A Jause of Bardolino

Location:Ristorante Agli Oleandri
Address:Piazza Baetteloni, 5, 37011 Bardolino VR, Italy
Status:Open (last checked on 9 April 2023)
Eaten:"Antipasto misto all’Italliana," 3/4 liter of Bardolino

It is, of course, not completely appropriate to compare Italian Antipasto misto with a good old Austrian Brettljause. South Tyrol and its Marenden are a separate story altogether, but the salumi and cheese platters served in the more southern parts of the country nearly always disappoint variety-wise. Besides, the often chaotic atmosphere of tourist-oriented Italian restaurants can be more annoying than the atmosphere of even the most touristic Heuriger in Grinzing.

There are certain things that Italians do right, however. For example, a lack of bread is never a problem. All the restaurants serve different types of bread by default and replenish it free of charge if you happen to run out of it. Second, the quality of the ingredients is usually high. Prosciutto crudo might be an acquired taste (I never fully acquired it myself), but cheeses normally have good taste and salamis are top notch. Last but not least, there is nearly always an option to order half a liter of wine immediately, saving your own and waiter’s time. It is not the best or the strongest wine, of course, but it is better than the average Schankwein.

In the village of Bardolino, they serve red wine with the same name, which is so good that even the initial half a liter was not enough for me. The platter contained salami (very good), prosciutto (not too annoying) and two cheese types. While one, cut into little cubes, was generally flavorless, the second one, provided as thick slices, was tasty and went extremely well with the wine. OK, there were also a couple of balls of mozzarella, but they were so tiny that I would not even count them. Two small bruschettas completed the offering, but like many “decorative” bruscettas they lost the tomato slices the moment I attempted to pick them up.

I would not call this Brettljause exceptionally or even very good, but I have seen much smaller and sloppier ones in Italy. The restaurant is located on the village’s busiest street, so be prepared to see a lot of people passing by. The service could be a bit faster, but after a few glasses of Bardolino one stops noticing all the deficiencies.

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