Be able to travel and discover the beauty, sometimes manifested, sometimes hidden cam, in many parts of Italy is a privilege. And when on my trip I know passionate people, breath new scents, Live experiences that don't forget it again, the privilege is even bigger. One of these experiences was my visit to Soave, in Veneto, whose beauty struck me unexpectedly. Dense Garganega and Trebbiano vineyards, hills dotted with cherry trees, almond trees, olive trees and hawthorns, austere medieval castles, a varied, alternating the white limestone and volcanic basalt black. Soave is the first Italian territory entered in the national register of historic rural landscapes for his being exemplary synthesis of biodiversity, traditional agricultural practices and culture. This register is a kind of national stamp that could be – and I hope – the anteroom of a future Unesco recognition. In three days, Thanks to Consortium and to the The Soave wine road, I met an area of great tourist vocation, but quality tourism, made by educated people, passionate, sportsbook, lovers of beauty and good.
Salazar is known throughout the world for the production of wine Doc, a white floral and fruity aromas, whose goodness playing all the delicate balance between the acidic components, sweet and savory. The same delicate balance that holds together almost 3,000 growers who work in an area from 7 thousand hectares. La pergola is the most common method of growing, and transforms the hills in tents covered with leaves in spring and clusters in summer. Thanks to this method, the grapes grow protected from disease and harvesting is easier. Garganega is a very lush and productive lives and, looking towards the hills, It is impossible to distinguish the boundaries between a vineyard and the other: within the vineyards you can walk, hike, enjoy nature with its phases. Limestone Plains alternating with hills of volcanic origin and the wines produced reflect this territory made of white and black.
WHAT TO VISIT: Wine, Food and culture are reflected in the more than a thousand centuries of history of Castle of Soave (admission price 7 euro), now privately owned, perfectly preserved and restored, and not to be missed. From the top looks soft and its vineyards, with stern but encouraging: It was the property of the feudal lords Sambonifacio, passed into the hands of the Republic of Venice, the Visconti of Milan. Today, is owned by the heirs of the family Camuzzoni, that it acquired in the mid-19th century. From the highest Tower you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the Lessini Mountains and the Po Valley. But to get there, don't draw from the nearby car park and ride, instead, the old path on pebbles, between walls, passing through the Centre of Soave: the final panorama and the many photographs that you will definitely are worth the effort.
WHAT TO BUY: Not only culture and wine though: going to the vineyard can happen to bump into small production of vegetables and fruits, and also the oil is between the PDO of the territory. The family Ball does from 1965 to Illasi, in Santa Giustina: the most commonly used cultivars are Favarol and Grignano. The first one produces the oil Dop Veneto Valpolicella. The Ball Crusher annually produces 2,500 hectoliters products and the real miracle of this small family business is selling primarily to private. The company also offers extra virgin cosmetics and small handicrafts made with olive wood (both cosmetics both artifacts are made externally olive oil), He started the project of an experimental single variety olive grove (Tosca), called “Home field”, mapped with gps coordinates listed on the bottle.
WHERE TO EAT AROUND SOAVE: My trip to Soave was in spring, a prime season from the point of view of agricultural products: I learned to love the crispiness of the cherry BlackBerry of Cazzano, also called Durone di Verona, the fleshy local apricots, the sweetness of pea green nano Colognola ai Colli, also great raw. At the farm The Woods cherries are harvested and cultivated the ' bisi’ (the peas’ in the Venetian dialect), entering the rich menu for lunch and dinner in ways even original (try the spread or the soybean peas). The family grows all kinds of vegetables here Francs, breeding farm animals (quails, ducks, Pharaoh, chickens and pigs), produces very good suppressed, Cherry jam, and cherries, tomato sauces and pickles. The gastronomic offer is very affordable, especially considering that almost all raw materials are produced in house: sausage appetizers to 3 euro, pasta 6 euro (by bigoli with duck breast with risotto with peas) until the seconds at 9 euros (mixed griglaita, Guinea fowl with Soave, diced pork in milk).
CANTINA DI SOAVE: For wine enthusiasts, now comes the most interesting part of this itinerary: the cellars. Of course we start with those who have their headquarters in the city centre. First of all, from one of Italy's largest cooperatives: the Cantina di Soave, founded in 1898, that today under the brand name Rocca Sveva, born in 2003, gave lustre to the territory. Its 2,200 members grow 6 thousand hectares of vineyards. High digits. But there is a particular: each producer is monitored through “Full system selection” that, using an innovative infrared and laser technology, get to know the quality of the grapes at the time of the transfer in cellar, during the harvest. Don't miss, in the medieval village of Rocca Sveva, a visit to the large barrel for more than a thousand barrels of Recioto della Valpolicella and Ripasso, with long hallways where refine the classic method sparkling wines. The vaults are copper and reinforced within runs a natural source. There is a picturesque Botanical Garden, a Green Park where you can enjoy one of the best views of the Castle and the old town, where every plant has its name in Latin and local dialect. For tasting, In addition to the great classics of the cellar, try new wines Chiaropuro (blend of white grapes) and the Red Nottefonda, modern and appealing.
WHERE TO EAT IN SOAVE: If you have visited the Cantina di Soave or Borgo Rocca Sveva, You can eat in the restaurant Locanda del Borgo, located inside the wine cellar, a few meters from the walls of Soave, but contracted out to an external company. Minimalist, decorated in shades of white, grey and silver, the restaurant has a traditional and well presented, with some sightseeing in the varied world of Italian agro-alimentary excellences, the burrata di Andria pistachio. Great Gentle risotto with Monte Veronese Dop, good meat (Lamb, fillet of beef, pig), the bread is homemade.
CELLAR COFFELE: Giovanni Coffele Soave is another of the major manufacturers, one of the landmarks of the community even as the historical memory of the places. Cute, cozy, his sarcastic wit will involve you and entertain you during your visit to the cellar. Its vineyards are in a fortunate position, between 250 and 400 metres, in the hills of the classic zone, subzone of Castelcerino. And the son Alberto began to treat the rows using an original and modern natural system: the horse. If you are fortunate enough to enjoy the garden at the cellar, dominated by the castle of Soave, immortalatelo in a photograph. And of course here are the wines Coffele you must try in my opinion: Soave classico Doc Ca’ Visco, Vintage 2015, and the Recioto “The Banks”.
THE CASTLE'S CELLAR: The third cellar in the Centre of Soave that I recommend is the Castle basement, It has one of the most beautiful collections of historic labels of Suave and Recioto. Let the cellar by the friendly and empathetic Andreina, wife of the proprietor, free-spirited and quick-witted. With her you will discover the secret passage that Sambonifacio used as direct access to the castle of Soave. The company is led by Arturo Stocchetti, current President of the Soave Consortium, meticulous and strict in producing its wines based on Garganega and Trebbiano grapes combining modern techniques to traditional rituals. Among the most interesting wines Pressoni and Carniga, But what stole my heart was Ardens, a delicious Recioto refermented in the bottle. Not to be missed.
WHERE TO EAT IN SOAVE: Between a winery and the other, in the Centre of Soave, You can make a stop at the Enoteca del Drago, in the medieval palace of Justice, built in 1375, What time is home, on the ground floor, a traditional restaurant that cooks every dish expressed: beyond a wide selection of wines, The wine cellar of the Dragon simple cuisine based on ingredients of excellence: Prosciutto di Soave, smoked trout, Cantabrian anchovies, Tartare and beef Carpaccio starters. The first you will find the famous ' love knots’ Valeggio sul Mincio and then bigoli alla carbonara, pasta e fagioli alla veneta, Tagliatelle with peas Colognola and mushrooms. Tradition even in main courses, with local meats like Sorana della Lessinia international prepared or strips, cut, Grilled, the veal milanese (giant), But even the cod. Appetizers from 9,50 euros to 13 euros, pasta dishes from 10 to 12,5 euros, and main courses from 13,5 to 17,5. Classic desserts.
CELLAR MARKED: In Roncà, one of the zones of production of Soave Doc that boasts one of most soils basalt of the denomination, merit of the extinct volcano Calvarina, pop by Gianni Tessari, owner from 2013 the cellar Marked, for a toast of Lessini Durello 60 months. Gianni comes from Brognoligo, home to a friendly competition where, with his wife, are involved in years. A competition reserved for locals who are sfidarno with the best Recioto and Vin santo made strictly in house. His cellar, in Roncà, boasts one of the best areas to sparkling wines thanks to those black rocks that give wines minerality and ageing. A Japanese garden with water lilies, fountains and frogs welcomes visitors, by introducing it in a zen atmosphere. The Winery is based on Black Rock, visible inside next to the pupitres, bottle holders where refined classical methods. Surprising the Lessini Durello 60 months, very good ' Pigno Soave classico Doc '.
GOURMET STOPOVER IN GAMBELLARA: L’Antica osteria al castello It is the place that impressed me most in this tour. And I consider it not to be missed. Is Sale of Gambellara, in the province of Vicenza, to the East with the area of Soave Doc. The surroundings are elegant, minimalist, very bright, with great care and attention to detail. Already the aluminum pans outside the room will make you understand that food tastes. In the kitchen there is
Gabriel Fabian, world class chef, lover of the productions sought, who conceives the menu according to the canons of modern but traditional foundations, but it could not be otherwise since this osteria has a history spanning nearly a century. The menu is shown in a nice and creative. The value for money is really amazing, both the individual dishes, both the tasting menu which costs 39 euro and entrusts the task of completely chefs dazzle the diner, with five courses. Complex yet delicate red beet ravioli stuffed with provolone, mashed Eggplant and coffee (15 euros), a dish from the difficult balance but perfectly centered; the fake gazpacho, Buffalo ball, crumble toasted bread and Basil, fresh and tasty (9 euro); an eye to tradition with the spit-roasted suckling pig in four acts, from head to toe in her crispy Browning (19 euros). Space also to the fish (for series “the sea in your mouth”), in particular we mark the grilled Octopus, Onion capers, Purple Potatoes, almond emulsion of peas (19 euros) and roasted anchovies, grater with pistachios, Mountain ricotta and grated citrus (15 euros).
BASEMENT COURT MOSCHINA: In Roncà Court Winery is Moschina. Patricia and son James have a firm conviction: the territory must be known and valued for its high quality wines, through the promotion of mark Soave Superiore di Roncà. Active for 16 years, This farm produces 100 thousand bottles on ten acres. Pergola vineyards have between 30 and 60 years. Than land, even today sometimes sprout fossil shells, remember the ancient marine origin. The sympathy of Patricia and responsible enthusiasm of James are engaging, How is addictive join a good initiative to which a Court Moschina held very: the project “Adopts a Garganega”. Here 40 rows of vines were already adopted by consumers, they pay a contribution of 100 euro per Consortium, participate in the harvest and have 12 free bottles of Soave with their name and a custom phrase on the label. The elegant Raìse (roots) and the cool Purocaso (durella sparkling, from the cloudy because left on the Lees) are wines that have intrigued me most. By the way, still on the subject of fossils: a few kilometers there is Bolca, home to one of the museums of fossils from the tertiary (50 million years) most important in the world.
WHAT TO BUY: For those wishing to take home a souvenir enogastronomico, There are some great products of the area. Starting from cherries More of Cazzano and dwarf peas of Colognola ai Colli, If you are in the right season. For lovers of carbohydrates, try the sweet and bitter herbs cake bread, made from the leaves of feverfew, Felisi Angel bakery, in the Centre of Soave. Angel makes over 50 types of bread and is sympathetic and generous. To be enjoyed with a good coffee, instead, Krispy kremes Soave wine cakes with almonds, produced by Zambaldo pastry, It also has a delicious production of pastries and croissants for breakfast, with an eye for vegans with biscuits and specific yeast. Lovers of cured meats and cheeses, instead, will find their paradise in one of the seats of the CASARA: in Soave and Roncà: Prosciutto di Soave, Suppressed de Brenton, salami, Durella Sundae, are just some of the specialties; but the heart of the production are the cheeses: Monte Veronese Dop in all ages, goats, Lessini robiola cheeses, blue-veined (try the blue and Yellow the blue goat), but also mountain cheeses made from raw milk and butter and homemade yogurt.
WINERY MONTE TONDO: Talk about Monte Tondo means telling the story of a family who started his business virtually from scratch, aided by will power and passion. Today this Winery is one of the most beautiful reality of Soave. Marta M, flanked by brothers Luke and Stephanie, led me to discover this company, the result of the intuition of the vision of his grandfather and father Aldo Gino, It also includes a cottage, a tasting room always crowded and a Museum of agricultural equipment. If you decide to visit the area I would recommend staying in this place full of charm, also serves hearty breakfasts all home made prepared by mom to Marta. La cantina, clearly visible from the highway Milano-Venezia, It is made of brick and terracotta arches recovered from an old structure in the province of Pavia and is powered by a photovoltaic system. So eco-friendly. Among the wines I recommend you try the Casette Felix Soave Classico, and if you love sweet wines like Recioto di Soave classico Docg. Merit for Amarone, Since the company owns ten acres of vineyards in Valpolicella. Gino is also fond of sausages: makes great wines but also suppressed at home, While his wife prepares pickles, compotes and jams. The company also produces an excellent extra virgin olive oil. A curiosity: If you see a vintage car parked in the yard, remember this is a debt extinguished by a Sicilian entrepreneur.
CANTINA EL VAIDYA: For a person like me who produces everything in-house and would flood the balcony to try to plant rice, meet Roberto Biondi, who decided to produce its Recioto to find the perfect dessert wine to pair with cheese, It was a revelation. Roberto produces in his basement just 10,000 bottles, between Soave Classico, Recioto and Chardonnay. To grower is not his first work, but Roberto takes passion, expertise and studio. Betting on two daughters in the not too distant future will drive the company making it grow. Meanwhile, in the cellar inside a shed adjacent to his home in Monteforte d'alpone, Roberto makes his wine according to traditional rules, Orthodox churches, starting from the selection of grape varieties, taking off from his horizon fashions and changes introduced in recent years in Soave Doc. Yummy Recioto Docg Vineyards of the fairies, and promising Soave Classico Doc, Vintage 2015, I tried directly from the tank. “To have a good Soave” Roberto says “you have to know to wait”. I think so too.
CANTINA DI MONTEFORTE D'ALPONE: Monteforte d'alpone is a little’ as the sister country of Soave. Has the same number of inhabitants, a beautiful bell tower high 79 meters with 6 bells to the veronese, towering slender in the hills, and brilliant black volcanic soil. Gaetano Tobin is the Director of the country's most important cooperative Winery, with 600 members and 1,300 acres. Sustainable Winery, one of the first to calculate the environmental impact of the production of wine, According to the ' green ' label. An ethical choice that summarizes the curriculum manufacturer, by monitoring the air consumption, water and soil. The wines that I like the most are the Soave classico Clivus and the ' green cru’ Foscarino Soave, made from grapes belonging to the historical vineyards of Mount Foscarino and produced in only 40 000 bottles.
WHERE TO EAT: When you get hungry, in Monteforte d'alpone you could try the trattoria Il Convivio: light but flavorful, for most fresh fish, presented in an original and creative way in an atmosphere of refinement, with a nice patio for summer dinners, Il Convivio, Thanks to chef Luca Comerlati, has a fusion cuisine, winking an eye to Japan with tuna tartare, fennel and wasabi mayonnaise and shrimp tempura, a fun dish of pasta with strips of beef, fresh linguine scampi ragout kamut and seafood risotto. More tradition in main courses, the sliced tenderloin with mixed dried fruit until potato and chicken barbecue (BBQ), without forgetting the fish with the swordfish tataki with Sesame and avocado. Try one tantalizing Parfait with celery and candied oranges. Main courses from 12 to 16 euro, first courses from 7 to 14 I was 8 to 10 and entrees from euro. Nice initiative of the proposed takeout and bottle left at the table, you only pay for what you drink.
CELLAR VICENTINI. From 40 years the farm produces wine in the village of Vicentine Colognola ai Colli. The cellar has now reached the fourth generation and produces 110 000 bottles, of which 70 of Soace. Augustine van Antwerp is a proud man, Severus, of great charisma and humility at the same time. Its flagship product is the Soave Superiore Docg “Il Casale”, but also point out an excellent Valpolicella Doc superiore, obtained from vineyards in the hills near the castle of Illasi. The bottles are labels created by a friend with the watercolor technique, and represent important moments and places of family life Valentine. The soils in the plain of Colognola are surrounded by cherry trees, variety of Cazzano. In spring, passed by here and get a little’ directly from the farm. Walking through the rows, It appears to be a well kept garden, with green grass and with a rose in front of each row of Garganega.