Favorite Eats from Italy Part 1: Varenna, Lake Como

Favorite Eats from Italy Part 1: Varenna, Lake Como

Ciao! 

While hiking, eating, and shopping around Italy was beyond amazing, I have to say I was pretty happy to be in my PJ’s drinking iced coffee from Dunks yesterday when we got back. For two weeks Bry and I indulged in handmade pasta, fresh pesto and olive oils, tons of prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella, and of course glasses upon glasses of wine. Delicious? Yes. But man did I miss my overnight oats, ice in my water, and being able to just have a bowl of cereal or a couple slices of avocado toast for a light dinner.

While I continue to get time-adjusted, I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite eats from the trip in order of the towns we visited! If you are planning to go to any of the areas in Italy we visited and want the scoop on things or places to eat definitely shoot me a message! 

Buon appetito! 

BUT, before we get to eats in Lake Como, let’s stop real quick in Iceland (our first of two layovers on the way out. While not in Italy, one of my favorite finds was this yogurt in Iceland. While I’ve had Icelandic yogurt before, this brand was incredibly creamy, tangy, and just a tad sweet. It’s incredibly tempting to find a way to ship it to my apartment. . .Amazon has everything, right? 😉 I stirred in a crunchy granola bar to make for a more filling breakfast. So what is Icelandic yogurt? As with Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt. The texture is also similar to Greek yogurt as it is thick and creamy, but Icelandic yogurt is lower in sugar than Greek, making it a bit more tart. Icelandic yogurt

Okay, so now onto Italy. Our first stop was in Varenna, originally a small fishing village on Lake Como. If you are planning on visiting Lake Como, I would highly recommend staying in Varenna as it is a picture-perfect, romantic village with plenty of restaurant options as well as a train station that is only a 5 minute walk from the town. There is also a ferry that can get you to Bellagio (such a gorgeous town with amazing shopping!) in about 15-20 minutes. 

 

We got to Varenna around lunch time. To eat we both got the smoked salmon panini, which was good but not picture-worthy. However, our drinks are worth mentioning. Bry ordered a mimosa, while I went for a more Italian option and got a bellini. Both were delicious and perfectly refreshing – a great start to the vacation! Mimosa and bellini

Most of the food in Como is lake fish (makes sense being on the lake). Unfortunately, I am not yet a fish fan, so I had a more difficult time finding options to eat than Bry, who was adventurous and would order whichever fish dish the waiter would recommend. The other hard part of eating in Varenna is how touristy many of the restaurants are. The trick is to avoid the restaurants on the lake (if you want some lakefront time I recommend getting drinks or dessert at those places instead) and head into the small streets for fine dining. Another tip: make a reservation! Because Italians are not concerned with turning over tables quickly, dinner can take at least 2-3 hours and usually doesn’t start until 7 or 8pm, so if you don’t make a reservation chances are you will have to go somewhere else. 

Our best meal in Varenna was at Borgovino. To start, the restaurant brought us a complimentary appetizer which was essentially a caprese salad on a stick. While small and simple, all the ingredients were fresh and tasted delicious. 

Caprese bite

Next, Bry got me out of my food comfort-zone and ordered us the stuffed calamari to share. I was shocked that I liked this, but the cheese inside was just so delicious and when I ate a bite with one of the little pieces of toast (two of which were cutely shaped like fish), the texture wasn’t an issue for me at all. 

Stuffed squid

For the entree, both of us ordered the veal, which was massive! Neither of us were able to finish it. While the veal was cooked perfectly and the breading was very light, we both would have preferred for there to be some sort of sauce with it as well as a smaller portion size. Not pictured is a heaping side of grilled vegetables. 

Veal

 

Overall, Lake Como was my least favorite area for food, but the place itself is gorgeous and worth the trip! Up next: Cinque Terre 🙂 

 

 

 

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2 Comments
  • Sonali- The Foodie Physician AvatarSonali- The Foodie Physician3 years ago

    Congrats! I hope you’re having an amazing time! What an elegant way to present a little Caprese salad! And it’s so neat that you had Icelandic yogurt in Iceland 🙂 I hope you love Cinque Terre!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast3 years ago

      Thanks Sonali! It was an awesome trip, but very happy to be back home too 🙂

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    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

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