Following a tour of Schenk Italia, where I filled my quota of consuming 9-months’ aged speck (looks like prosciutto) on bread, larda (all fat) on toast and lots of elegant red wines --- merlot of Sicily/Puglia, red blends of Northern Central grapes – at 11 a.m., lunch at Zur Rose was on the docket.
The drive to Zur Rose, a 14th-century restaurant that looks more like a home, offered a scenic view of what would appear to be Germany, with the stoic structures of Hansel & Gretal era. At one time, it was part of Germany, but has been Italy’s for the past 150 years. The language of locals is German, but the Italians who live here do not even attempt to speak German. After all, this is Italy and only Italian is to be spoken, I am informed.
Zur Rose is rustic, and where my group takes over a small room with 2 long wooden tables. We begin our culinary journey with a delicious 2011 blanc de blanc extra brut Metodo Classico (I won’t even tell you the producer, as you cannot find this in the U.S.). Bubbly is lovely, but lunch is where the location’s flavors come out in full. Lunch begins with more speck, topped over a cucumber salad that is actually very little salad and lots of spec (smoked ham, which has more flavor than prosciutto).
Next, we taste a glass of screwcap 2010 Italian Sudtirol Eisacktaler Veltliner, which is absolutely wonderful with its white peach aroma and crisp acidity. This pairs well with a mushroom salad. Our red wine is next – a 2009 Ablei Muri Sudtirol La grein Riserva, which is really, really tasty and I must try to find this in the U.S.
What is even tastier are the pear balls, made with a melon baller and cooked to warmth.
To digest all that we consumed, we are served Alpler, an herb digestive – with cheese, of course. Smoked Scamorza cheese, which is refrigerated for two days and squeezed and smoked for four hours with wood dust before its ready.
Our cheese dessert sets the stage for our next stop, to Valpolicella at a cheese facility, Ca Verde, where I taste the best ricotta made with cow’s milk, and a rovioa cheese that is soft and creamy. But what really caught me by surprise was the goat’s cheese blueberry yogurt and ricotta in a bowl, which together is an outstanding flavor sensation. It is here where I learn that as long as hard cheeses are aged for 25 days, you can then flavor them any way you like. There are cheeses flavored with Valipolicella wine.
Heading back to Verona, a quick shopping jaunt burns some calories for dinner at a pizzeria – for which I’ve been patiently waiting. Pizzeria Du De Cope is where we order more pizzas than I ever witnessed – and each slice is consumed heartily. My favorite is still the margherita with garlic – and I suppose it always will be.