A taste of Lake Como
Beautiful calm waters, high mountains, old-world elegance, modern luxury and traditional charm combine to attract visitors who revel in the romance and beauty of this breathtaking lake.
But Lake Como has also a long impeccable culinary tradition and Lake cuisine is dominated by fish, a speciality that embodies the rich and variegated offer of lakeside restaurateurs. Risotto with perch fillets is the “typical dish” of Lake Como.
Autumn is the ideal time to taste the “missultit or missoltini”, the traditional fish of Lake Como. This fish is caught and then undergo a lengthy processing. They are salted for two to three days and once the salt has been absorbed, they are carefully washed and hung up to dry in the sun for around ten days, then the fish are flattened and arranged in layers with bay leaves in special metal containers called tolle. In the past, wooden barrels called missolte were used instead, the origin of the name missoltino. Then they are grilled and seasoned with ages olive oil, vinegar and parsley.
The missoltini are often served with polenta, another popular com-based dish often combined with meat, fish, cheese and vegetables.
Other traditional dishes of Lario are the famous “Salami of Brianza” certified DOP, and also many dairy products; the most well-known cheese is Taleggio, but there are also goat’s milk cheeses, both delicate and strong, fresh cheeses, ricotta, and excellent butter. Among the cheeses made on the west shore of upper Lake Como is the famous Semuda, a DOP cheese made from manually skimmed cow’s milk, rennet and salt, often is served with acacia honey.
Sweets include “Resta di Como”, made with dried and candied fruit, and an olive twig inside the dough to bring peace and good luck, “mataloch”, also made with dried and candied fruit, “miascia” made from stale bread, butter, milk, eggs, sugar and red wine, or the version found more
commonly in the Lecco area made from maize flour with raisins, honey and dried fruit, and finally “cutizza”, a type of homemade focacia.
Some products of the small-scale businesses along the banks of the lake have become real culinary excellence, such as the asparagus of Rogaro and the olives of the area of Bellagio and Tremezzina and the eastern shore of the lake in the areas of Perledo and Varenna, from which a rare and valuable oil is made.
This is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Laghi Lombardi, cold worked to preserve the original taste and flavour. You can buy this type of oil direclty from producers, in the various areas of Lake Como.
In the famous basin of oil (Zoca de l’oli) of Lenno, olive groves, coexist with tourist attractions like Villa Balbianello, Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo and the Holy Mountain of Ossuccio, UNESCO.
This means…….don’t forget to try some wonderful Lake Como food during your holiday!