Where to eat in Bellagio: traditions and addresses on Lake Como
All the fault of Alessandro Manzoni. That now nothing is enough, just mention the proverbial “branch of Lake Como”, To unleash bored reminiscences from gymnasium or resentful mumbles towards the gloomy weeping Lucia. Yet, on a sunny day sitting in a cove, when all the possible shades of green chase each other from the belly of the wave to the top of the mountain, there is really nothing better than a greedy break to fall in love with the lake. in front of a steaming plate of rice with perch. And if the demure Mondella, stubborn and trembling, will continue to refuse even a simple broth, worse for her. We, let’s not listen to it and wait for the meal time: eat a Bellagio it will mean filling up on the gods flavors of the lake: a poor, simple cuisine, anything but aristocratic, the gourmets will tell you. But don’t pay attention to it – as with Lucia’s cries – since, bizarre retaliation, the shores of this lake are one of the most famous holiday resorts in the world. I am now, of course, that the fascinating Clooney is at home with his chrome motorcycle and his thigh-high girlfriends as well as yesterday when the tycoons of Las Vegas – and needn’t say more – to choose a symbol for the “hotel of hotels” they pointed the finger and dollars up Bellagio. And it was even more so in an unsuspected period when even the Romans – who knew how to treat themselves well – came to vacation on the tip of the promontory.
Where to eat in Bellagio: fishing and tradition
And so let’s do it too: let’s come and eat at Bellagio, the pearl of the lake. A tasty pearl too. Thanks also to a small silver fish that has become a myth here. Much more than Clooney. In Italian it is called agone but everyone around here knows it as misultino. Let’s introduce ourselves and make friends too: “The agone is fished all year round and then preserved with an ancient technique, not very Mediterranean – explains Cristian Ponzini, patron of “Silvio”, The“ evolved ”tavern that, in Bellagio for five generations has been carrying on the fishing and fish processing. The five generations are not mentioned by chance: here tradition still matters. And so here’s how they did it – and how the fishermen of Bellagio do: the little fish, just caught, are cleaned with a quick flick of the finger (and once, thrift was at home then, even the liver was eaten for a preparation now almost lost) and lined up in a tin vat with salt for at least 48 hours (some say it is this container, called missolta, to give the name to the processed fish.
But just as it happens every time one has to deal with myths, the possible etymologies are legion. And in the salt dosage there is one of the best kept secrets of the product. Before the sun and wind are called to do the rest. In fact, the fish are exposed in the open air on racks where, for a period between two and eight days, they finish maturing. “And it is here that nature makes the selection – continues Cristian Ponzini. – If the fish is not perfect after that time, you understand. And it must be thrown away. In short, nature is at work. Because the maximum evolution is in the past even if it is the hand of man that makes the difference “. A difference that must be tasted. But calmly. The former agone, now almost become misultino, ends up in metal packs where for ninety days (at least) it continues its slow evolution. Waiting for the hand of the cook and one simple recipe and perfect: i misultini in fact they are seared on the hot grill, sprinkled with oil and vinegar, and served with one polenta which, at least a Bellagiois called “toc“(It’s simple: it’s called that because you eat with your hands, so” you touch it “) and that besides the flour it provides the rich dowry of butter And cheese. With the addition of a glass of red, certainly less harsh than in the past, even the lake, which is already beautiful, becomes more beautiful. And maybe even a slice of miascia, the typical cake of these places made with stale bread and dried fruit. Well-being is assured.
Where to eat in Bellagio: zero kilometer flavors
Too bad, however, that by now there are only a few left to catch this fish. “Today in Bellagio there are a couple of families left to fish for it and this average is found in every coastal town. It is often a family business that satisfies the needs of the premises, but that hardly reaches large-scale distribution “. And so all that remains is to come and taste it here. Remembering that we did not invent zero kilometers: but it has been like this for centuries. Is that come and eat in Bellagio it means to eat something that is eaten only here. And the cooks reaffirm it with pride: Misultino is not beautiful but good. “And true flavors must be preserved – explains Antonio Zambra, chef of the”Trattoria del porto”Of Careno di Nesso, a jewel village on a pier, three hundred steps from the road. – Let’s take the rice with perch. Everyone here knows it must never be a risotto. But what is called cagnone rice. The recipe comes from the homes of simple people who boiled rice in water and seasoned it with butter. A completely different preparation from that of risotto. In this way you can enjoy all the flavor of the perch fillet which must not be fried: but only passed in butter and sage “.
Details and whims of philologists? Absolutely no. That the difference in popular kitchens like this is often the simplicity. And the stubborn defense for what arrives in the kitchen. A style that perhaps clashes with certain recent “gossippari” subsidence of the lake. So much so that the real “lagheè”, the inhabitants of the Lariothey do not even give in to the pleasure of peering at Villa Oleandra, a The garlicClooney’s armored shelter accustomed as they are to seeing presidents like Roosevelt and Kennedy passing by as well as assorted kings, kaisers and emperors.
The lagheè, the people who were born and live on these banks, prefer the steep and always a little zigzagging stairs in the villages, the silent paths lined with stone walls that rise from the banks towards the mountain, the more bristly and sincere face of “That branch” of their lake. Lucia, always dramatic, every three chapters burst into tears while they do not give in to melodrama. They know which is the right place to stop at eat in Bellagio. Then, after lunch, they get up to cast an eye on the water. They don’t admit it and they don’t show up: but every time they think it’s really beautiful.
The addresses for eating in Bellagio
Via P. Carcano, 12
The restaurant Silvio It was founded in 1919 annexed to a hotel and offers the possibility to eat fish caught directly by the owner Cristian who in the evening, after having served the customers, goes down to lay down his nets. Outdoor pergola for summer days and unmissable the long series of appetizers chosen by the chef based on the catch of the day.
At the Loppia docks
via Melzi d’Eril, 1
Closed on Mondays
Among the right addresses to eat in Bellagio there is this place outside the village and overlooking the lake, next to a marina. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and especially in summer, under the pergola, you can breathe a unique atmosphere. Cuisine that starts from the traditions of the place but that thanks to the careful hand of the chef expands and flies much higher. Try the raw fish from the lake (surprising) and the gnocchi with misultino. Extensive wine list and very attentive service.
Trattoria Baita Belvedere
Chevrio of Bellagio
031 964773 – – 339 8240771
Closed on Tuesdays in summer – Open on weekends during the rest of the year
It is called a hut and there is a reason: to get there you need to go towards the Ghisallo pass and also tackle a small stretch of dirt road. Upon arrival, the view is the reward of the effort: you can see the whole lake from above. You eat on a beautiful terrace overlooking Bellagio and the dishes are those of the past: rich and caloric and tasty. Polenta and boiled hen, misultino and pasta with wild boar, peasant appetizer, homemade cheeses. There is also an attached farm and the atmosphere is pleasantly retro.
Trattoria del porto
via al Pontile 26
Careno di Nesso (Co)
031 910 195
Closed on Mondays
A lovely trattoria with a terrace a stone’s throw from the water and in a village (a bit tiring to reach: there are three hundred steps but it’s worth it) made magical by a proto-Romanesque church, a chef passionate about local cuisine and the best of lake cuisine. Rely on the advice of Antonio Zambra and rest after lunch waiting for the boat that docks right in front.