Massimiliano Mandozzi is Executive Chef at L'Orangerie restaurant at CastaDiva Resort & Spa in Lake Como. Photo: Alamy
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RISOTTO WITH PERCH

Perch has a very delicate flesh. This dish, which is perfect in summer and winter, is the meeting of local produce (fish) and regional gastronomic tradition (risotto). The result is a rich dish, that you find on many fine-dining menus in the area. Try it at Navedano. See ristorantenavedano.it

POLENTA WITH CHEESE

A dish originally from Northern Italy, it may be served as a hot porridge, or cooled and solidified into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled. Terzo Crotto in Lake Como serves a traditional version with missoltini, mushrooms, gorgonzola blue cheese or taleggio (a cheese from Bergamo). Polenta used to be food for the poor, but now has become a staple for sharing. See terzocrotto.it

MIASCIA CAKE

A rustic dessert from Lake Como, this bread-based cake is great for a breakfast. An old specialty of the region, Miascia is the favourite way for locals to use leftover bread, transforming it into a sweet treat. It is part of the area's farming gastronomic tradition and is also considered a Christmas cake. See beretta1950.com

Miascia cake: A rustic dessert from Lake Como, this bread-based cake is great for a breakfast.
Miascia cake: A rustic dessert from Lake Como, this bread-based cake is great for a breakfast. Photo: Alamy

VALMENAGGIO COW CHEESE

This is typical of the Alpine region and produced in the town of Val Cavarnia, located in the upper Lake toward Switzerland. This cheese is made using traditional methods and changes according to the seasons. Resident farmer Tania sells the cheese at the local market in the village of Erba.

LAKE COMO TROUT

Trout is found in the lake's deeper water. It is very thin and rich in omega 3 – another reason why Lake Como is good for the heart. At The Marketplace they serve it meuniere-style, that is, with a butter sauce. See themarketplace.it

LA NUVOLA

Italy's Christmas cakes are famous, especially pandoro and panettone. At Beretta Bakery, they proudly offer, "La Nuvola" which is a revised version, made right her on the shores of Lake Como and available all year long. It's truly unique and tasty. See beretta1950.com

CASSOEULA

This is a typical winter dish of Lombardy. Pork is the main ingredient but Verzino sausage, and sometimes other meats like chicken and goose are used. These are cooked in a casserole (where the name comes from) with onion, carrot, celery and black pepper for about two and a half hours, after which cabbage is added and cooking continues for a further half-hour. Enjoy it with a strong red wine at Crotto del Misto. See crottodelmisto.com

Chef Massimiliano Mandozzi has won many awards including two individual silver medals at the International Exhibition of Culinary Art in 2004 and 2008; and the individual gold medal at the Expogast -Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup 2010 in Luxemburg. He is now Executive Chef at L'Orangerie restaurant at CastaDiva Resort & Spa in Lake Como.

from traveller.com.au