Postcard from Lake Como

By
Sarah Gamboni
Added
04 January, 2016

Cooked editor Sarah Gamboni sends a postcard from ultra-glamorous Lake Como, home to A-list guests, snow-capped alps and hearty Lombardian fare.

Italy: it’s the country that claims my heart, soul and stomach. Of all the destinations in the world, it’s the one place I’d revisit time and again, stuffing myself with pasta, knocking back bottles of Chianti, and losing myself in the lyricism of the language.

It may be on the other side of the globe from my base in Melbourne, Australia, yet somehow Italy feels like home.

At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to stay at the ultra-glam Grand Hotel Tremezzo, on the edge of Lake Como. In the shadow of the alps, just a short hop from the Swiss border, the food of Como is far richer and meatier than Italy’s southern climes, with risotto, lake fish, black truffles and even fondue featuring heavily. 

Grand Hotel Tremezzo risotto

World-renowned chef Gaultiero Marchesi oversees the menu in the hotel's chichi La Terrazza restaurant. On our first night, we dined by candlelight on his signature dish of saffron risotto garnished with gold leaf, followed by blush-pink veal with foie gras and black truffle, and a dark chocolate fondant with tart redcurrant sauce.  

Villa del Barbianello

The next day, we lingered over a sumptuous buffet breakfast in the sun-kissed restaurant, then climbed aboard a Clooney-esque Venetian boat for a jaunt on the lake. First stop was the historic Villa del Balbianello, a grand mansion packed with antiques and owner/explorer Guido Monzino's museum-like trove of travel trinkets. 

After ogling his Inuit statues and fur-clad sleigh, we jetted to a tiny cove for lunch at Locanda La Tirlindana. At this alfresco restaurant on a cobblestoned piazza, we feasted on lemon and mascarpone pasta, lake trout with almonds and butter, and a trio of desserts including pannacotta, semifreddo and creme brulee.

Aperitivo

The A-list treatment continued back at the hotel, with spa treatments, pool sessions, and aperitivo with Lombardian sparkling wine, Franciacorta, Italy's answer to Champagne. 

It may be a while until I return to Italy, but in the meantime these recipes from Lake Como and the Lombardy region will tide me over. 

Buon appetito!

Arancini with sage and taleggio

Arancini

Risotto milanese

Risotto milanese

Osso bucco with white bean puree

Osso bucco

Salt-baked trout with olive and rosemary crust

Salt-baked trout

Chocolate & salted caramel fondue

Fondue

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