Last Sunday, after my work week in Jesolo, I decided to have rest and to go on my favourite lake: Maggiore. It is big, full of nice villages and towns all around and it has lovely islands in the middle. It has the capacity to make me feel very good all the times. After around 150 km. of driving from Turin I arrived in Verbania from where I took a boat. My destination was Isola dei Pescatori ( Fishermen’s Island ), a lovely place with around 60 inhabitants and few accomodations.
As the name suggest was in past the island where fishermen were living, but not, despite someone who is doing it, it is a piece of land in the middle of the lake where visitors can stay for a part of the day or for few days going around Lake Maggiore. Among the hotels there is Hotel Ristorante Verbano. It is quite famous because some important people slept there: orchestral director Arturo Toscanini, the writers Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Alessandro Manzoni, the Emperor of Japan, members of the British royal family and the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio.
I did not stayed for the night, but I limited my experience, just because of a matter of time, to the delicious restaurant. On the menu there is a good selection of recipes realized innovating the local tradition. The ingredients and the dishes coming from the towns around the lake are the bases of the proposed cuisine. The ability of the chef is to offer new taste and some experiments.
The main food is certainly the lake fish, served i differnt ways, also with pasta an rice as first course. Anyway that ingredient is not the only protagonist of the menu. Infact there are many typical taste of the sorroundings. The great selection of wines is a good surprise and perfect to accompain the dishes. The waiters can always give some advices to support the guest choice.
I love rice, so I tried it and it was superb, cooked as we say in Italy ”al dente”. Then I had of course fish and a dessert that you can see in the picture. I have eaten it and it was really amazing. The food is important, but to make the meal a luxury one it is not enough. I noticed other elements there: a professional staff, kind and discrete, a very good presentation of the place and an elegant setting, not too pretentious.
I left at the end the aspect that it is visible immediately: the uncomparable panorama on the lake. The guest are seated in the courtyard under the trees and in front of the water and of another small island. Even when there are many people the environment is peaceful, there is the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the meal and the company. I will return to ristorante Verbano for sure.
After the lunch I had a walk around the island watching the old houses and the sunny lake. Then I had a trip back by boat and I went around by car and walking again in the town of Verbania, the capital of the province, and Stresa, a lovely tourist village with a small centre full of good quality shops for clothes, food, antiques and art. Stresa is as well know for music festivals.
I really had a great Sunday and I suggest you to visit that area if you have the chance.