In the north east of Italy, bordering the dolomite mountains and the adriatic sea lies the Veneto region, with the magical waterlocked city of Venice at its helm.
The region not only boasts a rich history, architecture and grandeur, but gastronomically–speaking Veneto has already received its culinary consecration, thanks to a growing number of Michelin–starred restaurants, as well as having a hand in the rise of the gourmet pizza.
To get to know the region even better we take a look inside its larder at 12 typical Veneto food products, from the mainstream to the niche and vegetables and dairy to sweet and savoury.
We'll set your pulses racing and your mouth watering leaving you in little doubt that food will take a central role in any trip to the region.
1. Carciofo Violetto di Sant'Erasmo (Purple Artichoke from Sant'Erasmo)
The island of St. Erasmus (half an hour from the center of Venice) grows a variety of artichokes with violet petals suited to the growing conditions of the damp lagoon gardens. A favourite in Venetian cuisine, the recipes for artichokes are plentiful and range from battered and fried, raw in salads, combined with fish, or modestly dressed to become delicious "cicheti" in taverns.
2. Asiago Stravecchio
Photo: Slow Food Foundation
The traditional farmhouse creamy cheese Asiago is widely known, but how about Asiago Stravecchio? Hailing from the Central Plateau of Asiago, where the cow's milk cheese is still produced, it's extraordinarily complex on the nose and in the mouth with a long and difficult production process that few manufacturers can undertake. The cheese is also protected by the Slow Food Presidium.
3. BACALÀ ALLA VICENTINA
Bacala and Veneto are historically linked. The preparation of the stockfish requires milk, onion and lots of patience.
4. MORLACCO DEL GRAPPA DI MALGA
Photo: World of Taste
Another cow's milk cheese, also produced on the plateau – this time that of Grappa. Morlacco began life as a "poor and thin" cheese (the fat was intended for the production of butter) for shepherds. It is a soft cheese whose intense flavour comes from the use of raw milk from mountain pastures.
5. MAIS BIANCOPERLA (Biancoperla corn)
Photo: Slow Food Foundation
Polenta is synonymous with Veneto, but is the dish par excellence of the region – especially its white variant, which is prepared with biancoperla corn, a very delicate local variety whose flavour goes well with river fish.
In the period in which the crab sheds its old shell and is in the process of growing the new shell during spring and summer the crabs are fished from the Venice lagoon using traditional methods by so-called moecari. They are eaten deep fried and crispy. Here's the moeche recipe.
7. Riso di Grumolo delle Abbadesse (Rice from Grumolo delle Abbadesse)
A 16th century rice originally cultivated by the Benedictine monks that has since been re-cultivated, giving a new economic boost to the town of Grumolo. This rice variety is a cross between black boulevard and the dwarf, perfect for risottos, as well as making the traditional Risi e Bisi.
8. Oca in Onto (Goose in Onto)
Photo: Matthew Mingiardo/Michele Littame
An ancient preservation method for long–term storage of goose meat that is placed in an earthenware or glass container with herbs and spices.
9. Giuggiola dei Colli Euganei
Beautiful to behold, with yellow flowers and a delicate brown fruit, it's also good to eat, tasting similar to dates, and above all has beneficial health properties being high in vitamins.
10. RADICCHIO ROSSO DI TREVISO (Red radicchio from Treviso)
Photo: Brand Treviso
Perhaps the best known of the typical Venetian food products. The vegetable enjoys protected status under the EU and can be traced back to 1500: its red leaves and slightly bitter flavour make it suitable for colouring risottos and salads (even raw), or casseroles with cheese.
Photo: Garbellotto Formaggi
The province of Belluno produces these strips of smoked meat (pork or beef) that are eaten with polenta or as a snack.
Photo: Ivan Borsato
A typical dessert of the region, fregolotta is made with eggs, sugar, butter, almonds, lemon and flour: simple ingredients that are worked together (with the fingertips), giving rise to a cake that must be brought to the table whole and crumbled before the diners.
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