Food & Wine

Venetoinside.com is pleased to accompany you on a journey through the delectable food & wine world in Veneto, to discover its wine routes and the best culinary areas of this region.

To whet your appetite we assist you in setting the table by giving your some tips for a perfect food and wine holiday in Veneto with tours and tastings off the well-trodden tourist track: undisturbed oases of tranquility able to cater for all your tastes and needs.

A food and wine holiday in Veneto offers the best way to experience the traditions and customs of local life. Thanks to their locations - often situated near to the larger art cities - a food and wine holiday unites all the values of the territory: nature, history and well-being combine in a typical day dedicated to the gastronomy of the Veneto, where the palate is always satisfied yet there is always more to tempt you.

Food & wine in Veneto also means appreciating the unique countryside and natural beauty, discovering age-old traditions of farming life, escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and living by the cycle of the sun rather than your watch. Here, 'food and wine' and 'holiday' signify total relaxation and enjoyment.

Venetian food and wine is also famous for its specialities which have as common denominator the tradition and love for the territory.

It is in this region that, throughout history, civilizations and people from different cultures have met, creating an incredible mix of cultural, social and gastronomical fusions. And the typical food is one of the main features and reason for pride of the region: each of the seven provinces of Veneto boasts its own traditional cuisine, with unique recipes to specific areas.

The single dish which is more or less common to the entire region is polenta: yellow or white, soft or thick, it may be found with fish (along the Adriatic coast), with typical salami and vegetables (in the countryside), cooked in wine (in  Verona), whipped with butter or kneaded as gnocchi (in the mountains), or with white or red grilled meat (in the hill zones). Venetian dishes make use of 'humble' ingredients and are marked by flavours not particularly strong: the Venetian cuisine combines at the same time simplicity and charm, authenticity and magnificence, highlighting above all the pleasure of little things.

The Venetian culinary tradition is based on ancient wisdom combined with the ability to bind the flavors of the 'newness' that from time to time historical events have introduced in the region. Maize, rice, beans, potatoes, salt cod and a host of seasonal vegetables are the main ingredients of Venetian cuisine and many of them arrived in this region due to contacts with neighboring countries, to the international trade of the Republic of Venice, to the influence of the Austrians during the occupation of the region.

The richness of waters (the sea, the lagoons, the lakes, the rivers) also gave the people an ample supply of fish stocks, which has resulted in a huge range of recipes and preparations in the kitchen. And this same water wealth has allowed the development of productivity in the countryside and in the allotments, moderating the climate and giving lush crops.

In Veneto, there is large production of sugar beet, wheat but especially corn, which has long been an essential element for the Venetian diet, especially with its signature dish, the polenta. But let's not forget the great productions of Vialone Nano rice, an acknowledged typical Verona IGP.

From the point of view of the vegetables, Veneto has seven products identified by brand protection: radicchio (the Red one from Verona, the Red one from Chioggia, the varied one from Castelfranco Veneto, the Red from Treviso); asparagus (including the most famous ones from Bassano and Cimadolmo); beans, especially those of Lamon, in Belluno, a key element for the typical pasta and fasioi.

And from foreign influences and the incredible fertility and productivity of the land, the most famous Venetian recipes are born: baccalà mantecato - creamed cod (salt cod fish from the North, made creamy and mild), sarde in saor – sweet and sour sardines (typical Mediterranean sardines preserved in vinegar and onions, one of the oldest recipes from Venice), risi e bisi - rice and peas (perhaps the most typical dish of Venice), fegato alla veneziana – liver Venetian style, the pastissada de caval – horse meat stew (where horse meat is king), poenta e osei – polenta and small countryside birds, gran bollito padovano – great Paduan boiled meats (typical courtyard meats), tiramisù (which seems to have its origins in the city of Treviso), risotto polesano – risotto from Rovigo and many more.

But true flavours of Veneto are also the bacari, traditional osterie of Venice, with their cicchetti - snacks variously of egg, cheese, canapé etc… - and the so-called ombra (shade) of wine; tripe; the red radish of Treviso; Asiago cheese; desserts such as galani and frittelle of the Carnival, the pinza, and other delicacies whose fame has spread from their regional confines, as in the case of the pandoro of Verona.

To speak of the Veneto, however, means also to speak of grappa, the high-alcohol grape distillation of which Bassano del Grappa and Conegliano represent the indisputable champions. The prestigious Veneto wine production deserves separate mention: these wines are among the highest levels in both quantity and quality in the whole of the country... It is not by chance that Italy's largest wine fair is held at Verona every April - the famous Vinitaly.