With all the Christmas shopping done last week, we decided for an excursion on Saturday with a visit to Verona, always a lively town and just one hour away from our home.
The weather was fine and not too cold, so we wandered around, with stops at the Arena and along the commercial Via Mazzini on the way to Piazza delle Erbe. By this time it was lunchtime and we decided to stop at La Taverna di Via Stella in Via Stella 5c. This is just round the corner from the family home of the Capuleti (you know, the balcony where Giulietta pined for her Romeo, etc, etc.), so this homely trattoria is frequented by tourists, but also by local office workers and shopkeepers who stop at the bar and have a glass of wine and a selection of the many antipasti offered. The large dining room is attractively furnished with wide benches and tables with proper linen tablecloths and napkins, and friendly and attentive service – most important when dining with kids! The wine list has a selection of a couple of hundred bottles, with a dozen also available by the glass.
The menu is decidedly regional, with polenta being the staple, but the quality is quite a few steps above the ordinary trattoria level. I chose the Ravioli della Taverna as the first course, very delicate with a cheese filling and sprinkled with assorted herbs.
A glass of Lugana (the white wine grown on the southern shore of Lago di Garda) went very well with it. As a second, I selected the Pastissada de Caval, a typical veronese dish – a hearty horsemeat stew cooked with red wine and juniper berries, served with polenta. Very tasty indeed. Unfortunately I had selected a glass of Valpolicella to accompany it, but this proved to be a wrong choice as the Pastissada completely overwhelmed the taste of the wine. I should have chosen something decidedly more robust.
As a dessert, I chose a Sbrisolona, a crumbly, buttery tart, rather like a large biscuit, another typical dish of the Veneto. Here I felt really in need of a dessert wine, and after a quick consultation with our friendly waiter, I was brought a glass of Passito di Pantelleria – mellow, fruity and just with the right degree of sweetness! Excellent.
Highly recommended and excellent value at EUR 95 for five.