Lake Como Traditional Food: explore the taste of the lake!

Lake Como, nestled among the majestic mountains of Lombardy, is one of Italy’s most precious gems. 

In addition to its breathtaking landscape and the luxurious villas that line its shores, the lake is also famous for its rich gastronomic tradition

The typical products of Lake Como and traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation are a true hymn to authentic flavors.

Let’s discover some of them together.

Lake Fish: Freshness and Taste in Every Bite

Lake fish is the undisputed king of Lake Como tables. 

Lake’s water is home to various delicious fish, including whitefish, pike, perch, carp, etc. These fish are the basis of local cuisine, expertly prepared in many ways.

Lavaret, a kind of whitefish, for example, is often cooked on the grill or in the oven, enhancing its delicate flavor. On the other hand, perch is the protagonist of traditional soups and is sometimes fried in a light, crunchy batter. With its firmer meat, pike is ideal for more robust dishes, such as a succulent grill.

Coregonus, also known as “missoltino”, is an iconic dish of Lake Como. This fish is sun-dried and salted before being grilled or pan-fried. The result is an intense, briny taste reflecting the centuries-old tradition of preserving fish for periods when fishing was impossible.

Local Cheese: Dairy Treasure of the Mountains

The mountains surrounding Lake Como are ideal for producing high-quality cheeses. 

Bitto is among the most renowned local cheeses, a hard cheese produced with the milk of grazing cows. It is aged for long periods, developing a rich and complex flavor. Its production is strictly regulated and traditionally preserves ancient dairy techniques.

Next to Bitto, we find Casera, a semi-hard cheese with a balanced taste. It is often used to prepare typical dishes such as polenta uncia, a substantial and tasty dish.

Olive groves and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The slopes that descend towards the lake are dotted with olive groves that produce high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Lake Como oil is characterized by a fruity and slightly bitter taste, with a note of spiciness in the aftertaste. This precious condiment enriches salads, appetizers, and fish dishes.

In addition to olive oil, the lake shores are ideal for growing aromatic herbs such as rosemary and sage. 

These fresh herbs give local dishes an irresistible aroma and a touch of freshness.

Traditional Desserts: The Taste of Tradition

The confectionery tradition of Lake Como is full of irresistible delights. One of the most loved desserts is Miascia, a pudding made from bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and raisins. The Miascia is soft and sweet, capturing the palate in every bite.

Mandello del Lario Brioches are a local delicacy. These leavened desserts are often filled with custard or jam and are perfect for a traditional breakfast or a sweet break in the afternoon.

Lake Como’s typical products celebrate this beautiful region’s natural and cultural richness.

At our Hotel Loveno, you can ask for a traditional dish whenever you want!

Beyond the Food…its Majesty the Wine.

You can’t go to this side of Italy without tasting a flavorful wine.

Lake Como area does not have a significant wine production. However, grapes are grown in quantity in the surrounding areas, particularly in nearby Valtellina and the hills around the lake, and quality wines are assured. 

In the northern part of Lake Como, Valtellina is famous for its red wines, particularly Valtellina Superior, a controlled and DOCG wine produced mainly with the Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca) grape.

The mountain slopes surrounding the lake provide ideal soils for growing grapes, and different microclimates contribute to the diversity of the wines produced in the region. Furthermore, this area’s attention to quality and winemaking traditions is a distinctive element.

So, while Lake Como itself is not known for producing wines, the neighbouring wine regions offer various options for wine lovers looking to explore local flavours while visiting this beautiful area.

Are you curious about the best wines you have to taste once here?

We make a list of our favorites:

  • Valtellina wines: from Sassella to Sforzato 

The wines of Valtellina are mainly produced from Nebbiolo, locally called chiavennasca. The most important are Valtellina Superiore DOCG with its 5 sub-zones (Inferno, Grumello, Sassella, Valgella, Maroggia) and Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG (made from raisins).

We like Sassella very much in our hotel.

Sassella is the oldest vine-growing area in Valtellina. 

Brilliant garnet colour; complex bouquet, with persuasive raspberry jam fragrance and hints of wild rose and ripe sour cherry; full, smooth flavour, with good sapidity and great elegance and harmony, with pleasant dried plum and long-lasting spicy background.

The iconic wine of Valtellina is Sforzato or Sfursat, obtained by drying Nebbiolo grapes. 

It is the first dry red raisin wine endorsed by the D.O.C.G. in 2003. A wine of territory and culture, firmly anchored in the knowledge and technical care of the producer.

  • Franciacorta

Franciacorta (Franciacürta in Brescian dialect) is a hilly area between Brescia and the southern end of Lake Iseo in Lombardy.

The area gives its name to the well-known Franciacorta wine designation.

Franciacorta is a classic method of sparkling wine that enjoys DOCG recognition, permitted in the territory of the same name in the province of Brescia.

This wine, with its savoury, fresh, fine and harmonious taste, is ideal throughout the meal, from the simplest to the most complex dishes. 

  • Farfalla, Oltepò Pavese

The Oltrepò Pavese is a wine-growing region in Lombardy, in the hilly strip of the province of Pavia south of the Po. The area produces wines with DOCG and DOC designations.

The most interesting types of wine produced are

  • Oltrepò Pavese classic method DOCG
  • Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
  • Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
  • Pinot Grigio dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
  • Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC (vinified in red)
  • Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
  • Casteggio, separation of the grape variety from Oltrepò Pavese red.

Ballabio Winery, with its Farfalla collection 🦋 delightfully introduces us to its territory.

Exploring the wines of Lake Como and the surrounding areas offers a unique opportunity to discover the uniqueness of this region, and pairing local wines with traditional dishes is a fantastic experience.

Cooking class and wine tasting in a unique place.

After booking your trip to Lake Como, you should seek a fantastic cooking class or a classy wine tasting.

At Hotel Loveno, we regularly organise both experiences to welcome our guests at best and make memories.

The cooking class includes two types of pasta (usually tagliatelle and orecchiette) seasoned with meat sauce and pesto.

The preparation starts with some tips about Italian pasta and then: “mani in pasta” as we say (that stands for “put your hands in the dough”)!

We will guide you, step by step, from flour to the cutting of your pasta.

What about the wine tasting?

Doing a wine tasting in Lake Como means feeling plunged into a movie-set atmosphere. Imagine fresh air, a reddish sunset, a stunning panorama, and good wine.

There’s nothing better than this for a perfect end of the day.

Ask us which experience would fit your needs best, and we’ll make it for you!

Contact us to discover more

– Sara