A Culinary Tour of Northern Veneto.
By Hayley Musson.
The hillside town of Follina, Italy, hosts one of the most beautiful backdrops any holidaymaker would want in a break from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities Treviso and Venice. Located some 90km North of Venice, Follina sits in the pre-alpine area of Veneto and was the perfect base for sampling a little of the regions bubbliest beverage.
Follina is famous in the region for its 12th century Abbey, Abbazzia ‘Santa Maria’ di Follina, the town boasts a quaint and historic atmosphere. Its small streets lined with fading frescos and cafe-bars, for a small mountain town, Follina will not disappoint.
This experience of Italy, for me, was far from the golden beaches and tourist trinkets of the Gulf of Napoli which I had experienced and fell in love with on my first visit to Italy. Veneto is authentically Italian, humble, and rife with possibility for those who aren’t afraid to get out there and explore.
I stayed in the small hamlet of Pedeguarda, a short drive South of Follina. (Renting a car is a must – unless you’re a cycling fanatic!). Pedeguarda, and many of its surrounding villages, is a great base to explore the mountainous region of Veneto. Congeliano is only a short drive away with fantastic train connections to Treviso and Venice, and to the North, the cities of Belluno and Feltre and Valdobbiadene offer some of the most fantastic views in the immediate area.
If you’re looking for a well-priced lodging in the area, I cannot recommend the Hotel Villaguarda highly enough. Just off the main road, the hotel is a sleekly designed oasis, family-run, with sophisticated themed rooms and a fantastic choice of locally sourced Prosecco – and when you are in the heart of Prosecco country, how can you not!
Cut me, I bleed Prosecco.
One thing you are not short of in Follina, is restaurants. So without further ado, here are my Top Five Tips for Eating Out in (and around) Follina:
- Osteria del Majo, Via Paoletti 16, Follina.
By far the best discovery of our trip (we went back more than once!), the Osteria del Majo is a beautiful restaurant just on the outskirts of Follina. Deliciously authentic, the Osteria del Majo boasts not only an excellent menu but a uniquely historic atmosphere, with dining focused around the view of the mills old waterwheel.
Definitely don’t pass on the Antipasto! And the meringues to finish are to die for. A fantastic meat selection and a good selection of desserts. My recommendation: Oven-roasted Pork Shank (12€) and for dessert, the Tortino al Cioccolato (4€).
- Pizarria Agli Angeli, Via Tacchini, 45, Pieve di Soligo.
I was dying for a pizza. Not being the typical food of the region (that being mainly meat based), by the end of our week in Follina, we sought personal recommendation from the front desk on the best pizzeria in the area – and so we ended up at the Agli Angeli.
Very popular with the locals, Agli Angeli has the most extensive pizza menu I have ever seen – and its certainly worth getting a few to share! Generous portions and fantastic flavours – if you are in the area, this restaurant is certainly worth a visit.
My Recommendation: Pizza Siciliana.
- La Straccionata, Via Pedeguarda, 35, Follina.
A restaurant we’d grossly overlooked until the night of a fatal storm in Pedeguarda, but being just a few hundred yards from the Hotel Villaguarda, La Straccionata makes the list not only for its proximity but for the vastly underrated quality of its food.
A steak house in essence, I had a fantastic steak dinner at La Straccionata, prepared by the owner over an open fire in the centre of the restaurant. The restaurant is reasonably priced with dining deals available and the owners son speaks fantastic English, and were more than happy to serve us despite showing up at after 10.30pm!
- Trattoria Ristoro Fos de Marai, (near Gia), Via S. Stefano, 20, Santo Stefano Di Valdobbiadene.
If you’re looking for a good view, then look no further. Ristoro Fos de Marai sits in the heart of Prosecco country, right off the official route of the Strada del Prosecco. A low-key restaurant, perfect for a family lunch on the terrace, Fos de Marai has an extensive menu (in both English and German) and an interesting selection of mixed drinks – (we tried the Bicicletta, a classic Italian cocktail made with Campari and wine, which seemed very popular with the locals).
- Osteria Al Castelletto, Via Castelletto 3, Pedeguarda di Follina.
Just off the main road, this up-market yet classically traditional restaurant is well worth a visit. In summer, guests are ushered outside to sit in a candlelit Marquee. Food is more on the pricey side but portions are huge! This Osteria’s speciality is its grilled meats. My recommendation is the steak, thinly cut, it only comes rare, but if that doesn’t put you off, it’s certainly worth a taste!
Coffee is a benchmark when dining out in Italy, and with prices ranging from 1-2€ its hard to refuse. After dinner coffee is served as an Espresso as standard, so if you’re looking for something else make sure to make that clear before ordering!