Whether or not you’ve been to Italy, it’s no secret that the food is great. If we were playing a game of word association, I bet food would be the first word that comes to mind if someone were to say “Italy”. Well, last week I visited Trento and my tastebuds can confirm that the rumours are all true!
I hadn’t heard of Trento before, but when I discovered that the Traverse19 conference (a travel blogging conference where bloggers come together to learn a lot and drink a lot) was being held there I couldn’t resist buying a ticket. Trento is in the Trentino region, which is about an hour north of Verona by train and surrounded by the stunning Dolomites and within a short distance of Lake Garda. And did I mention that it’s full of mouthwatering Italian cuisine?
There’s a lot that I could write about Trento, but the food (and wine!) absolutely had to be my first post. So… here are the best things I ate and drank in Trento.
I arrived quite late so headed straight for some food, with my sights set on a hearty bowl of pasta and, after a few minutes of wandering, I stumbled upon Ristorante Patelli and absolutely hit the jackpot! I was greeted by a friendly waiter and seated inside the traditional Italian restaurant with a basket of bread and an extensive menu.
It was a tough decision to make, but I ordered a bowl of blueberry infused tagliatelle with duck ragu and a large glass of local red wine. It sounds fancy, but it was a really tasty, indulgent bowl of pasta and the perfect introduction into Trentino cuisine. The pasta itself didn’t particularly taste of blueberries, but it was slightly tart which perfectly complimented the sweeter duck ragu. Followed by the most incredible Affrogato (vanilla gelato with espresso poured over the top), I was in heaven.
So much so, that a couple of days later I returned with a friend because I felt the need to share my discovery. With so many restaurants and so little time, this was a pretty big deal for me! This time I chose pasta with local red wine, sausage and cheese and it was even better than the duck ragu! So simple, rich and flavoursome and made all that extra bit special by sitting outside on a quiet cobbled street with a new friend, and glass of wine and a gentle Italian breeze.
Full disclosure, I didn’t actually eat much pizza in Trento! But when I did it was mind blowing. As part of the conference, Traverse and Visit Trentino sent us to a variety of local restaurants for lunch and treated us to three courses and a drink. One of the restaurants that I was went to was Green Tower Pizzeria where I had a stunning pizza topped with gorgonzola and Trentino sausage. It was packed with flavour and the base was perfectly crispy. Accompanied by a glass of local Chardonnay and followed by the lightest of chocolate mousses, a girl really can’t complain!
There were many heated debates as to the best gelato in Trento, with opinion divided between Cherry and La Gelateria. Personally, my vote belongs to La Gelateria where I had the most incredible rum and raisin gelato: light, creamy, sweet with rum and packed full of juicy raisins. But don’t take my word for it, this is the perfect excuse to try both!
On my last night in Trento, I snuck off on my own to treat myself to a special dinner before meeting everyone else for drinks. There were a few restaurants that I was desperate to try, particularly Le Due Spade, but unfortunately a lot of places were closed. So instead, I meandered around the town browsing various menus until I found Antico Pozzo and took a seat at a table in their courtyard.
The menu was varied and there were of course your pizza and pasta options, but I decided to go for something a little different this time. I ordered my glass of local wine (surprised, anyone?) and started with a ‘Seafood Composition’, which consisted of tuna tartare, grilled red tuna, seared scallop, sweet prawn and a mango purée. After days of carbs it was refreshing to start my meal with something a little lighter and focus on enjoying the individual flavours.
This was followed by a main course of calf cheek, braised in Trento Doc (more on this BEAUTY of a drink in a moment) and served with potatoes and vegetables. The calf cheek was fabulous, but I must admit that I really didn’t like the green vegetables that it was served with… I did ask the waitress what it was but she wasn’t sure what it was called in English and I failed to write down the Italian.
With a night of socialising and drinking ahead of me, I skipped dessert so that I’d actually be able to walk but from what I saw on other tables the various options looked incredible.
As I gazed out of the train window on my way from Verona to Trento, I was highly excited but the miles of grapes I saw! And these grapes made some fantastic wine! I’ve mentioned Trento Doc above: This is the local sparkling wine and my goodness it’s delightful. It’s been produced in the region for over 100 years, with Julia Ferrari being the first to bottle it. Apparently its the different climates from the mountains and lakes along with the temperature difference between day and night that create the perfect acidity and aroma.
Now there are 52 different wineries in Trentino that produce Trento Doc, providing around 9 million bottles a year. These wineries are represented by the board of Trentino wine which is housed in the Palazzo Roccabruna in the centre of Trento. As part of one of the midweek experiences included in my Traverse ticket, I was lucky enough to have a tour of the building, followed by a wine tasting where I learnt the above fun facts and drank my fair share of Trento Doc. Favourite labels were Zell , Maso Martis and Revi (there was also an excellent fourth wine but the large glasses meant that I’d stopped taking notes by this point!!).
The Palazzo Roccabruno is opened up on Thursday and Saturdays for tastings, when their sunny courtyard is turned into a wine bar. If you’re visiting Trento you should absolutely make sure you don’t miss it.
Now the important bit, have you been to Trento and which amazing restaurants did I miss out on? It’s definitely a place that I’d love to return to so I’d love to hear your recommendations.
P.S. if you enjoy reading my food and drink guides, why not have a read of Cosy Places to Drink in Vilnius, Eating my Way Around Manchester, A Tapas Trail Through Playa Blanca, The Restaurant You Have to Try in Budapest, and Hong Kong: A Foodie’s Dream.