Food, opera and Verona – A Perfect Week-end

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 pf Christmas billboard in front of Arena di Verona

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.
The sign of Arena Museo Opera in Verona
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.  
Food producers from Northern Italy exhibiting at Taste of Christmas in AMO, Verona
I was particularly taken with this huge panettone weighing 4 kg! You can’t miss it in the picture below.
A huge panettone weighing 4 kg at Taste of Christmas event in AMO, Verona
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.
Award-winning bottles of Italian olive oils at Taste of Christmas event in AMO, Verona
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.
Original sketches for costumes for Verdi's La Traviata, AMO, Verona
The Egyptian room with the sets from Verdi’s Aida made all three of us gasp.
Sets from Verdi's Aida in AMO, Verona
And you just had to look up at the ceilings to admire even more art.
A sumptuous ceiling in Arena Museo Opera in Verona
Downstairs we found pop-up restaurants, even more booths and a whole pasta shop.
A pop-up pasta shop at Taste of Christmas event in AMO, Verona
Renowned chefs were giving demonstrations in the culinary arts.
Cooking demonstration at Taste of Christmas event in AMO, Verona

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!
Chef Andrea Romeo's cooking demonstration at Taste of Christmas event in AMO, Verona

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.

The view over Via Mazzini from our room in Hotel Accademia in Verona

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.

The sumptuous lobby of Hotel Accademia in Verona

I was more interested in the biscuits, as we shared a name.

Biscuits Rossi in Hotel Accademia in Verona

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.

Giovanni Zenatello - opera singer and founder of the Opera Festival in Verona

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 🙂

About the author



Hello! I am Rossi - a Bulgarian currently living in England after 6 years in Italy which were preceded by 14 years in England. This is my blog about my life in these three countries and travels around Europe with history and culture in mind. For regular updates, please, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on social media online. You can also get in touch via the Contacts form or by commenting on the articles in my blog.

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