a pan on the fire with seed oil and pour the whole mixture into it, adding as desired, a good fresh or dried American grape. When browned on one side, the Paradell is turned upside down for complete cooking. Then it is cut into slices.

The environment where the restaurant-inn La Costa is located and where the events are held is in the Mills Valley (Valle dei Mulini): it is where many mills once worked and where the authenticity and traditions are still kept alive. The inn is an example of how to maintain local flavors and be modern at the same time: a place where different generations can meet, ideal for locals to rediscover the past and for tourists to discover the food of Lake Como in a different light.

Hostaria La Costa_Slow Lake Como partner

The inn in the past, Facebook site of hostaria la costa

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

NOT TO MISS:

The tours, courses, and events promoted by Slow Lake Como allow you to sample local products coming into contact with farmers, artisans and producers of local foods. 

Monte Grona_Slow Lake Como_ best hiking in Lake Como Italy

Besides the famous hiking trails in Cinque Terre, also Lake Como offers some of the most stunning hiking paths in Italy. Here there are some examples of the best hiking in Lake Como Italy.

The UNESCO site Cinque Terre is a world-famous place to enjoy nature, sea and do some hiking. In fact there are many footpaths like “Sentiero Azzurro”, Blue Path, which stretches along the coast and allows to discover all the five villages by walking 5 hours. Another interesting path is the Red Path “Sentiero Rosso”, which goes from Portovenere to Levanto. The Blue Path is the easiest one and the most charming as people walk and have a stunning view of the sea. However, it is a UNESCO site, visitors must purchase a card which allows them to walk along the path and the money goes for the preservation of the area.

Piona Abbey - Slow Lake Como, best hiking in Lake Como italy

Piona Abbey, Slow Lake Como

 

There is another region in Italy which deserves more consideration from hikers and it is our beautiful Lake Como. In fact, there are many paths which will surprise tourists with amazing lake views from the top of the mountains. Here are some suggestions of the best hiking paths you can try around Lake Como.

The first one is in the northern part of the Lake, in Alto Lario: the path going to the Piona Abbey. It is a very easy path with cobblestone roads and labyrinths in the forest which brings you to a stunning natural balcony with lake view. The final destination is, however, the ancient Abbey with a cave hosting the statue of Holy Mary of Lourdes. You can visit the Abbey for free and have a rest on the benches admiring the wonderful panorama.

Monte Grona_Slow Lake Como_ best hiking in Lake Como Italy

View of Lake Como from Monte Grona.

 

The second path is above the town of Menaggio and brings you to Monte Grona (1736 m s.l), where one can see one of the best views of the Alps and of the lakes: Lake Como, Lake Piano and Lake Lugano in Switzerland. One of the easiest ways to reach the top is starting from Breglia (749 m) and reach Hut Menaggio (Rifugio Menaggio). From here you need only 1:30 hrs to reach the top of the mountain.

 

The third suggestion is close to the city of Como and is the easiest of the three as you just have to take a funicular to be able to enjoy the panorama from above: it is the Brunate funicular. The funicular is a sort of train existing since 1894 and links Como to the village of Brunate, which was a holiday destination for rich families from Milan and Como, who build many Art Nouveau style villas. From Brunate you can see the Alps and the area of Milan.

Brunate Slow Lake Como hiking

Brunate Slow Lake Como hiking

 

Slow Lake Como offers an interesting excursion of Brunate for families or groups. Our expert guides will guide you from the city center of Como to the station of the funicular to Brunate and from here there will be a walking excursion to reach Mount Piatto, where there is an amazing viewpoint. Continuing the path, you will see one of the strangest sites called Pietra Pendula and visit the small village of Piazzaga with the mysterious stone tombs. The descent is toward the picturesque village of Torno and from here we will come back to Como by boat.

 

Another curious trail is the one called Lake Como Rebels, War and Smuggling. As Como is close to the border of Switzerland, there is a history of smuggling with trenches and hiding places close to the city center. This excursion will guide you to the Spina Verde Park, the perfect place to learn about the tricks used from smugglers to escape the guards.

Lake Como Rebels, War and Smuggling_Slow Lake Como

Slow Lake Como, Lake Como Rebels, War and Smuggling

 

 

Overall, Lake Como offers wonderful hiking paths which still keep its charm with unspoiled nature and no mass tourism. It is an ideal place for hike lovers who crave for high altitudes, but also for families with children as there are many easy paths along the lake. If you want a place where you can enjoy nature and at the same time relax and get to know the secrets and curiosities of Lake Como, try one of our guided excursions with experts who will reveal you the most interesting facts and know the best viewpoints to enjoy and relax the lake.

References:

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Slow Lake Como cooking classes how to make risotto

Slow Lake Como activities are exploring everything that is local and interesting, today we are glad to share more about Lake Como cooking classes and risotto.

Origins

The legend says that the risotto alla Milanese (literally translated into rice of Milan) has its origins back in 1574 with the artist Valerio from Flanders and his assistant, who was called Saffron as he was used to mixing yellow with all the colors in the artistic creations of Valerio. At the wedding of Valerio’s daughter, Saffron wanted to make a joke by adding the spice saffron in the rice to make it yellow. However, the guests liked both the taste of it and its color as it was cheerful and perfect for the wedding.

Saffron is the secret ingredient of the “risòtt giald” (another name of the rice in dialect, which means yellow rice). It is a plant whose flower can be light violet or purple with three red threads, from which the yellow powder comes from. This powder has also other useful applications such as in liquors and as digestive. The countries where it is grown are the warmest one such as India, Persia, Greece, and Spain but later also in Italy (Sardegna and the territory around L’Aquila). In fact, the Sforza family used saffron for their rich Milanese banquets as it was considered a symbol for material and spiritual richness, abundance, prosperity, and joy. Moreover, the yellow color is associated with immortality. It was considered such a precious spice that a half kilo of saffron was exchanged for a horse!

Another funny legend says that the yellow risotto is a relative of Arancini: a typical dish from Sicily. The legend is about a cook who moved from Sicily to Milan and wanted to make Arancini, but because she didn’t have all the ingredients to fill in the dish, she used the yellow rice of Milan.

Slow Lake Como cooking classes how to make risotto_arancini

Photo1. Slow Lake Como cooking classes how to make risotto (source www.ilgiornaledelcibo.it)

Here below you can find a comparison of both the traditional and the modern versions of the recipe.

How to make risotto: Original Recipe

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 30 g of beef marrow or minced beef
  • 2-3 l of hot broth
  • Two tablespoons of dark and light beef roast fat (if missing put the marrow up to 60 g)
  • Small onion finely treated
  • A tuft of saffron pistils or a bag of saffron
  • Salt
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 50 g of butter

This recipe is approved and registered with the status De.Co. in the City of Milan since 2007, which means that the dish is belonging to the territory of Milan. This recognition makes it possible to spread the risotto alla Milanese abroad but also conserving its roots. For this reason, the risotto was the protagonist at the famous exhibition EXPO 2015 in Milan.

Lake Como cooking classes: Risotto alla Milanese 2.0

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 400 g of carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 white onion
  • A glass of still white wine
  • 2 bags of saffron from Abruzzo or Sardinian
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 240g of butter
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano (grated)
  • A good meat broth

The difference between the traditional recipe and the new one is in the use of fat instead of wine: the traditional version uses an animal fat, while in the modern version the fat is substituted by the wine.

Slow Lake Como cooking classes how to make risotto

Photo2. Slow Lake Como cooking classes how to make risotto alla Milanese, source:.italiasquisita.net

Personally I love traditions and keep things like in the past, but in this case, I am happy about the 2.0 version of the risotto using wine instead of meat fat. It still keeps the main ingredients with a slight modification: both modern and tasty, which aligns also with our Lake Como cooking classes’ values.

References:

Mariya,
Discover the activities on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Lake Como cooking classes are:

Homemade pasta 
Homemade pizza
Let’s make risotto

NOT TO MISS:

The tours, courses, and events promoted by Slow Lake Como allow you to sample local products coming into contact with farmers, artisans, and producers of local foods. 

Bellagio Lake Como slow lake como-27

Bellagio, Lake Como’s pearl is one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Como Italy. Bellagio is an international destination known for its majestic villas over-looking the Lake, and for being the home to famous individuals. Bellagio it is considered one of the most beautiful traditional Italian town, even if as Italian and Lake Como resident I probably got used to it, I have enough about the beauty of traditional Italian towns. I see it, but I am looking for more than just beauty.      

Bellagio Lake Como slow lake como-27

My article was also inspired by The most beautiful towns to visit on Lake Como finally talking about The towns on Lake Como, that are so many and so special, each of them is unique.  

Being a member of the Slow Lake Como team, I have the mission to show you what an insider consider the best of Lake Como. We want you to fall in love with unknown corners of the lake, undiscovered places for the residents too, even in world-famous Bellagio!

Bellagio center and World Famous Villas

This is a point for many residents of Lake Como’s shores. The town center of Bellagio is for an extensive period of time (March – November) crowded with visitors and tourists, this is making the town a tourist destination rather than a community town center. Have a look around when you visit it, can you find any alimentari (small food store) or supermarket there? Or is the center full of bars, restaurants, and shops closing down in November?

Anyway I agree with most of the people telling Bellagio has still a charming and relaxed atmosphere 🙂 while there you can visit Villa Melzi and his botanical garden, you can do some shopping, walking in the narrowed streets of the center. Admire Church San Giacomo, built between 1075 and 1125, at the top of the historic center. Walk in Villa Serbelloni Park, above the historic center, has an 18th-century garden and great views of the lake. It’s open April through November, please check dates before arrival.

Discover The Museum of Navigational Instruments, in the hamlet of San Giovanni, can be reached on foot in about 25 minutes, public boat, or in summer on the tourist train. It’s open daily, mornings only. (Thanks to tripsavy.com for the info)

The point is if you want to go deep, to discover the soul of Bellagio, you need to explore a bit more around. Here is what Slow Lake Como discovered and love about the area.

The Toc is a traditional meal prepared by local residents during important religious celebrations like weddings and baptisms. Discover more about this food tradition of Bellagio

Pescallo lays on the same promontory of Bellagio but hidden on the other side, facing the Lecco branch perennially admiring the breath-taking show of the Grigne. Really far from every clamor, just a few steps away from the place most visited in Lake Como area Pescallo used to be a finishing village. In Pescallo I did my first kayaking in Lake Como (just a few years ago with a colleague from Argentina) supported by Bellagio Water Sports, where local expert Michele can organize for you SUP and kayak tours ).

pescallo-lake como italy

Madonna del Ghisallo: the Patron Saint of Cycling  

Just a short drive into the mountains south of Bellagio or 40 minutes by bus, you’ll find one of Italy’s legendary cycling routes – Ghisallo Pass. The 552m climb over the distance of 10,6km along the hairpins of this famous hill is not just a challenge for cycling enthusiasts. Ghisallo Pass is a popular feature of the most renowned cycling races like Giro di Lombardia, Giro d’Italia, and many others.

Legend has it that in medieval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards this vision saved him. Thus, the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patroness of travelers. Then, in 1949 a local priest managed to persuade Pope Pius XII to admit her as the patroness of cyclists. Since then, the small chapel has become a shrine to cycling legends, both living and deceased, and provides a memorial to those who have fallen in our sport.

The views on top of the mountain are spectacular, but the scenery is not the only reason to come here. Ghisallo Pass is literally a place of pilgrimage for cyclists and supporters from all over the world

Partly because the collection of cycling artifacts accumulated was becoming far too big for the small chapel, a purpose-built Museo di Ciclismo has been created nearby on the mountaintop. In contrast to the traditional style of the chapel of the Madonna, the ultra-modern museum building is cut into the very side of the mountain itself – its massive plate glass windows affording breathtaking views of the Lombardia hills and the Lago di Lecco below.

My research about Bellagio lead me to this quick article about a gluten-free experience in Bellagio, I think it could be useful for some of you. Check Gluten Free Palate website.

 

Source:

Photo: Pescallo & Bellagio Lake Como by Slow Lake Como

Sara
Discover the towns on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tours in Lake Como
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Slow Lake Como - Walk & Toc

The Toc, a Lake Como food tradition peculiar of the Bellagio area, was once prepared only for very important celebrations such as weddings and baptisms. The farmers prepared it using what they themselves produced: flour, butter and the cheese made from the milk of their cows. Given the considerable amount of butter and cheese needed, the Toc was considered a rich dish.

Lake Como food traditions': The Toc - Slow Lake Como

The cauldron (paiolo) with Toc was usually placed at the center of the hall and the guests sat around it in a circle, as is still done today.
When the cauldron is emptied, it’s the time to proceed to the preparation of the Ragell: the basic ingredient is the red wine to which it is added, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, of the orange zest and grated lemon and an apple cut into pieces.

The cauldron isn’t perfectly cleaned, it is curious the leftovers of Toc get left in, which will give a characteristic taste to the drink.
The master of the Toc then puts the cauldron on fire with wine and spices and at this point, thanks to the heat, the alcohol contained in the wine evaporate and ignite, creating one spectacular effect of burning cauldron. When the alcohol vapors are exhausted, the Ragell is ready for consumption.

The cauldron is then removed from the fire and placed in the center of the room where using a wooden ladle, we draw the drink that is poured again steaming each of the diners seated in a circle again around the cauldron. And it is in this rite, in this sharing that, also favored by the powers of wine, the socialization of the group reaches its peak.

Lake Como food traditions': The Toc - Slow Lake Como

Lake Como food traditions info from:
Como and its lake 
Palazzo del Vicere

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Slow Lake Como & Hostaria la Costa first edition of Walk & Toc, click the link to read more on our Facebook Page!  

walk & Toc_ Slow Lake Como_5 12 2018

NOT TO MISS:

The tours, courses and events promoted by Slow Lake Como allow you to sample local products coming into contact with farmers, artisans and producers of local foods.