At 6 a.m. last Tuesday, I met my classmates so we could travel north on the A14 to the Trentino Alto Adige.
We left the rolling hills of Jesi, traveled along the coast of the northern Marche, and passed through Bologna on the flat plains of Emilia Romagna.
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Shortly after we passed Lago di Garda Sud in the Veneto region, the terrain got higher, the architecture started to look German or Austrian, and it felt like being in the Alps. We were high in the Italian Dolomite Mountains.
Trentino is a diverse region in the northeast, bordering Austria. The region has micro-climates, from a Mediterranean climate capable of producing olives and citrus to alpine extremes.
The region produces an amazing amount of apples, but also apricots, cherries, berries, grapes for eating, olives, chestnuts and figs. Wild herbs and plants are foraged, and mushrooms are abundant. Some areas, such as the Gresta Valley, are dedicated to farming with natural and organic methods.
The Trentino mountains are known for great livestock, used for both meat and for making cheese. Cheeses of Trentino tend to be milder than cheeses in other regions. But the area does produce a wonderful aged cheese called Trentingrana, similar to Grana Padano and Parmesan Reggiano.
As carrots are in season back in Charlotte, I'm sharing a recipe for a local carrot cake. It has much less fat and is a lot less sweet than our carrot cake.
It's easy to make and would be great with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce or even fresh goat cheese.