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Entries in Tremezzo (4)


Sights and Flavors of Northern Italy

As many of you know, our mom (Marmo) is the El Heffe at Gourmety Getaways, a travel agency specializing in gourmet tours of Italy.

There are three take aways from the above sentence:

1. Gourmet

2. Tours

3. Italy

Simple addition of the above three points leads to taste-sensory eye rolling, oooohs and aaaaahs, spectacular scenery, and the overuse of the Italian word, "andiamo!" (let's GO!).

Marmo is throwing together a new tour of the Northern region of Italy, which by all intents and purposes should be fan-freakin-tastic, or if you prefer, bellissimo!

How do I know? I know this because John and I had the opportunity to accompany her on a recon mission to the aforementioned area last spring.

We ate lardo. We skimmed across Lake Como on water taxis. We drank fabulous regional wines. We shopped our wallets off. We over used the Italian word, "andiamo!" (let's GO!).

You can read more about the Iaciofano family Northern Italy travels here, here and here And you can find out more about Marmo's tour, which takes place October 19-27, 2013, here.



Pizzeria Carillon in Bellagio

I may have mentioned this, but the way Lake Como works is this: You stay in one of the little towns (we stayed in Tremezzo) and then you water-taxi-it around the lake to the other little towns for the purposes of sight-seeing, food, shopping and general merriment.

Pretty sweet, right? Right.

One of our water taxi stops was Bellagio, a tiny town built into the hills around the lake. Restaurants and shops greet you at the harbor, and you can wander up the steep, perilous steps to find more shopping and restaurants. Marmo and I loved it.

I even found a REAL cycling shop in one of the crevices of the town, proceeded to talk with the shopkeeper IN ITALIAN (thank you very much) about cycling, and left with this cool Italia cycling kit at a hugely discounted price.

I was pretty excited. So was The Box, as I dragged him into the shop and then proceeded to squeal with delight at the selection of Italian spandex. The Box, as you might imagine, is opposed to spandex, unless it's being used to encase sausage.

And speaking of food - we haven't yet spoken of PIZZA.  We go all the way to Italy, and no talk (yet) of pizza. To be fair, we didn't visit Naples or Rome...two of our favorite cities for pizza. Pizza is traditionally a Southern Italian food. But pizza can be found everywhere. And we found some quality examples at Pizzeria Carillon on the Bellagio harbor.

I asked John for his notes on our pizza experience, and he supplied the following:

Brick Oven. Floppy, Runny, that is all I have. (via gchat)

Ummmm, yeah. John's lack of verbosity should not be confused with a lack of enthusiasm. In fact, we very much enjoyed our pizza, and his notes hit the nail on the head. Besides, who can talk or note-take when you have your cheeks full of oven-toasted pizza pie?

Brick oven? Check. The crusts were nicely charred and crispy, but still retained....wait for it....

that FLOPPY, squishy-bready quality that is characteristic of Neapolitan pizza crusts. 

And they were mildly RUNNY – also a Neapolitan feature. The centers of the pie are JUST cooked. Picking up a slice often encourages the tip of the pizza to droop and contents to sliiiiiiiide gently from bread to plate. Not a bad thing. The featured pepperoni pie above had just the right amount of grease and merged perfectly with the mozzarella cheese.

This above number was quite tasty with copious amounts of fresh basil and sweet cherry tomatoes. You will also notice from the fork and knife photos above that the pizzas were not pre-sliced. Points for authenticity on that one. Italians don't slice their pizza, because then they can't "fold and go"... pizza was one of the original "to-go" foods. 

Let's pause a moment for the flop shot...a piece of pepperoni droops perilously on the tip, only to be devoured moments later by John's watering chops.

A sign of a well done pizza lunch: the pizza swop. John, Marmo and I frequently traded slices, looking for just one more bite of each other's variations. 


La Terazza and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo

In our previous post, Elana mentioned that us Iaciofano's stayed in the town of Tremezzo on Lake Como.  Our digs during our visit was the stuff dreams are made of - The Grand Hotel Tremezzo; a heavenly lake side palace of glory, gorgeousness, and glam.  Serious, serious kudos to Marmo for hooking this place up. 

Upon arriving, I literally spent about 2 hours just casing the joint - scoping the various indoor and outdoor pools, their tennis court, a lakeside beach and their beautiful lake-facing terraces.  The place is just pure magic.  The hotel (and Lake Como in general) really had an effect on me; at times, even causing me to conjure up foreign, romantic/cheesy ideas - like coming back another time with a lady friend to participate in some candle-lit, terrace-chilling, hand holding.  Yikes.

The area of the Hotel I always looked forward to visiting every day was the Terrace.  There were two main terraces at the Hotel - one for drinking/relaxing and another, where their restaurant was located, known as "La Terazza." On our first night, the crew settled in for a sit down dinner and was thoroughly impressed.  The view and atmosphere were literally breathtaking; La Terazza is situated on the 3rd floor of the Hotel, with a straight up unfair view of the Lake, neighboring towns, and Mountains.  Just an absolute visual treat. 

La Terazza's veal meatballs were spicy and perfectly salty.  The sauce was wonderfully tangy.

Elana's lake fish was a de-boned in front of our eyes, and was buttery fresh.

I ordered a veal chop with foie gras and black truffle (below).  It was amazing - the veal was as tender as a filet mignon and the truffle flavor did not disappoint.  The spinach was served was raisins and pine nuts.  It all blended together seamlessly.

Dessert was a marscapone shortbread combination masterpiece.

In the a.m., La Terazza functioned as the Hotel's breakfast scene, complete with some of the greatest cappuccino and freshly baked croissants on Earth (and that same amazing view).

Leaving the Grand Hotel Tremezzo was a sad, sad day in my life - evoking post-Bucknell graduation levels of sadness and nostalgia, despite staying there only 3 days.  One of the finest hotels I've ever stayed at.  Who wants to accompany me for a return trip?


The Iaciofano's Go To Naboo, I mean Lenno...

Although we were sad to leave Verona, we were anticipating with much enthusiasm the adventures that awaited us in Lake Como.
Our fearsome foursome took up temporary residence in Tremezzo, one of the towns circling the lake. Travel from town to town happens by boat on Lake Como, so the Iaciofano's heaved-to and set sail for Lenno one rainy day.
Our main purpose in visiting Lenno was to see the Villa Balbianello, an impressive estate that you may recall from such films as Star Wars (I forget which – one of the new films with that Jar Jar creature), and Casino Royale.
In order to get to the villa, we had to trek through a couple miles of woodsy terrain. I very much enjoyed this, even in the rain, but The Box was not a fan. 
"Are we there yet?" He'd ask... and, "I'm turning around and calling a cab."
Needless to say I was not amused. I was, however, floored by the grandeur of Villa Balbianello once we finally made it onto the main grounds.
Impeccably manicured and coiffed, ivy coiled around the columns and the trees were manicured within an inch of their lives. We entertained ourselves for quite some time, until I got very cold.
Did I mention it was raining? So, we hailed a water taxi (one conveniently pulled up to the back door of the villa's grounds) and made haste back to the main center of Lenno, where in spite of the cold, we all had gelato at La Fabbrica del Gelato.
This wasn't the best gelato John had sampled – he much preferred the gelateria in Bologna. BUT it was very pretty, and they got extra marks for their display of tiny colorful gelato scoops.
Now I was REALLY cold. And the state of my hair in the rain...let's just say Marmo and I were picking up RAI Uno and RAI Due station feeds.
Also, we were hungry. Yes, we just had gelato, but gelato does not a meal make. What does is meat and cheese. And wine. So we headed back to Tremezzo and located a local wine bar, Cantina Follié.
Perched atop some bar stools, and wearing The Box's jacket for warmth, I commandeered the wine list. I selected the wine pictured below based on the label design. I do that. I'm a sucker for pretty design. Also, I was cold, hungry and out of patience.
Luckily, the wine proved to be delicious. Marmo and I started to calculate U.S. shipping as we devoured a plate of local meats and cheeses, included a personal favorite formaggio of mine: TALEGGIO.
Stuffed full of meat, cheese, wine and gelato, we headed back to our hotel for.... a NAP.
Hey, we needed to conserve energy for dinner.