The true flavour of the Veneto
Different lands, different tastes. Remaining faithful to its widespread terrain, the Veneto brings to the table a vast selection of dishes, linked by the common denominator of tradition. Here in fact food equals culture, and each province has its own typical recipes, showing as much pride with them as with its monuments. 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 (at 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 cuisine of Venice and the shores employ pasta and risotto, with seafood and very delicate vegetables grown in the warm climate of the lagoon. Typical fish dishes include sarde in saor, sardines prepared with vinegar and onions, baccalà mantecato, dried salt cod mixed with oil, parsley and garlic, or baccalà gransèola, a type of giant crab.
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, risi e bisi (a risotto with peas), pasta e fasòi (minestrone with pasta and Lamon beans, from the province of Belluno), and Asiago cheese. Not forgetting the desserts such as the galani and fritelle 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 or indeed tiramisù.
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 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.
he most important white wines produced in Verona are Soave, Valpolicella and Bardolino. In the area of Breganze in the province of Vicenza Vespaiolo, Torcolato and Cabernet di Maculan are produced. Among the DOC (the guarantee of quality certification) we may highlight: Bardolino Bianco di Custoza, Breganze Cabernet di Pramaggiore, Merlot di Pramaggiore, Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, Gambellara, Lugana, Montello and Colli Ascolani, Piave, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Durello dei Lessini.