Italian Lakes: 5 The heuristics of finding a place to eat

July 28, 2011

After the emotion of the previous night and the the early morning return today was not likely to see any major activity. Unfortunately I have always, apart from a brief period at University, woken up at first light regardless of when I went to bed. It’s probably guilt, coming from a family of farmers, vets and gamekeepers who generally worked dawn to dusk. Given that Huw is on the bed-sofa in the main social room of the house I ended up on the patio working on email before strolling into town to buy bread and croissant for breakfast. This is a institution in Italy and France and I can never comprehend why some enterprising soul doesn’t start it up in the UK. Mind you I am more amazed that the US, with such a high proportion of Italian immigrants regards cake as normal breakfast fare; it is rare to find any fresh bread at all in the morning there, let alone the air filled rolls that are common here. I love buy bread by weight as well, it as character to the occasion.

The general consensus when I returned to the apartment was that the day, or what was left of it, should be devoted to sun bathing and swimming. Now I have never seen the point of sun bathing. Shade is something I actively seek out so I left them to it and spent the afternoon with the window opening, listing to a documentary on that wonderful Scottish Composer Peter Maxwell on the iPlayer while clearing email and some other writing. I am also reading Angela Foreman’s A World on Fire which tells the story of the American Civil War from a British perspective using diplomatic and other records of the time; so having some peace and quiet for good news.

By evening the party were alive again so we set off for the centre of Peschiera del Garda (the picture shows the sun setting as we walked over the bridge through the gates of the 13th Century Fortress. This town was the Italian Naval Base, Riva the Austrian during WWI and there are memorials around the lake to the men who fell in the naval battles that broke out from time to time on the Lake. We then adopted my normal policy of seeking for a good restaurant in Italy without local advise. This is fairly simple to follow. Avoid the wonderful locations on the side of the lake, the restaurants here sell on location not on food and they generally charge too much for poor quality. Instead go back into the town, behind the waterfront and find the restaurant with a small local menu. Large menus are another sign of poor quality, or formulaic cooking. If it is well populated after around 2030 by locals then you are usually onto a good thing.

We found a good one, the Ristorante La Torretta on the Via G. Galilei. I had a starter made with Lake Pike, and then sliced steak with rosemary rosti tatws; the complimentary lemon liqueur at the end was a welcome bonus, although it did come with a request to give them a good review on Trip Advisor, which I will be happy to do. From thence to bed for me, but for the rest of the party it was the start of the night’s entertainment. Tomorrow a multiple trip around the lake by ferry.

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