Garda con Gusto: a tasty event for gourmets in a graceful Lake Garda burg


Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso

Last year Garda con Gusto (Garda with taste) was a perfect occasion to begin to know the Garda Trentino area, i.e. the northernmost part of Lake Garda, where the lake shores kiss the mountains slopes. This year the event will take place from November 3 to November 5 in Riva del Garda.

Lake Garda is divided among three Italian regions: Veneto (east and south-east), Lombardia (south-west and west) and Trentino (north).

The Trentino part is mostly chosen by tourist for its huge offer of outdoor activities: cycling, climbing, windsurf, trekking and sailing. Cycling for example is on the top of the list thanks to 1.000 km of itineraries you can ride all year long.

Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda

Garda con Gusto

Thanks to this event, however, I discovered another side (and what a side!) of the territory: local cuisine. In fact, as some of you probably remember, last year I was invited to spend the weekend in Riva del Garda and attend to the important food centred event at the Pala Meeting, Garda con Gusto. Three days of tastings, show cooking and workshops related to the best local products: carne salada pgi (salt-cured meat), lake fish pgi, extra virgin olive oil, slow food broccoli, dop plums (you know that I absolutely love plums!), chestnuts, balsamic vinegar, truffle, cheese, apples, honey, beers and doc wines.

The highlight was the show cooking by young chef Simone Rugiati, who prepared carne salada ravioli with plums and ricotta and a trout and turnip “millefoglie”, vivaciously entertaining the adoring audience.

Local cuisine

Many local chefs and producers cooperated to create new combinations of flavours and new delicious dishes in six different booths. You simply have to purchase the coupons at the entrance, and then choose your favourite booth. Get in line and ask for a dish, giving one of the coupons. On the photos below you can see six of the possible tastings of last year:

  • carne salada stew on chestnut and potato cream with cranberry sauce and orange
  • bean cream with red onions and carne salada
  • trout-burger, smoked sardines and kiwi sauce
  • fried carne salada meatballs on broccoli mousse
  • whole corn flour crackers with carne salada paté, borlotti beans cream and honey
  • spatzle with chestnuts, carne salada ragout and chanterelles plus pork with bacon and plum compote

Plus the apple mousse crumble was a finger-licking dessert! In Italy we say “moustache licking” (da leccarsi i baffi). 😀

Food Market

Since it was also a food market, I couldn’t help but buying some olives pate. I love olives pate so much, that I eat it even at breakfast. And I can assure you, in Italy this is very odd, since 90% of the people have a sweet breakfast. You can also buy extra virgin olive oil, wine, carne salada and other excellent local products.

What to see in Riva del Garda

During the weekend I explored Riva del Garda. So now I can give you some suggestions regarding the things to see:

  • the Civic Museum housed in the medieval Rocca (1124)
    Riva del Garda
    Riva del Garda
  • Torre Apponale, medieval belfry tower located in Piazza III Novembre and facing the harbour. It once belonged to the first fortress of the town, sadly lost.
  • The city hall with the Palazzo Pretorio (1375) and the Palazzo del Provveditore (the governor’s palace, 1472-85).
  • Porta San Marco (XIth century) and Porta San Michele (XIIIth century) are remnants of the medieval city walls.
  • Church of Maria Assunta, rebuilt in baroque style in 1728.
  • The octagonal Inviolata church, one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Trentino.
  • Obviously, my eyes fell on the window of a leather artisan shop, Leonardo Guizzetti in via Fiume 41. You should see those bags! The street was full of accessories shops, but this one was special.
Leather accessories shop
Leather accessories shop

Where to have dinner

As for dinner, we tried two restaurants during the weekend:

Leon d’Oro, more traditional (I particularly appreciated the tartare and the risotto) and Nuovo ‘900 da Lucio (I guess Lucio is from Umbria, judging by his accent and by the menu that combines Trentino and Umbria specialities). I loved the place: the interior design, the atmosphere and the food: cold cuts with tortel (a tasty potato pancake) and strangolapreti. Literally meaning priests stranglers, they are a kind bread and spinach gnocchi, served with melted butter and sage.

Garda con Gusto 2017

Garda con Gusto will be held from November 3 to November 5 in Riva del Garda: tastings, gourmet food market, workshops and entertainment. Learn more on the official site:


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