At the beginning of the last century, in the municipality of Gera Lario alone, there were 53 professional fishermen out of a total of 646 inhabitants. This figure shows the importance fish has always had in the diets of all those who live on the lake. Born as an activity of pure sustenance, in recent decades lake fishing has had a resurgence and today it is possible to taste traditional dishes made using locally sourced fish in many small restaurants, and to see the typical triangular trestles on which the “agone” fish (shad) are hung to dry for the preparation of the local specialty, missoltini.
This traditional cuisine is now joined by other innovative specialities coming from modern fish processing techniques.
In terms of the quantity of fish caught and the goodness of its flesh, the king of the lake is without a doubt the lavarello (leveret). Risotto with perch is the most famous typical dish of Lake Como and triumphs because of this prized fish species. The agone is processed to make the typical product par excellence, i.e. the missoltino, a salted and dried fish preserve with a very salty and distinctive taste. Less common, but still popular with food lovers, are also the lucioperca, bottatrice and salmerino alpino. The latter species, which is being caught in increasing numbers, is an excellent indicator of the quality of the lake environment as it only lives in cold, well-oxygenated waters. The presence of trout in the lake, a predator with soft pinkish flesh, also demonstrates the good health of the waters and satisfies even the most demanding palates.
There are so many of these delicacies to choose from, which can be enjoyed in romantic lakeside restaurants, panoramic trattorias, or characteristic “crotti” carved into the rock. Choose your favourite restaurant and wait and see.