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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Italian Region Veneto And Its Food And Wine Culture

The Brenta River in Bassano del Grappa, Veneto...Image via Wikipedia

By: Michele de Capitani

The region Veneto does not need any presentation: thanks to its varied landscapes (the Dolomites first of all, which are now part of the Unesco World Heritage), to its beaches and to the art cities that are well-known all over the world, from Venice to Verona, Veneto is the most visited Italian region, with around 60 million tourist presences every year. The success of the region is also due to the numberless typical products that are part of the culture of this region, food and wines that can tell you a lot about this land and that can flavour a holiday in this wonderful region with peculiar and unforgettable flavours.

The offer of the regional gastronomic products is very rich, and depending on the zone that you visit, there are different dishes and products to taste. Veneto, indeed, has a varied territory, with plains, mountains and sea shores, and throughout history it has been crossroad and land of confluence of many peoples and cultures, which have left their mark in the region also as far as food is concerned. Thus Venetos gastronomic tradition can tell us a lot about the history and the peculiarities of this region, and when you visit this land you really must taste its dishes and wine. As far as the influences of other peoples are concerned, we can notice, for example, that many dishes, especially in the province of Venice, are characterized by many spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, a peculiarity that is not to be found in all the other Italian regional cuisines. And if you visit Veneto you cannot but notice that the cuisine of the coastal areas, which is characterized by fish dishes, is very different from the cuisine of the mountain areas, where you can find many meat dishes and cheeses (asiago and montasio are probably the most famous ones), while in the plains you might taste pigmeat and sheepmeat dishes, as well as many vegetables, like the Treviso red radicchio and the white asparagus of Bassano del Grappa, two of the many Veneto products that are famous also outside the region.

Describing Veneto cuisine in few words, without leaving aside the various wines that are part of the culture of this region, would not be possible, but we can try to list some of the famous Veneto typical dishes that you might taste visiting this land. As far as starters are concerned, the musts are risi e bisi (a rice and pea soup), busara spaghetti (with prawns sauce) or pasta e fasoi (pasta and bean soup), while two of the most typical main courses are codfish Vicenza style and Venetian liver. Dulcis in fundo, the best-known sweets are probably the ones that you can eat at carnival, like frittelle and crostoli, but you can also try the Verona pandoro (at Christmas), the biscuits called zaleti or the ones called baicoli, the fugassa (a flat cake) and the pinsa (a rustic and simple cake made with cornmeal). In general, we can say that the typical dishes of the region Veneto are simple, and most of them come from the peasant traditions, but they are also very tasty and peculiar.

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