This past weekend, I went to Lake Como in Northern Italy (Ketan, the map is for you) with 4 friends. We rented a house lakeside, tooled around on a motor boat one day, and generally ate our way through the weekend.
Here are some highlights:
Dinner at Bilacus in Bellagio.
Bilacus means Two Lakes in Latin, which is the ancient name for Bellagio, a town that sits between Lago di Como and Lago di Lecco. It was a wonderful meal, especially following our Carte d’Or out-of-a-frozen-plastic-container dessert experience the preceding evening at the Tre Rose Hotel in our little town of Nesso.
The scene is a rooftop garden in Bellagio, overlooking a steep cobblestone street, up from the main lakefront promenade. It started with prosciutto e melone – the melon served in a glass bowl over ice, and the prosciutto sliced paper thin at room temperature. The combination is exactly what that appetizer is meant to be – a juxtaposition of taste, temperature and texture. The melon is sweet, crisp and fresh, the prosciutto salty and soft.
The melon rinds also looked particularly artistic after I had polished off every last bite:
This was followed by spaghetti alle vongole (clams), one of my favorite dishes ever.
It was served in a simple, light tomato sauce with fresh clams. Delicious.
For dessert, scarred as we were from the night before, and full as we were from our delicious meal, we ordered tiramisu to share. But when it arrived I took one bite and ordered my own.
Tiramisu is already one of my favorite desserts, and this one ranks pretty well towards the top of the list. Super creamy, lady finger cookies falling apart soaked in coffee and liquor, cocoa powder on top. Heaven.
Another highlight was lunch in Lezzeno at Aurora’s, a small town between Nesso and Bellagio. The Aurora is a hotel with a large terrace restaurant overlooking the lake. We had a prime spot right by the railing from which we could enjoy the view of the lake, plus laugh at the children playing on the floating trampoline. Sadly, they rushed us to order as the kitchen was closing, and I was thus out-ordered by my fellow diners, notably by this enourmous dish of mussels, which, if you can believe it, in this photo has already been picked over by two people:
There was also an Aperol spritz – inspired by my trip to Venice in May where everyone drinks them:
Note the two large, blue straws. Very important for efficient consumption.
But perhaps the best meal was homemade breakfast on our final day which included french toast (admittedly not very Italian), salumi, cheese, apricots and little green plums. All washed down with some strong Italian coffee expertly brewed by my housemates. It was difficult to leave a few hours later, to return to England’s green (and cold and wet) land.
A picture of the view from our house, for good measure: