The region of Trentino, Italy isn’t known by many but is more than worth the trip. Visiting Trentino was not only one of the best experiences of my life, but I saw some of the most jaw-dropping natural beauty I’ve ever seen. There are plenty of reasons to visit Trentino and is mostly known for its winter persona but don’t let that fool you…head there in the warmer temperatures and you’ll be soaking in the sun with spectacular scenery that Mother Nature is just waiting to show off. Most importantly for this post, you’ll want to visit Trentino for an epic foodie trip to Italy.
This foodie itinerary to Trentino isn’t just about eating. gasp No, and I’m going to take a stand here and say that you shouldn’t just make it about stuffing your face — but it should also be about connecting with the region, learning about the processes, seeing where it all comes from and who is involved. This is about the many gastronomic experiences available to visitors.
Don’t worry, though, I’ll be listing plenty of places to eat 😉 Let’s dive right in, shall we? Here is your foodie guide to Trentino, Italy.
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What is Trentino known for? (Foodie edition)
This region of Italy is known for apples, and although they don’t have a huge amount, they are very special. Because of the many hours of sunshine and the specific microclimate this region has, the apples ripen perfectly with a special brightness in flavor. There are three DOP apple varieties here, which means they are designated to only grow in this area. It’s a protected variety.
You might not think of apple strudel when you think of Italy, but in this area, it’s very popular. No complaints here as it’s one of my favorite foods! They also make a dish called “Smorn” which is another apple pastry. We didn’t have the pleasure the last time, but it’s on the list for next time!
Trentino milk and cheese
It’s pretty famous for its cheese, though, somehow, not as famous as the Parmesan cheese. I’m not sure why that is because it’s a similar cheese style (grana) and has a full lovely flavor. You’ll see it as both “Trentingrana” or “Grana Trentino” so you will know it’s from Trentino! It’s protected similarly to the apples, but they even have another cheese that’s protected, Asiago.
Though, these are their two special cheeses, they make many more and being here tasting all the cheese made me fall even more in love with it than I was before. What makes the milk super special is that the cows spend their summers up on the mountain eating all that mountain grass. They are certainly some healthy and happy cows!
I also just HAVE to tell you…the milk is divine. I bought a bottle when in Trento since we knew we’d have cereal for breakfast each day (during our conference), and I gave it a sip to see if it was different. It was. Never has milk tasted so good! I drank more milk in my week there than I have in months. Learn more about the milk from the area.
You’ve heard of Champagne, right? Well, Trentodoc (Trento DOC – Denomination of Controlled Origin) is also made in the traditional method. It was only the second sparkling wine to receive the DOC designation. It seems to have just as much to do with quality as it does where it’s from. This is some incredible sparkling wine. You just have to try it to understand.
It seems that everything that is done in Trentino is just done better than you’ve seen it done before. I don’t understand it, but I love it! Wine has been made in this region for 5000 years, so I guess, in the instance of wine, it’s no surprise that they have award-winning wines.
Gastronomic experiences in Trentino
With so much to do, it’s hard to choose! Even this list is only a sample since it is what we did on a trip to Trentino that was hosted by the tourism board. Many of the activities you can simply book by sending an email to the company, and some you may need to be staying at the agriturismo in order to participate. It never hurts to send an email to the business and ask for more clarity!
Il Leprotto Bisestile
Part of the amazingness of this place is the location. It’s recommended that you park in town and walk up to it which isn’t difficult and makes for an amazing view. Do you know those breath-taking moments that we all dream about? Get ready to have a few on this walk.
Once you arrive, you can check out all the animals on this little farm. It’s so special! This is why you go to Italy. It’s about the feeling you get here, that’s it. That’s the way of life — a bit simple and a bit amazing at the same time.
We created our own herb salt here – we walked with our host and picked herbs right from the garden then had a little workshop. The feeling of harmony with people, animals, and the land is so strong here. The calmness in the air, the smell of nature with the freshness that can only come from being near the water, it all collaborates to create an unforgettable experience.
She has workshops throughout the year, you can check here to see what’s happening (you’ll want to have Google translate on). Or you can always email her, her contact information is on the website.
This is only the first spot for a drink experience! It was the first one I had there and felt fitting for it to be the first one I told you about. This is a family vineyard with a passionate group doing so much good work with wine. They have people from the community come in and help with everything from harvesting to crushing grapes. Who doesn’t want to be part of a wine community? I would if I were there!
They only have 16 hectares of vineyards and they do so well because of the perfect mix of sun and wind. We tasted a couple of wines, but the one that stood out to me was the Vino Santo, the Holy Wine. That was the bottle we bought and have at home now. The big question is…when do we drink it? It’s not only special because it’s from our trip, but it’s from 2004 and they make an incredibly limited quantity.
I highly recommend that you visit this vineyard if you are in the area. You can request a tour and tasting, and you’ll definitely be purchasing wine! Just wrap it up in clothing when you check your bag on the flight 😉
Full disclosure here, we got a full tour that includes more than is typically available since we were a group. They are getting so popular that they can’t do individual tours, but ask and maybe you can take a peek at the bees. What we were able to do, just so you know, is dress up like beekeepers and get up-close and personal with one of the hives. We even saw the queen!
A regular video is visiting the showroom with all of the honey to taste. There are 20+ honey types to try and the staff is there to help answer questions. One thing I found surprising is that beekeepers only take 10% of the honey from the hive so the bees have plenty to get them through the winter. Learn crazy facts like that!
There is a lot to learn about bees, and if you ask questions, they are happy to explain everything to do with why bees are important (they really are!), how they work, how honey is made, what it can be used more (more than you think), and so much more. We ended up buying 9 little jars to try. They have great packaging so you can easily turn a trip to this shop into a few different gifts. Learn more about Mieli Thun.
See a different side of wine-making! This is a wine producer that uses the grapes from a co-op of vineyard owners in Trentino. There are 1500 members in this coop with over 300 hectares of grapes. That’s massive!
This company specializes in TrentoDOC — a regional specialty made only in Trentino with Trentino grapes. It’s very specific with a very delicious outcome. Gruppo Mezzacorona makes 2.5 million bottles of this sparkling wine every year, so they definitely know what they are doing. Did you know it takes one kilogram of grapes to make one bottle of wine? Let’s make it count!
Take a tour here to better understand how special these grapes and this sparkling wine is to the people of Trentino. It’s a large building with lots of tanks and barrels, but they seem to have the same care about the wine as the smaller wineries. That surprised me the most. Definitely take home some TrentoDOC, that’s a must! Find out how to set up a visit here.
Azienda Agricola Calliari
This activity is super interactive and you get to go home with your own piece of the farm! They give the opportunity to be a farm helper for the day, make jam, hay art, or other interesting things.
We made apple and rhubarb jam. We each cut up apples and rhubarb to put in one big pot for everyone to get some jam. Not to toot my own horn (ok, yes, to toot my own horn) but I was pretty fast at peeling the apples, but Sean is always faster with the cutting of the fruit. It’s great to have a little healthy competition in a relationship 🙂
The outcome was an incredibly delicious, and not-as-tart-as-I-thought apple-rhubarb jam.
There’s a program happening in the fall of 2019 (and fingers crossed, again in 2020!) that is highlighting a different agriturismo each weekend, including this one, and you can make something special at each one. The program is called Made by Me and once there’s a full website up, I’ll link it here.
Until then, here’s the link if you want to book a visit to Azienda Agricola Calliari!
Villa de Varda
One last alcohol stop! Grappa is very much a thing in Italy and you can find it all over but this place creates it in their own special way. Their family has been making this for generations…for centuries! An impressive museum is on the premises and worth taking a look at if you can take a tour.
One of the reasons this grappa is special is because they start the process as soon as they get the grape skins, and don’t wait as many producers do. It’s a quality thing. They also distill more than their competitors and have a few other tricks up their sleeves to create a superior product
I am not the biggest grappa fan, but even I found a couple of theirs that I loved. Just so you know, we brought back FOUR bottles. Oy. Yeah, packing was a pain.
I suggest taking a tour, and trying as many as you can to find the right bottle for you!
Where to eat in Trentino
We’ve noticed that a lot of places to stay offer incredible meals as well, so you may find some places listed here and in the “Where to stay” section. There will also be places included here that we haven’t been to, but are highly praised in some way. We don’t want you to miss out just because we didn’t have time to get to them…maybe next time 😉
Are you ready for a yummy list of places to eat in Trentino? Yes? Yeah…I’m ready to go back just to eat!
The Berry House does wonderful fine dining in a cozy dining room. The unassuming but lovely spot in Altopiano della Vigolana rocks some tasty and unique dishes like mountain pine risotto with smoked trout and hay ice cream. Admit it, you’re curious about the ice cream!
With local wine, delicious bread and butter, you begin to understand how the meal at Locanda Camora will unfold. The views are unparalleled and dreamy. When we walked in there was an audible “whooaaaa!”. My favorite bites were the trout and the gnocchi. Sometimes you eat something and can’t figure out how food can be so good.
Hotel Il Falchetto
You can get many local specialties at Hotel Il Falchetto along with local wines and beer, but we had the potato pancake with all the trimmings. That included: cabbage, jam, cheese, caramelized onions, sausages, ham, carpaccio, and beans.
La Filanda used to be a spinning mill and has used its earthy and thoughtful decor to keep that appearance while elevating the building into a fine-dining restaurant with an ambiance to fit its history. Their passion in the Trentino region, so they have locally sourced everything and even grow their own herbs.
Stella Alpina Val di Non
Our menu probably won’t be your menu because Stella Alpina Val di Non focuses on local and truly seasonal ingredients. The meal we had included dishes that highlighted nettle and elderflower. It was all completely scrumptious and were all paired with local wines…perfection! This place is super cute, too. But that’s just a bonus.
Have a picnic
As I mentioned earlier, there are DOP apples in Trentino. To celebrate that, you can have a picnic with local ingredients created by Strada della Mela e dei Sapori and an apple theme in Castle Nanno. As I mentioned, apples are very important to Trentino and that’s why I’m including this. Check out all the local producers they work with. It’s a great way to support local businesses, and in turn, be more of a responsible traveler. Besides, who would pass up the opportunity to have a picnic around a castle? There’s also live music and a chance to visit the castle.
Everyone loves Locanda Alpina. Seriously, check out any of the review sites. There’s no wonder! The staff is wonderful. The food is excellent, and again, there is a heavy focus on local and fresh ingredients. Every last thing we put in our mouths was incredible.
Six Michelin-starred restaurants
If you are looking for the fancy foodie experience, I wanted to be sure to give that to you, as well! So, here are all the restaurants in Trentino that have been awarded a Michelin Star.
Where to stay in Trentino
There are many agriturismos available in Trentino. Feel free to go ahead and search for the perfect spot for you on Booking.com. The ones I’m recommending below are ones that either we have stayed in or our friends stayed in. Trentino is filled with lovely, warm, charming places to stay with incredible views and/or amenities. You can’t really go wrong!
We couldn’t get over this place. First, dinner was amazing as I mentioned above. But the breakfast was fit for royalty, I swear! When we went downstairs, all the tables were set with cakes, yogurt, waffles, and whole fruits. We also had cranberry juice on the table and I got delicious black tea.
Enough about the food, the room is what you really care about. It is so unique and completely wooden! Furniture was made out of pallets (new ones, not yucky old ones), and when I say “furniture”, I also mean the shower. It was so wild! The room was on the smaller side, so I’m not sure we could stay long term since we like to spread out our thing. But it was gorgeous, comfortable and our room had a massive deck with lounge chairs and regular chairs with a table. It had the most incredible view. I wanted to stay there forever.
Check the availability of the Berry House here.
As I mentioned, the in house restaurant is a place to go on its own, but the hotel part is also incredibly charming. It was so homey! While it was set up like a hotel with a staircase, hallways, and doors, the decor makes it feel so comfortable…like you are supposed to be there. Like, home.
We got a large room with a desk, wardrobe, a medium sized table with chairs and a couch. It was quite roomy and definitely a place we could stay longer term. The room was on a corner so the views on both sides were spectacular. Our only issue was that the shower was tiny. Otherwise, we were happy as clams!
Oh, and the breakfast — what a spread! You could request tea and coffee and some eggs. Everything else was beautifully laid out for you in the cozy breakfast room. Check the rates for when you are ready to stay.
This stunning agriturismo is located on a small farm with views for days. A fun perk about this spot is that they offer various experiences for their guests. We got to try our hand at making rose syrup with her fragrant roses. Throughout the year there are different activities to join in, you just have to ask. There are also a couple scenic walks you can take if you are just looking to relax. Taking a walk was one of the first things we did. I highly suggest it!
The rooms are new and very cozy. Some of the rooms walk right out on the deck with picnic tables and the of the mountains. We would stay there in a heartbeat! Check if the dates you want to go are available.
Agritur La Val
One is tucked away just a bit so it’s very peaceful, but it’s actually not far from Trento. They focus on relaxation, so there’s never a hurry. Enjoy the view. Take a walk. Listen to the birds. The rooms are nice and mostly made from wood for a calming feeling.
Their breakfasts come from the farm or local specialties including fresh apple juice. Coming from such a special apple region, I bet that’s some of the best apple juice there is! Check the availability here.
What to expect when visiting Trentino
The striking mountains with the gorgeous lakes below mean the roads are a bit windy. While you can take trains or the Flixbus to some parts, it’s best to rent a car and drive through — just be sure to keep your eyes on the road! Those views can be pretty enticing 😉
Google Translate is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. Downloading the Italian packet before you go can really help if you get in a tough spot. Practice your “please”, “thank you”,”do you speak english”, and maybe try to memorize numbers 1-10…that always seems to come in handy. English isn’t super widely spoken, but as with many places these days, the younger generation seems to be taking classes.
Be ready for some German influences. This area used to be part of the Austrian-German empire and there are remnants of that culture left over. I find this amazing and love the combination. When there’s a menu with Italian pasta and German apple strudel, I’m basically the happiest I can be!
Nature is king in this part of the world. It’s not about the pretty buildings (though in many towns it easily could be), it’s about the mountains, valleys, and lakes. It’s about what the Earth gives us in terms of food and recreation. Find a way to be part of that, even if it’s simply taking a walk around a lake.
If you are like us, you don’t know much about Trentino, so we highly encourage you to take a trip and spend some time in this (mostly) unknown part of Italy. It will take your breath away and fill your tummy with delicious things.
Wishing you joy and travels!
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