Fiera del Riso - Rice Festival 2016 in Isola della Scala

One of the tastiest appointment of the year in Verona!

From 14 September 2016 to 09 October 2016

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At Isola della Scala gourmets from all over Italy have started to lick their lips: from 14 September to 9 October, Verona is proud to present one of the most anticipated food events in Veneto: Fiera del Riso at Isola della Scala! The 2016 program combines taste and tradition in a series of unmissable events!

Now in its 50th edition, the rice festival is committed to promote and sell the famous Vialone Nano Veronese rice grown in the plains of Verona, which was the first in Europe to achieve the prestigious brand of Protected Geographical Indication, known by the IGP symbol, in 1996, from the European Union. As required by the regulations, only twenty municipalities in the province of Verona are able to produce this type of semi-fine rice. Ideal for the preparation of risotto, the Vialone Nano grows in areas irrigated with spring water, in the northern part of the catchment area of the river Tartaro.

Which are the origins of the Festa del Riso at Isola della Scala, Verona? The rice festival, which has now become one of the most popular events in the province of Verona, dates back to 1967, when the City Council decided to create an event designed to maintain 'garzega', a centuries-old custom according to which the owner of the rice paddy offered a hearty meal to his workers to celebrate the end of harvest. This ancient tradition is still alive in many areas of the Po Valley, where the end of the hard work of a whole season is celebrated with fairs and festivals.

Initially, the Isola della Scala Fiera del Riso took place on the Sunday after the first Friday of October and included only a small booth where rice dishes and good wine were offered. With the passing of the years, the incredible success of the Verona Rice Festival has led the organization to increase the duration of the event from a weekend to almost a month!

Now the Sagra del Riso has about 500,000 visitors with more than 150 exhibitors: in order to accommodate such a large number of guests, in 2011 the Palariso was inaugurated, a great open-space dedicated to Giorgio Zanotto - economist and politician who dedicated his life to the development of the area - with an original shape of rice grain.

The total exhibition area of the event is about 30,000 square meters and is composed of Palariso, Palarisitaly and some marquees erected for the occasion.

A key feature of the Rice Festival near Verona is the now famous zero kilometre: the rice used during the entire event is sown, cultivated and sold by family farms located in the surrounding areas, some even a few hundred metres from the exhibition itself!

The protagonist dish of the event, which is also the most served dish at Sagra del Riso in Isola della Scala, is the Risotto all'Isolana, invented in 1967 by Knight Pietro Secchiati. In 1985, it became the official recipe of the festival through a resolution of Vittorino Stanzial, at the time mayor of Isola della Scala.

Each year more than a hundred tasty recipes based on rice are prepared by renowned chefs who will also advise visitors on the right combinations with the best wines from Verona: Risitaly 2015 awaits you with paella, croquettes, sushi, pizzas and oven products made with rice flour and other delights that will satisfy even the most discerning palates.

At the 50th edition of the Rice Fair at Isola della Scala, the program is really rich in events, particularly on the section devoted to competitions:

  • during the VI gastronomic 'Risotto Sommelier' Competition, organized by the Veneto branch of the Italian Sommelier association, the best combinations between risotto and typical Verona wines will be decided because as the old saying goes ... 'Rice comes from the water and dies in wine!?;
  • Risitaly 2016 will also host the tenth edition of the 'Golden Rice' competition of the Pro Loco Veronesi, during which some amateur cooks will compete in the preparation of risotto with vegetables typical of the area, and the XX edition of the 'IGP Golden Rice', reserved to restaurateurs.
  • Isola della Scala also presents the 2nd National Competition Chicco d'Oro. Organised by the Verona Chefs Association, this culinary competition will give 15 professional chefs an opportunity to put their dishes to a jury composed of journalists and judges that are part of the World Association of Chief Societies.
  • XLIX Spiga d'oro: the most ancient competition of the Verona rice Festival, dedicated to the famous Risotto all'Isolana.

In recent years the Fair of Riso Isola della Scala - Verona, has proved very active in social work too: in addition to the usual presence of associations working to raise funds to support social, cultural and recreational causes, the 2016 edition includes many events intended to support various projects for charities and solidarity, such as 'A risotto without barriers for Telethon'.

The Rice Fair has become one of the most important events in Verona not only for the delicious rice dishes served during its course, but also for the variety of events that are proposed: at Risitaly the program ranges from cultural events, such as conventions and exhibitions, to entertaining shows for children and adults. In addition to rice, there will also be the option to purchase gifts from the kitchen and tempting local products.

Among the festivals and fairs in the Veneto region in 2016, you should not miss the fantastic Fiera del Riso Verona! From 14 September to 9 October Isola della Scala awaits for you with excellent risottos and tasting of typical products of the Veneto region. There will also spectacular shows, historical parades, sporting events and educational tours for younger visitors!

Book one of our beautiful hotels in Verona and discover the beauties of this romantic city: Juliet's House, the Verona Arena, the Cathedral, the Scaliger Bridge and Castelvecchio are just a few that you can enjoy in the city during a short holiday planned on the occasion of the Rice Festival!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff