Christmas celebrations: the delicacies of Garda Veronese

With the Christmas lights the tables of Garda are set with delicious flavours, scents and aromas. Ginger, orange and cinnamon are in the air. It's time for pandoro, mulled wine and Nadalin

Lake Garda, with its three shores, offers many different and delicious specialties. Traditional dishes, with genuine ingredients, typical of this territory full of resources and food and wine excellence. 

In anticipation of Christmas, during Advent, chestnuts, Dop chestnuts from San Zeno, mulled wine and and peppery bread warm the atmosphere. All delicacies that, in normal years, you could have tasted while walking among the houses or stands of the Christmas markets, in the centers or on the lakeside promenade of many villages overlooking Lake Garda. 

The Coronavirus emergency with the world pandemic has cancelled all events and most Christmas appointments this year.  Waiting for a little normality to return, we tell these flavors, to set the tables of goodness, as well as hope.

Mushrooms, truffles, polenta and Garda oil

Mushrooms and truffles flavor the first and second courses of winter, with the inevitable polenta. The fresh and mature cheeses, accompanied by delicious jams, marmalades, mustards or honey, are an irresistible appetizer or closing meal for the palate. 

After the olive harvest, in autumn, with the winter comes the new oil, another excellence of Garda, in all its shores, from Trentino to Veronese to Bresciano. 

The extra-virgin olive oil of Lake Garda is a precious Dop, which gives a delicate flavour to every dish. Intense, fragrant, fruity, Garda oil is a product that tells the story of the territory, a perfect gift for Christmas.

Do not call it a condiment: thanks to the particular microclimate of the lake and the most modern techniques of harvesting and grinding, Garda oil has extraordinary organoleptic properties that make it a valuable food, rich in oleic acid, vitamin E and biophenolic compounds. In short, a unique product that finds many uses in the kitchen and is good for our health. 

If you are on the Garda during the Christmas season, you will notice that two dishes will never be missed on the Veronese tables: pearà, a poor sauce, made with baked bread, meat broth and lots of pepper, accompanied by meat loaf and Nadalin, the ancient sweet of Verona, precursor of the most famous Pandoro.

Veronese Christmas tastes like Nadalin

The Christmas sweets around Lake Garda, especially for the Veronese part, are the pandoro di Verona and the so-called Nadalìn, a typical Veronese sweet with a historical flavour.  Its origins date back to around 1260, when it was prepared to celebrate the first Christmas in Verona under the rule of the Scala family.

 It is the ancestor of the better known pandoro, invented later, in the nineteenth century.  Compared to the latter, Nadalin, although similar in ingredients, is less buttery and fragrant, and more compact and sweet. 

The shape is also different: while the pandoro has a regular shape, star-shaped, and is taller, the Nadalin is much lower, has a less precise shape, sometimes star-shaped like the pandoro or domed like a low panettone. Nadalin is a typical dessert, which expresses the origins and traditions of the land and the people of Verona. In the city, it was a tradition to give it to the children who, with their songs, used to cheer up the streets and squares of Verona during the Christmas holidays. 

From fags to leaflets: there are also many other ways to soften holiday days during winter and Christmas holidays.