HeartRome

My life and times in the eternal city and beyond

A Love Story named Valeggio sul Mincio

Italian cuisine is so diverse from region to region. The characteristics which define these differences are based on agriculture, climate, economy and historical traditions. But one common thread is pride.

Yes, from north to south, mainland to the islands, Italians are extremely proud of their cuisine.

Their customs and food plays a fundamental role in socialising, community building and family.

Oh and they’re a romantic bunch too! I guess you could say that passion, an appreciation of beauty and a love of well, love, are in the Italian DNA.

On my recent visit to north Italy, I found out that those talented Bolognese aren’t the only tortellini makers around here. The Veneto region packs a pretty good punch too!

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Valeggio sul Mincio is a small town in the province of Verona and while the picturesque hamlet of Borgetto, lake life and a rich history characterise this pretty place, it’s famous for being one of Italy’s capital of tortellini.

But in these parts, you don’t just call tortellini, tortellini. No, no, no. Valeggio is home to the “Nodo d’Amore or, in English, the love knot.

The name was born from a legend and tradition that dates back to the 13th century and features no less than a court jester, some nobles, nymphs, witches and a love spell of course!

Basically, military captain Malco fell in love with Silvia, a beautiful nymph. As a symbol of their undying love, she gifted him a handkerchief tied in a knot. Legend has it that the two disappeared into the river to escape prison charges and to this day, this special pasta is made in pasta houses and homes across Valeggio sul Mincio to honour their beautiful love story.

Is that romantic or what??

Valeggio tortellini are made with golden egg pasta sheets, filled with a delicate meat filling and tied in a little knot. So they are slightly different from those you’ll find in the Emilia Romagna region.

On my recent press visit to Valeggio we visited one of the towns’ pasta houses, Pastificio al Re del Tortellino (the king of tortellini pasta house) to participate in a tortellini making demonstration.

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Seeing these local women in a production line of tying love knots was one of the highlights of my visit. You could just feel their sense of pride as they put their craft on display.

I got to try my hand at tying some love knots.. And truth be told, as it turns out, I’m a bit of a natural actually!

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We also got to taste them of course with a snack of fried tortellini (crunchy and tasty!) and during a long lunch at Ristorante alla Borsa, which featured no less than 2 courses of tortellini – one of which was seasonally filled with pumpkin.

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But the best takeaway? Finding out that the Assocazione Ristoratori Valeggio sul Mincio (the local restaurant association) hosts an annual tortellini festival in honour of this golden pasta parcel and the love story of Malco and Silvia. On the 3rd Tuesday in June each year, the Visconteo bridge is closed to traffic and lined with tables for a big tortellini feast, aptly named the Festa del Nodo d’Amore (the love knot festival).

And you can probably guess who’s already making plans to be there in 2015!

Signing off from Trastevere (in a love love mood!)
Baci, Maria

Acknowledgements:

To see more on my recent north Italy travels, follow the hashtag #VeronaGarda on social media and watch this space!

Note: I participated in this press trip as part of my selection as a Top Hosted Blogger for TBDI2014. This post-conference press tour was funded by the following partners whom I thank immensely for their support and heartwarming hospitality: TTG Italia, TBDI – Travel Blogger Destination Italy, Verona Tuttintorno, Lago di Garda Veneto, Comune di Verona, Comune di Valeggio Sul Mincio (Verona), Comune di Cavriana (Mantova) and Palazzo Te Mantova

While all my travel costs were covered, nobody tells me what to write. All views and images are my own.

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