Culinary Experiences in Mantua Worth Trying

Part of the #inLombardia365 campaign in collaboration with iambassador and Explora Tourism.

There were two culinary experiences in Mantua that particularly stuck out for me and I highly recommend them below. While in Mantua, I ate my way through this tiny UNESCO Heritage town – from the hard crumbly goodness of its local crunchy almond cake, torte sbrisolona (links to a recipe I’m planning to try myself) to pumpkin-filled tortelli with butter and sage (my new Italian food kryptonite).

Talk less of topping pieces of Grana Padano cheese with Mostarda Mantovana (sweet-sour fruit chutney such as pickled apricot), popping them like shots, and letting that salty-sweet crystallized goodness hit the right spot.

Needless to say, I love food and I love simple, down-to-earth unpretentious flavours that work wondrously well together.

Making ravioli at a culinary school

I’ve never been able to successfully make pasta from scratch at home. I try but my homemade results always border on inedible. Heck, I’m equally as bad in a culinary class as well as evident by my attempt at making ravioli in Mantua.

But I absolutely love cooking classes and culinary schools because they represent that extra step and potential when it comes to elevating a dish in a simple way.

I’ve attended an Italian cooking school in Bologna in the past where I got to make tagliatelle with meat Ragu, Tortellini stuffed with ricotta and served with sage butter sauce, and Gnocchi served with fresh tomato basil sauce.

And I shamelessly ate them all at once.

But this time around, I was trying my hands at herb-filled ravioli at Scuola di Cucina Peccati di Gola (or Peccati di Gola, for short). The school runs culinary courses in at least 15 Italian cities including Mantua. Our instructor Elisabetta Arcari was going to show me the proper way to make pasta from scratch once again.

And as anticipated, my own batch came out looking like mini ravioli bites with a tiny hit (or blush) of filling. Way off mark. Anyways, we collectively made batches and batches of oddly shaped ravioli pieces which Elisabetta helped us cook as our main dinner.

But it was while digging into a fantastic antipasti spread of Parma ham, prosciutto, and mortadella with chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) that I truly came to appreciate mostarda which is a sweet-sour pickled fruit chutney which hails from the Lombardy Region of Italy.

The best flavours that go with hard cheese are pear, peach, and apricot mostarda. I’m kicking myself for not bringing back a jar with me from Mantua but I’ll definitely be scouring some of my favourite markets here in Stockholm for similar memories.

More information – Piazza Broletto 6, 46100 Mantova; You can view the cooking class schedule as well as contact Elisabetta here.

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Pumpkin-inspired restaurant Giallo Zucca

Continuing my quest for memorable culinary experiences in Mantua, it was within the walls of this restaurant that I discovered the crippling sweet and nutty goodness of pumpkin-filled tortelli.

Called the “Yellow Pumpkin” in Italian, Ristorante Giallo Zucca is run by affable Maurizio Lazzati who is also a Beatles fan and has a wonderful collection of LPs within the restaurant.

You already feel its laidback bookworm-ish vibe upon entering. There’s a section that feels like its own mini library, a wall-carved archway that holds bottles of regional wines, orange chairs, tablecloths and place settings which thread the pumpkin theme through its interior décor, and other intricate details and wooden mementoes that adorn its walls. You get the sense that the entire restaurant is a reflection of Maurizio’s own personal taste in music, books, and artifacts – including a mesmerizing floating globe.

But back to the food. I started off with a light pumpkin soup followed by my current love, the 16th century dish of pumpkin-filled tortelli which had a sweet yet salty nutty flavor from nutmeg and other spices.

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of pumpkins (I’m not myself), the way it’s used and seasoned to make this sweet filling is absolutely splendid and a local dish you must try while visiting the Lombardy region of Italy.

More informationRistorante Giallo Zucca – Corte dei Sogliari, 4, 46100 – MANTOVA

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For more culinary experiences in Mantua

You can view more photos of Mantua, Italy, in my image bank. Have you heard of Mantua or even been before?  Please share your thoughts below.

Culinary experiences in Mantua


I explored Mantua as part of the #inLombardia365 campaign in collaboration with iambassador and Explora Tourism. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and travel content I share on here are my very own.