The walk down to Galbusera Nera, where one can have a lovely lunch or a casual wine-tasting, is not long and passes through a heavy forest before opening up near the donkey farm and on to the restaurant and winery.
At Galbusera Nera, one can enjoy a lovely al fresco lunch or wine tasting when it’s nice outside, or dine indoors. Either way, the food and wine are tasty and the service is friendly and professional. Highly recommended.
We hope you are all doing great, even in this difficult time.
We had a glorious time last Friday during our first ever Poggio Pots and Pans live cook-in! Many of you made it possible: first of all Antonella Pavanello, who so kindly agreed to show us her scrumptious menu featuring salmon, citrus pesto and a delicious strawberry dessert, which was universally loved. Martha and Judith, thank you too for helping us to invite all the friends who joined us on zoom: Jeanette, Carol, Mefran, Cathy, Mary, DeAun, Margaret, Martha, Patti, Sharm, Lubna, Becky and Mary! You are those who made the lesson great: seeing so many friendly faces brought us joy and we hope it did the same for you.
Antonella and the final touches to the cups
Chopping the dark chocolate
Zesting like a professional
Antonella Pavanello, food writer and designer
We received some great reviews from our friends in Tennessee: “like a fine New York Italian restaurant” and Kansas, “That was so much fun, I loved seeing everyone!” The Poggio Family wants this positivity and good energy to continue! We have another lesson in the works, hoping that even more Poggio friends will wish to be together and cook with us.
The final result sent to us by Martha
The dessert made by Gretchen
To be updated on new Poggio Pots and Pans live cook-in events, write us an email or follow us on social media!
Poggio Pots and Pans: Cheer up, it’s almost peach season! According to certain people we are what we eat, and maybe that is why Italians are so focused on enjoying delicious food, like Antonella Pavanello’s Creamy Peach Almond Cups. And let’s face it: we frankly need some cheering up. From personal experience during lockdown in Milan, we know that mood improvement CAN and DOES pass through the taste buds! Here is Antonella’s easy but delicious creamy but crunchy peach dessert. Plus, these cups are beautiful to behold, and give whoever makes them the satisfaction of creating something attractive using your hands.
Wow your family or just yourself with these colorful cups to end your meal; this is a dessert worth the small effort required to make them.
Starring in this recipe, again Sheryl and her friends from Alabama and Georgia.
Tasting the amaretti before adding them to the cups
Creamy Peach Almond Cups
Ingredients for 4 people:
9 oz. vanilla yoghurt
5 oz. fresh cream
2 large yellow peaches
2 T confectioners sugar
1 carton raspberries
12 amaretti cookies
½ cup sliced almonds
Cocoa powder to dust
Preparing the cups with chef Antonella
First of all, peel the peaches and food-process the pulp with 1 tablespoon of confectioners sugar and 4 raspberries to obtain a pinkish coulis. In a bowl, whip the cream with the remaining confectioners sugar and gently incorporate it into the yogurt.
Next, toast the almonds in a non-stick pan for a couple of minutes without seasoning, until they begin to color.
Place an amaretto on the bottom of a small glass or small clear bowl; pour over a spoonful of peach coulis then layer a yoghurt cream and crumble over a little amaretto and some almonds. Add more peach coulis and another layer of cream; garnish each dessert with some raspberries, another crumbled amaretto, and the remaining almonds.
Sprinkle lightly with cocoa and serve immediately or keep it in the fridge until serving.
Be careful not to refrigerate them too long, otherwise the amaretti cookies become soggy and lose their crunch.
The Giardini Melzi, a few minutes’ walk south of the justifiably famous little town of Bellagio, is a perennial favorite of our guests at Poggio Verde Country Villa.
Our “Bellagio Day,” which includes Giardini Melzi, usually begins mid-morning and includes about a 45-minute drive up the western side of Lake Lecco (the other leg of Lake Como) and over the bump into Bellagio, arriving in time for an early lunch.
We’ve enjoyed lunch at several places in Bellagio but one of our current favorites is Albergo Silvio, which is perched above the Melzi garden. The menu offers a very nice selection of local fish, including the traditional lake fish and rice, and has a very decent wine list. An outdoor patio overlooks the lake and the dining room is perfect – all glass!
Interior dining room
The view from the interior dining room
The local favorite, lake fish and rice
After lunch we often take an interesting little path on the north side of the restaurant that leads right down to the south entrance of the garden. Don’t forget to look down as well as up as there are always little surprises (see the snail?).
We go out under the arch to the little street and turn right toward the entrance of the Giardini (and pass some other nice arches along the way).
We pick up our tickets at the entrance and walk south toward the villa. When we have time we take a peak into the tiny little chapel.
The villa comes into view. Villa Melzi d’Eril is one of the most important historical landmarks on the shore of Lake Como. It was built between 1808 and 1810 by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, duke of Lodi and vice president of the Italian Republic under Napoleon, who was also a personal friend. The most important architects and artists of the day were involved in the project. The villa’s architect (Canonica) and botanist (Villoresi) also designed the Villa Reale in Monza.
The villa comes into view
The lions guarding the villa entrance
Water lily basin and fountain. Photo: Austin Mann
Villa Melzi from the door of the museum
Photo: Austin Mann
The former Orangerie (greenhouse) of the villa is now a museum. (The villa itself is not open to the public). It contains a few historical artifacts from the Napoleonic period and Renaissance frescoes.
The former Orangerie is now a museum.
Photo: Austin Mann
The terraced gardens allow stunning views of Lake Como from three levels. The gardens are thoroughly enjoyable in all four seasons and in all weather and at all times of day but if you happen to be there on a somewhat cloudy day in the late afternoon you’re in for a special treat.
Photo: Austin Mann
Walking to the pond
View north toward the Alps
A glimpse of the roof of the Moorish Pavilion from an upper level path.
The lake-level path to Bellagio
The bridge over the pond is one of many great spots for photos.
The neogothic “sham ruin” near the north entrance.
The Moorish Pavilion in the garden has lovely views across the lake and four beautiful sculptures, including one of Lodovico Melzi d’Eril. Outside the pavilion is a memorial to the Italian writer Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and his beloved Beatrice.
The Moorish Pavilion. Photo: Austin Mann
Maria Anna of Savoy or Josephine Barbo?
Dante and Beatrice…
…and Jack and Ann
From the gardens it’s a beautiful ten-minute walk along the lake into Bellagio for some wandering and surprisingly good shopping for such a small place. From there it’s about a 15-20 minute taxi boat ride to Villa Balbianello.
Our delightful driver arrived after breakfast to take the group on yet another wonderful adventure.
The very comfortable Cazzaniga bus
Our view leaving the villa every morning
First stop was Mantero, a silk outlet outside of Como. On first glance the shop looked small but the longer the group was there, the more they realized there was to choose from. In addition to the wide variety of scarves, there were some lovely ties. The ladies made many circles, picking things up and trying them on and eventually settling on a few things. On the way out the group noticed there were workers inside touching up some of the beautiful fabrics by hand.
From there it was a short drive to the restaurant for a nice lunch. After lunch the driver delivered the group to a spot where they could walk through a beautiful old square and along the lake to the funicular. The ride up the side of the mountain provides a beautiful view over Como and the Lake and ends at Brunate, a surprisingly pretty little village above Lake Como.
Brunate turned out to be a lovely little village and on a nice day or with a bit more time it would be worth spending more time exploring the area. It appears there are a number of excellent hikes from there (with stunning views, no doubt). After walking around a bit and visiting the lovely little church, the group decided to stop for a cup of hot cocoa or tea and was happy to find an outdoor cafe with blankets for the customers.
House in Brunate
Getting our bearings
Taking a pause
Floor of the church
Interior of the church
Enjoying some cocoa
After a funicular ride back down (before which a certain 82-year-old female was observed jumping back over the turnstyle when she realized she’d gone through too early, and which happened so fast and so unexpectedly it was not be captured on camera), the group walked back along the lake and reconnected with the bus. A quick decision was made to visit Villa Olmo for a few minutes since it was so close. Despite the cloudy day it was beautiful.
At Villa Olmo on Lake Como
Luigi, whose family has owned the Poggio Verde villa for several generations, had arrived from Milan and he graciously fielded many questions over cocktails and then a lovely dinner of typical Northern Italian specialties.
The driver came to collect the group and they drove the hour or so to the Foxtown outlet shops, just over the border in Switzerland. After a couple of hours checking out the lovely merchandise at shops like Armani, Ferragamo, Loro Piano, etc., it was time for a bite of lunch.
After lunch the group made a stop at the beautiful Villa d’Este hotel in Cernobbio.
On arriving back at the villa, the ladies disembarked with their purchases in a fine mood. The day had been lovely but was not yet over… next up was the wine tasting.
Departing the bus with a few shopping bags at the front of the villa
Representatives of the Penati Wine Shop in Oggiono, a few minutes north of Barzanò came and provided a tasting of four Italian wines from different regions along with appropriate “affinati” (charcuterie or meat/cheese plate). At the end, the group voted on their favorites and a few bottles were kept to enjoy the rest of the week.