The Region of Gastronomy Award. Mantova cuisine: gastronomic tour of Lombardy, Italy.

Mantova is a city located in northern Italy, surrounded by three lakes: Superiore, di Mezzo and Inferiore,
Despite it's a small town, its cultural and artistic value has made it increasingly popular and worth a visit. Nevertheless, no gastronomic tour of Italy is complete without a trip to Mantova.
The Region of Gastronomy Award MANTUA

Indeed, its culinary history and its reputation for producing some of the most acclaimed cuisines in Italy and worldwide, have awarded Mantova the title of the “European Capital of Gastronomy” in 2017.  
It's an award well-deserved as many of the dishes go back to the Gonzaga lordship in the XIV Century, that's why Mantova food has been appointed as the “cuisine of Princes and People”.

What to eat in Mantua and its province 

As I live abroad the most, I miss from my homeland are family, friends and of course… food!
Actually, it’s not just a common sense the importance of food in Italian people life.
For all of us, a meal it’s not a mere nourishment but means conviviality, social life, culture, traditional...
In other words, the food it’s a lifestyle.
When I am feeling blue, I need a food like a plate of homemade pasta in broth, as my grandmother used to cook.
I am going to give you some tips about the best dishes in Mantova, and if you stay in my apartment, in the city center of Mantova, you’ll find a complete guide with all the best restaurants in town.

You can find it here:

short term Mantova
Holiday apartment

Cozy and spacious apartment "chic italian style", in the most beautiful area of Mantua: beside Saint George Castle, right in the city center and overviewing the Middle Lake.

Mantua typical dishes

1. Tortelli di Zucca

One of the most iconic dishes of Mantova are Tortelli di Zucca  (or pumpkin tortelli), a classic meal of stuffing pasta traditionally eaten for Christmas Eve. The egg pasta is filled with tasty ingredients such as boiled pumpkin, mustard, nutmeg, amaretti and parmesan cheese. These tasty ingredients will get you a mixture of contrasting flavours like the spice of the mustard together with the sweet pumpkin, all balanced by the salty parmesan cheese.  

2. Agnolini

Agnolini are a different kind of stuffing pasta, filled with lightly spiced meat and served in bowls of chicken broth (in brodo). You can also try them adding to the broth some sparkling red wine, the typical one is Lambrusco, we call this version "sorbir d'agnoli".

3. Risotto alla Pilota

Risotto alla Pilota (translated as the rice of the Pilot), is another dish both simple and delicious: the rice is grainier than the usual creamy risotto and the ingredients such as butter, parmesan cheese, and sausages make it very tasty. It is also served together with pork chops (col puntel) with a great effect.


4. Stracotto d’Asino

For adventurous meat eaters, Stracotto d’Asino is unmissable: it is a rich stew of donkey meat, cooked for eight hours in wine sauce. It’s a thick, dark delicacy that tastes a lot like beef but don’t even think about asking for a substitute ingredient cause the locals are extremely proud of it! Try it with maccheroni al torchio or with polenta.

5. Bigoli con le Sarde

The city’s aqueous origins are also reflected in some of its key dishes, from duck and pike to frogs.
Bigoli con le Sarde is a kind of spaghetti with a combination of simple yet delicious ingredients: bigoli, fish, garlic, anchovies and a sauce made with fish oil. That's all you need for this very tasty and enjoyable dish.

6. Torta Sbrisolona

If you have the sweet tooth the best-known dessert of Mantova is Torta Sbrisolona, a crumbly cake (as the name suggests), to break up with hands. Its peasant origins required simples ingredients like flour, butter, and eggs, but over the time almonds, lemon peel, and vanilla seed have been added to the basic recipe to add that extra boost.

7. Torta delle Rose

Torta delle Rose (cake of roses) is a delicious bouquet made with soft roses of pastry and buttercream. It is said that the cake was first created on the occasion of the marriage of Isabella d'Este and Francesco II Gonzaga.

8. Cake Elvezia.

Cake Elvezia. This is a dessert made of three layers of egg white, sugar and almond paste, plus chocolate and zabaglione layers. It is said that recipe was invented in the 18th Century by a Samson Putscher, a pastry chef with Swiss origins who dedicated the cake to his homeland.

The list of the traditional dishes in Mantova does not end here: if you visit this city you'll have the chance to discover and enjoy even more tasty and different meals which all share simple yet genuine ingredients, surrounded by art and history.

What are you waiting for?
You are welcome in my holiday apartment in Mantua.
Have a nice trip and…Bon Appétit!

Mantua more info on Wikipedia

Written by local expert Patrizia Castagna

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