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Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna suggestions?

I will be travelling in Northern Italy late June - early July, with 10 days at a conference in Gardone and about a week travelling to/from there, probably From Milan. We've never visited Milan so this will probably mean a couple of days in that City, and have spent little time in the north outside of the Veneto... Thinking about Bergamo, Mantova and one or more of the cities in Emilia-Romagna as stops. We have been in Parma but these other places will be new to us. Ive been poring over Slowfood, Italy for the Gourmet Traveller, etc. - we tend toward well done regional food as opposed to highly innovative stuff - any suggestions of especially rewarding stops???. Im hoping for some wonderful long lunches!

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  1. On October 10, 2001, R.W. Apple wrote a lengthy article about an hostaria in the Emilian countryside named Da Ivan. After reading the article, I have always wanted to visit the place, but have never had a chance. You can find the article at nytimes.com and decide for yourself whether it is worth a visit.

    It is located in Fontanelle, not too far from Parma.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Cremona is also a town well worth visiting. I was there 10 years ago, so I am having a hard time remembering the names of places where we dined. I remember having some very good meals and seeing some first-class food shops there. Check your Slow Food guide for recommendations.

      1. Don't miss Mantova. There's great food shopping and a few restaurants that seem right up your alley. I really liked Trattoria due Cavallini. For Emilia Romagna you should book your table at Giusti now. Don't overlook Ferrara which has some good traditional restaurants as well. The only downside is that the specialties of this region tend to be heavy and aren't the best summer fare but I'm sure you'll deal.

        1. In Quistello near Mantova--L'Ambasciata. Near Modena- Clinica Gastronomica di Arnaldo(awesome Bolliti Misto cart). Also Dal Pescatore

          1. thanks much for all of the recommendations. I am sure I am overthinking and over-researching this trip majorly. what ever happened to just letting things happen, just seeing an appealing place and walking in, especially in Italy?
            Our itinerary is Busseto, Parma, Rubiera (near Modena), Mantova, Gardone Riviera (10 days with local side trips) Bergamo (with day trip to Milan) and, I think Oleggio nr Malpensa for last night.

            I havent yet reserved or planned for the following so I could still use suggestions:
            Sunday lunch/dinner in or near Parma
            Monday light lunch Parma/Reggio Emilia area (we are at Arnaldo that night and the following)
            Mantova - Wednesday dinner
            in Mantova or between Mantova and Gardone (s.w. side of Lake Garda) - Thursday lunch
            Gardone/Salo/Brescia area lunches
            other good lunch destinations, both sides of Lake Garda, Bardolino etc reachable by boat or car
            Trento - Sunday lunch
            Bergamo (Monday and Tuesday nights)
            Milano - Tuesday lunch

            thanks again!

            6 Replies
            1. re: jen kalb

              We had a truly memorable dinner 2 years ago at La Rucola, in Sirmione on Lake Garda. One Michelin star but we thought it was worthy of higher praise. Beautifully presented food, bold flavors, great reasonably priced local wines (if they still have Bradisismo, order it), fine service. They are also open for lunch, but I'm not sure if they are closed on any days. The website does not list hours.

              www.ristorantelarucola.it

              1. re: jen kalb

                We were just in Mantova on Monday and my friend's colleague who grew up there recommended Fragaletto (sp?) on Via Academia. The place was packed with locals (it was a holiday here), the food was fantastic featuring lots of Mantovan specialties and great wines too. Everything was delicious, I can't recommend it highly enough.

                1. re: stkorn

                  thanks for the recommendation on Fragoletto. Its come up on lists elsewhere too. What did you have that you liked??

                2. re: jen kalb

                  Just got back from Milan. My two favorite lunches were at:
                  Latteria San Marco (Via San Marco 24).
                  Trattoria degli Orti (Via Monviso 13).
                  Both excellent, though a little more expensive than the average trattoria.
                  You may wish to buy a copy of the Slow Food Italy guide now printed in English: Osterie &Locande D'Italia A Guide to Traditional Places to Eat and Stay in Italy by Slow Food Editore. Great guide to inexpensive quality places to eat. Real Chow material.

                  1. re: Biroldo

                    thanks for the reccs. Just one day to visit Milan and I am wondering whether we will even sit down for a meal....and where.

                    I really like the slowfood guides. When I compared my english book side by side with the italian food only edition, I realized there were fewer restaurants and winebars in the former than the latter.

                    1. re: Biroldo

                      I love this book. it's got a permanent spot on my nightstand.

                  2. If you want to make the drive up to the eastern side of Lake Maggiore, then check out the tasting menu at Il Sole di Ranco. It's a nice hotel, too. You'll sit outside, overlooking the lake, and have one of the finest meals of your life. When I was there last, it ended up costing about $120 per person for the 12 course tasting menu. Absolutely incredible.