Table of contents
- Gastrolario, the first gastronomic review on the excellences of Lake Como.
- How is Gastrolario organized?
- The Gastrolario Oscar Night.
- Dinner on the night of the Gastrolario Oscars
- The environment and atmosphere of Hotel Villa Belvedere
- The menu on the night of the Gastrolario Oscars
Gastrolario, the first gastronomic review on the excellences of Lake Como.
Gastrolario, this year at its second edition, it is the show that makes the dishes and typical products of Lake Como protagonists.
The merit of Gastrolario is to have revived the tradition, the culture but above all the gastronomic offer of Como creating continuity between the past, the present and the future of our territory.
The founder of this initiative is Claudio Bizzozero, former mayor of Cantù and already known in our areas for the Festival de la Cazoeula which has reached its eighth edition.
Gastrolario is a gastronomic event, a winner is not designated. In fact, the real protagonists are the local dishes.
During the review we have tasted menus of 3 restaurants that we chose based on the categories provided by the event.
We were pleasantly satisfied with all 3 places, both because they are excellent restaurants, but above all because they put heart, passion and professionalism in their proposal.
How is Gastrolario organized?
The organization is very simple, and also for this reason brilliant. Participating restaurateurs offer, in a pre-established time frame, different menus linked to the territory based on 3 territorial sections.
In 2018 they have been:
While in 2019, they were:
- polenta uncia;
- stewed meats;
- lake fish.
The contribution of customers is very important. On the Gastrolario website, each customer was able to vote on the restaurant menu based on four categories:
- the menu;
Just for one night all customers become judges!
The night of the Gastrolario Oscars
Once the review was over, the Oscar night was announced. Restaurateurs, sponsors and lucky customers, drawn after voting, were able to participate.
The location chosen for the final evening of the 2018 edition was the beautiful Villa Belvedere in Argegno. A magical place with a beautiful view of Lake Como.
But how was the evening? We can tell you, since we have been there!
Dinner on the night of the Gastrolario Oscars
On the evening of November 12th we went to Villa Belvedere to taste a five-course dinneroffered by the organizers.
Sergio Mauri, vice president of the Como chefs association, together with a group of students and young chefs from a Como’s hotel school, took care of the preparation.
The night of the Oscars began with a standing aperitif in the room before the main hall.
The aperitif included scones, fresh bread, cheeses kindly supplied by the Latteria Sociale Valtellina, cold cuts and prosecco.
During the aperitif, however, we looked around the restaurant for a while and captured some impressions of the location.
Environment and atmosphere of Hotel Villa Belvedere
The restaurant is very suggestive. As soon as you arrive in Argegno you can immediately see it on the right. Overlooking the lake, it is located near the pier where the boats leave. In the evening everything is very romantic.
Once parked you enter through a small garden. As soon as you enter, you are in front of the hotel reception, small but well cared for.
Going straight, you arrive in the first room where we had the aperitif.
Looking at several photographs, one senses that it is the place where the breakfast buffet is usually set up. Immediately after you enter the large glazed lounge that offers a magnificent view of Lake Como.
Although the walls and decorations are very classic, the furnishings are modern and refined. The white tablecloths take on color with fresh flower centerpiecesthat go well with the light green leather chairs.
On this occasion, the atmosphere is nice and lively due to the event, but everything gives you the idea of elegance and tranquility. An excellent starting point for those who want to treat themselves to a romantic tête-à-tête.
After the aperitif, we sit down at the table and after the proper greetings to all the guests we begin to eat.
The menu on the night of the Gastrolario Oscars
Let’s start with an appetizer based on zincarlin, salmon with sweet smoke on veils of fennel, honey tears, late radicchio and valerian with pomegranate emulsion.
More difficult to say than to eat. The dish was fresh, simple and tasty.
Zincarlin is a raw paste cheese that has its roots between Lake Lugano and Como.
Produced mainly with cow’s milk (when it is in season, small quantities of goat’s milk are added) it is flavored with salt and pepper and then modeled to mature for two months.
After a short break comes the first course.
A risotto,Vialone Nano, creamed with violin squash with cream of mountain cheese and essence of missoltino.
Very delicate and cooked very well despite the large quantities of rice to be cooked.
Vialone Nano rice is a product of Venetian origin. More precisely, this rice is grown exclusively around the Verona area.
It has been marked by the European Union with the IGP mark and its production is closely linked to its territory and to specific production procedures.
We arrive at the second with theBusecca della regiura or the tripe. Perfectly cooked with beans, carrots, onions and its broth that made it really soft and tasty.
Regiurais a bit difficult to translate literally, but in a few words it means “landlady” or the one who “holds the house”. It refers to the women of the past who took care of the house and were the reference point for the family.
Finally comesthe dessertwhich consists of a mascarpone cream with Vespetrò and Baj panettone. Icing on the cake for an important dinner, but as tradition dictates, nice heavy and consistent.
Vespetrò is a historic liqueur from the city of Canzo. The liqueur is prepared with an infusion of aromatic herbs such as coriander, fennel, anise and orange zest.
Its production was interrupted in 1991 but resumed later in 2008 by a renowned Bellagio family, the Scanagatta.
Panettone Baj is also a product that has disappeared from circulation for a while. Its creator is Giuseppe Baj born in 1839.
He brings a successful brand to the market, allowing the panettone to leave the regional borders.
The tradition, however, is interrupted for a long time until 2 of his great-grandchildren,Cesare Baj and Tommaso, start production again in 2016.
Obviously they too were guests of the evening and we had the pleasure of hearing from them their choice to bring a product of the past back to life.
The assignment of the Slow Food Como snails
During the evening, between courses, Claudio Bizzozero told us how the Gastrolario festivalwas born.
It was an exciting story that made us understand how Como cuisine is loved and how we want to enhance it also through these events.
The most important, but also the most enjoyable, activity was carried out by Slow Food Como.
Throughout the exhibition, his delegates visited the restaurants in incognito. At the end of the competition, they were given the task of assigning the coveted snail.
The criteria considered were:
- emotional memory;
- realization of the recipe.
The Slow Food Como snails were assigned to these dishes:
- Pumpkin flower with lake fish, croutons with chub pate, lavarella swivel with goat’s cheese and pike meatball – La Ghironda restaurant;
- Fresh water fish soup, slightly spicy on bean cream – Villa Belvedere;
- Minestra de Imbroj, the cheat soup or soup of happiness that served to unite the families of the two betrothed fiancées – Trattoria Carlito’s;
- Risotto del grass de rost – Castello Comi;
- Potato dumplings from Como and Zincarlin – La Scaletta restaurant;
- Fresh tagliolini with black truffle – Ristorante Frate;
- Perch ravioli with butter and sage – Bella Vista Boutique Hotel and Restaurant;
- Urgiada with sausage, cabbage and robiola from Valsassina – Trattoria San Biagio;
- Putin cun scurzunera and polenta – Capolinea Bistrot;
- Rustisciada with polenta – Crott dal Murnee;
- Fojolo in umido – Osteria del KM 0;
- Pike perch escalope on pumpkin cream – La Veranda Hotel Posta;
- Stew of moorlandsnails in green stew and Topinambur chips – Osteria del Pettirosso;
- Boneless roasted quail, stuffed with sausage and chestnuts – Bella Vista;
- Boneless rabbit medallion in olive crust with soft potato – Crotto del Sergente;
- Polenta enriched with butter and alpine cheese – Chalet Gabriele;
- Cook with elderflower – Momi Restaurant;
- Resta di Como with resumada, poor relative of the eggnog, red wine is used instead of marsala – Arcade Restaurant.
After the awards at the restaurant dishes, we enjoyed chatting with the diners.