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La Présef Restaurant, Lake Como

Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:56PM

Category: Reviews

Written by Sarah | No comments

In 2010 I discovered fine dining and I have not looked back since. It’s not exactly the cheapest of hobbies, but we don’t tend to eat out all that often or spend lots of money on alcohol. Every new holiday destination we go to, we try and visit a Michelin starred restaurant and see what amazing creations the chefs can come up with. I not only love the food, but the sense of theatre and artistic accomplishment that goes into designing the courses and the theme & layout of the restaurants.

I’m currently travelling home from a holiday in Tremezzo, beside Lake Como in Northern Italy. We took a trip to the hotel Agriturismo La Fiorida on the other side of the lake, which has a restaurant called La Présef. The luxurious hotel is also a farm (including a piggery, barn and goat house), and I wish we had gone a little earlier to explore it as dotted all around the interior were antique farming equipment, displays of massive cheese wheels, cow bells, hay stacks and other various farm-themed things. It looked like a really homely but impressive hotel and activity centre.

As a typical tourist in a Mediterranean country, we were the first to arrive at the restaurant and were the sole patrons until much later in the evening. This did mean we got the full attention of a very nice waiter, who spoke excellent English and explained the themes of the restaurant and offered us champagne. The attention to detail was quite something; the forks were shaped like rakes and the knives like sickles. The spoons looked like spades and animal troughs, and the ceiling beams had cow bells and copper pots dangling down. The whole room was wooden and welcoming, although some of the farm saws, instruments and chains on the far wall did give a little torturous vibe (!).

The farming theme continued with the 'free' courses – the first amuse-bouche was smoked and the palate-cleanser between main course and dessert was hay flavoured. The waiter explained the restaurant went to great lengths to make sure everything on the menu was local, and informed me that my spaghetti unfortunately had to come from another part of Italy. Our amuse-bouche of raw Trout had been caught that day and the black truffles on my spaghetti were found in the local forest. My meal consisted of:

1. Basket of breadsticks and crackers

2. Amuse-bouche 1: Smoked Raw Trout:

3. Amuse-bouche 2: Foie gras with 25 year old aged balsamic vinegar, fruit & brioche:

4. Breads made with 40 year old yeast

5. Starter: Fruit, vegetable & flower salad with poached hen’s egg:

6. Main: Spaghetti with black truffle & clotted cream butter and crumbed focaccia:

7. Palate Cleanser: Hay flavoured cream and berry compote

8. Dessert: Cream of beetroot, apple & ginger sorbet, lime biscuit and mint oil:

9. Petits fours: Selection of mini sweets & chocolates:

This was all delicious however I’m not sure I liked the cream of beetroot. It was just very strange to have something normally as part of a savoury dish to be sweet. It worked really well with the sorbet and biscuit, but not sure my brain fully appreciated it!

What was really surprising it how reasonably priced this was. I’ve been to a few restaurants which quite frankly doubled our long-weekend away budget, but this was very good value for money. Highly recommended if you visit Lake Como!

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