La Festa Degli Innamorati

Verona; where better to start than the home to romance, love, beauty, opera, a delicious and robust cuisine matched with outstanding regional wines, and of course Romeo and Juliet.

I first came to know this wonderful city when I ran cookery holidays at the beautiful ancestral seat of Dante Alighieri; La Foresteria Serego Alighieri located some 20 minutes’ drive west of Verona in the tiny village of Garganago.

The estate abuts the well-known, huge Masi wine estate, however despite its proximity to this giant wine producer and the other colossal producer Allegrini, Serego Alghieri remains undaunted and produces its own beautifully made Possessioni Rosso, a full-bodied blend of Corvina, Molinara and Sangiovese.  Possessioni Bianco an elegant blend of Garganega and Sauvignon and its own outstanding recioto, Casal dei Ronchi – a worthy match for any of the big producers.

I digress – it’s romance we are looking for.  We have the perfect cocktail; a stunning location not far from Juliet’s balcony in Verona, wines worthy of a wedding; we chose the Serego Alighieri wines for our wedding some 16 years ago, along with another favourite, Tre Filer, a sweet wine from another small producer Cai dei Frati located just the other side of Lake Garda in Lugana. Opera; there is nothing quite like seeing Verona’s amphitheatre alight with candles for The Chorus of The Hebrew Slaves in a performance of Verdi’s Nabucco – perhaps not the most romantic of operas but one of the most compellingly staged in a Roman amphitheatre.

Food, a delicious bowl of home-made tortelli al zucca, a tender piece of tagliata di manzo with a handful of plain, zingy, rocket and a squeeze of lemon. To finish a luxurious dollop of artisan gelato before heading from Piazza del del ‘Erbe for a passeggiata down Via Mazzini to the amphitheatre. A perfect and without doubt richly romantic evening has started.

I was lucky enough to have a meeting with wine expert Amelia Singer this week, we were casually but earnestly talking about the wonderful wine producers of the Veneto and our passion for our different businesses confirming and agreeing that it was such a privilege to have your work as your passion. She dropped into the conversation that she had also stayed at and fallen in love with La Foresteria Serego Alighieri and by doing so confirmed my feelings that you can’t beat the Veneto for the variety of love in whatever form it takes.

Happy Festa degli Innamorati!