I’ve just returned home from a perfect week-end. I spent it with my husband and our baby in Verona. Sometimes things just click in place.
We made the 45-minute journey from Vicenza to attend the Taste of Christmas event. It was showcasing the best in festive food from Italy with the emphasis on the Northern region of Veneto. Hosted by Taste Festivals Italia, it’s part of a prestigious chain of culinary events taking place all over the world.
We stayed at the Hotel Accademia. It overlooks Via Mazzini – the elegant and exclusive shopping street of Verona and it’s also just around the corner from the famous Roman Arena.
Add to this already fabulous mix a little pinch of opera and you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable week-end.
Taste of Christmas was held in the Arena Museo Opera (AMO) – the museum dedicated to the creativity and excellence of Italian opera and more specifically to the summer Opera Festival held in Arena di Verona and attracting over half a million visitors each year.
Throughout its many sumptuous rooms were dotted the booths of award-winning restaurants and food producers from Northern Italy. We explored them slowly, one by one, sampling their abundant culinary delights.
I was particularly taken with this huge panettone weighing 4 kg! You can’t miss it in the picture below.
We took part in an olive oil tasting. A glug of olive oil from Lake Garda region was carefully poured over a piece of crusty bread. It was fruity and sweet, melting on the tongue and hitting all the pleasure centres of the brain. Who knew?!
Meet the creme de la creme of Italian olive oils! The liquid in these bottles would make any salad and dish sing.
Speaking of singing… Arias from operas famous the world over filled the air and elevated the sensations from the food. We loved looking through the Arena Museo Opera exhibits. Like these original costume sketches for Verdi’s La Traviata.
The Egyptian room with the sets from Verdi’s Aida made all three of us gasp.
And you just had to look up at the ceilings to admire even more art.
Downstairs we found pop-up restaurants, even more booths and a whole pasta shop.
Renowned chefs were giving demonstrations in the culinary arts.
I was booked to attend a demonstration by chef Andrea Romeo. Unfortunately, it was re-scheduled and the hour delay meant I couldn’t attend. After all the attention she thoroughly enjoyed at the event, my baby was getting tired and when it comes to choosing between parenting and blogging, as all parents know, parental duties come first.
Still, I managed to snatch a quick picture of the class coupled with the instruction sheets for something truly scrumptious that I have decided to decipher with my rudimentary Italian and attempt to replicate at home. Fingers crossed!
So, we were off to hotel Accademia, conveniently located half way between two of the major sightseeing points in Verona; Piazza delle Erbe and the huge Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century, commonly known as Arena.
We were warmly welcomed, issued with a pass allowing us to park in the centro storico, which is otherwise closed for cars and assigned a very spacious room with a fabulous view over Via Mazzini.
We had an afternoon drink in the beautiful lobby and chatted for a little bit with an affable member of staff who offered a choccolatino to our little one.
I was more interested in the biscuits, as we shared a name.
On the way back to our room we came across a little alcove with photos and artefacts. Curious to find out more, we discovered that Giovanni Zenatello, a renowned opera singer and founder of the Opera Festival of Verona, lived in Hotel Accademia, then bought it and the property is still owed by his family to this day.
P.P.: With many thanks to my host Taste of Christmas who invited me to attend the event and to Hotel Accademia for the press discount.
I will be telling you more about our week-end in gorgeous Verona all through the week. So, keep checking the blog for more stories to come.
In the meantime, please, let me know your thoughts in a comment below or by connecting with me on social media (my accounts are at the top of the page).
Enjoy your day 🙂