Food and wine in Veneto

The Veneto, with its sea, lagoons, large plain, lakes, hills and mountains is the most varied of all the Italian regions for its land and environment. This variety obviously creates very different culinary traditions, using a wide range of typical local produce.

Typical Caorle cuisine includes moscardino, a mollusc that is caught in the local sea, boiled and eaten. Another traditional dish is pasta with squid ink, which gives the pasta a very distinctive flavour. The “broeto” or broth, a traditional dish for fishing families, made from a variety of fish, to be eaten alone or served with white polenta.

Excellent are the local geese, ducks and hens, which are boiled, roast or stewed with added aromas, herbs and bacon. Duck in sauce or stuffed with anchovies, soppressa, rosemary and lard is excellent. Also try the guinea-fowl with peverada, a sauce made from abundant pepper, stock, butter, salamis and bread crumbs. Peverada changes from town to town, in Treviso they use hare or rabbit liver, and in Verona they use ox marrow. Another popular local dish is liver Venetian style, stewed with a lot of onion. Risotto is loved by all, such as the noble Vialone Nano Veronese variety of rice and risotto can be made with virtually anything: typical salamis like luganega or pintel, bruscandoli (wild hops), mushrooms, red radicchio, the famous rice and peas, with seafood or eel. The typical pasta shape is bigoli, made with an onion and anchovy sauce or the “rovinazzi”, chicken offal and liver. In Belluno the casunziei are a typical type of ravioli filled with a mixture of red beetroot, served with a sauce of melted butter, smoked ricotta and poppy seeds. Of the soups we should mention the manai made with lard, beans, flour and raisins, liver soup, tripe soup and coada, with broth, stale bread and pigeon. The most typical main fish dishes are sarde in saor fried sardines left to macerate in vinegar, sultans and pine nuts; baccalà mantecato in numerous different ways: Vicenza style with milk, onion, anchovies and flour, Venetian style with garlic then whisked to form a cream. The lagoon crabs are exceptional, the large spider crabs and the small moeche crabs without a carapace which are fished when they are shedding their shells and are extremely valuable.

A typical Veneto dish iscicchetti small appetisers served with a glass of wine. The guiding thread in Veneto gastronomy is polenta: served with small birds, baccalà, meat, mushrooms or sauce. White polenta is normally served with fish, yellow polenta with meat. Two desserts were invented in polenta that have gained international fame: tiramisu made using mascarpone, coffee, marsala and eggs, and Pandora. The small doughnuts with raisins and Venetian fried cream are a must.

Of the typical cheeses we must mention agordino di malga, montasio, formajo embriago (seasoned in wine marc), monte veronese, asiagoand morlacco del Grappa. Of the cut meats Euganean prosciutto, Vicenza goose soppressa, seasoned with fat and herbs. Other excellent products are the Sant’Erasmo artichokes with their typical purple colour, Treviso red radicchio, Castelfranco variegated radicchio and Chioggia onions.

Veneto holds the record in wine production and a noble selection of DOC wines. Soave Superiore and Bianco di Custoza are two of the most important national wines. Recioto di Soave and Torcolate di Breganze are two delicious passito wines. Amarone is internationally known as one of the great Italian reds, and from Verona grapes we have Bardolino Superiore DOCG and Valpolicella. Prosecco from Conegliano-Valdobiaddene is one of the most famous DOC sparkling wines, and Veneto grappa is widely appreciated.

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