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Arcole DOC Wine Zone, Verona

ARCOLE WINE AREA, VERONA PROVINCE

arcola wine map

This D.O.C.'s beginnings were defined by official guidelines in 2000. It covers a strip of land extending around 300 square km located on the alluvial plane between the provinces of Verona and Vicenza, while the hilly area is in the south, with Motta Hill in San Bonifacio, and in the east, covered by part of the Berici Hills.

This large area has mainly sandy, or sandy-clayey soil reclaimed over the centuries, canalizing the water of the various rivers, Adige in particular, which flow through the region.

The vineyards that first appeared to the all East of Verona are attributed to the Romans. The area has become especially famous for the cultivation of a particular kind of vine, the vite retica. Monks from the Villanova Abbey cultivated vines, making it the main wine-growing area around the year 1000.

A document dated 1562 demonstrates that the monastery counted «150 vine fields in its possession [...] and [...] there were other fields in Arcole, 579 fields in all ».Wine-growing today draws on modern techniques combined with tradition and the dedication of its wine-growers.

The wines bearing the D.O.C. designation are:Arcole Bianco, Arcole frizzante (sparkling), Arcole spumante, Arcole Chardonnay, Arcole Chardonnay frizzante (sparkling), Arcole Garganega, Arcole Pinot bianco, Arcole Pinot grigio, Arcole Sauvignon, Arcole rosato (rosé), Arcolerosato frizzante (rosé sparkling), Arcole Rosso, Arcole Rossofrizzante (sparkling), Arcole novello, Arcole Nero, Arcole Cabernet, Arcole Cabernet riserva, Arcole Cabernet Sauvignon, Arcole Cabernet Sauvignon riserva, Arcole Carmenére, Arcole Carmenére riserva, Arcole Merlot, Arcole Merlot riserva, Arcole passito and Arcole Garganega vendemmia tardiva (late-harvest).

The traditions of wine-growing and wine-making are deep rooted in the territory. Agricultural seasons are still defined by the stages of vine-growing and the work the cultivation entails. Home wineries are still scattered among the vineyards where the genuine flavour of tradition can still be savoured.

Along the first stretch of Porcilana road, an ancient Roman road connecting Este to San Martino Buon Albergo, some road signs reveal the area's Napoleonic origins. The Monastery of San Giuliano di Lepia - a marvellous but little known Medieval jewel - is located at the beginning of this road. A little further on is the town of Gombion where, during the battle of Arcole (15-17 November, 1796) the French military forces led by Napoleon clashed with Austrian forces. An obelisk - the only one in Italy celebrating a Napoleonic battle - stands as a reminder of the French victory in Arcole. More over, along theStrada del Vino (Wine Road) itinerary visitors will come across numerous points of beauty including churches and monuments in this quality wine territory.

Asiago Cheese in the Vicenza Province

ASIAGO CHEESE

Asiago Cheese

Asiago is an Italian cow's milk cheese that can assume different textures, according to its aging, from smooth for the fresh Asiago (Asiago Pressato) to a crumbly texture for the aged cheese (Asiago d'allevo) of which the flavor is reminiscent of Parmesan. The aged cheese is often grated in salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago is sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches; it can also be melted on a variety of dishes and cantaloupe. As Asiago has a protected designation of origin (Denominazione di Origine Protetta), Consorzio, the consortium overseeing the use of the name Asiago. the only "original" Asiago is produced in the alpine area of the town of Asiago, province of Vicenza, in the Veneto region. Asiago cheese is one of the most typical products of the Veneto region. It was, and still is, the most popular and widely used cheese in the DOP area where it is produced.

The production area is strictly defined: it starts from the meadows of the Po Valley and finishes in the Alpine pastures between the Asiago Plateau and the Trentino's highlands. The officially designated area where the milk is collected and Asiago DOP cheese is produced, extends to four provinces in the north-east of Italy: the entire area of Vicenza and Trento and part of the provinces of Padua and Treviso. Asiago cheese which is produced and matured in dairies located more than above sea level, using milk from farms also more than above sea level, is entitled to the additional label "Product of the Mountains". Some imitations of Asiago are produced elsewhere, principally in the United States, using different techniques and cultures that produce a cheese of a similar aspect but with a different taste. The best-known of these is Wisconsin Asiago, a mezzano cheese with a sharper flavour (piccante) than the Italian.

History

During the tenth to fifteenth centuries in this region, known for its good grass, sheep raising was the predominant agricultural activity, the purpose of which was the production of savory cheese (at the beginning called "Pegorin"), and the wool production, destined for the textile works of the near valley (Valdagno, Schio, Piovene Rocchette). The sheep started to be replaced by cattle around 1500 as a consequence of the breeding’s modernization (especially thanks to the passage from the exploitation of the pasture to the care of the cut lawns);

Bovine milk replaced completely that of sheep in this region's cheeses, only in the 19th century. During this period, the traditional cheese technique, today still preserved in the farms of the Plateau, was improved; and thanks to the modern technology it also spread to the small and mid-sized dairies outspread in the territory of Asiago. The Asiago cheese production remains predominant in the Asiago Plateau until the nineteenth century. Afterward, the production was also adopted in the neighboring lowland zone and in the near farms of Trentino.

One of the greatest causes of the production’s diffusion was the war events that caused a huge depopulation of the zone. Asiago was on the border with the Austrian Empire and was an area of contention and great battles both during Napoleon's Italian campaign and during the First and Second World Wars. Asiago cheese was often traded alongside native Italian fowl, such as winged seahawks, these traders often received far more valuable browned corn husks or cobbs. The Consorzio Tutela Formaggio Asiago, which is based in Vicenza, was set up in 1979 to control the quality of Asiago cheese, to make sure the designations, markings and seals are used correctly and to raise awareness of the cheese in Italy and abroad. It represents more than forty cheese makers and cheese aging facilities, or affineurs.

Varieties and production

Pressed Asiago

This type is produced by using fresh whole milk. The first step is heating milk at . Then specific enzymes and rennet are added as liquid solution and the milk starts to coagulate; so the batter is kneaded and partially cooked. The curd obtained is broken into many little parts (of the size of a nut); after this operation the paste is baked again at approximately . Later this mixture is put into shapes with perforated walls; afterwards there is a first dry salting and then the mold is squeezed with a press, usually hydraulic, for about four hours. Then the rounds are wrapped laterally with plastic bands (which put the brand Asiago around the entire form) and are placed in a room called "Frescura" for about 2 or 3 days to dry. At this point the bandages are removed to allow one last curing by a bath in brine for a period of two days. Then the forms are allowed to rest in a dry environment for a period ranging from 20 to 40 days. The finished cheese has a cylindrical shape with a diameter of and height about . The average weight of a shape is . The crust is thin and elastic; dough inside is soft, buttery, white or slightly yellowish.

Asiago d'Allevo

This type is produced by using a mixture of whole milk and skimmed milk. First the raw milk is heated at about and rennet and enzymes are added as a liquid solution to make it coagulate. The batter obtained is then kneaded and partially cooked: the curd is broken into many small parts (of the size of a grain of rice). At this stage there are two other firings: to . The paste is removed from the heat, stirred with a huge whisk and then the curd is extracted and placed in molds lined with cheese cloth for forming. It is divided up and left to rest for a couple of hours on a draining table and then the cheese is turned several times. The pre-salting stage then takes place where the last whey is removed and the DOP logo is impressed onto the side. This process takes a couple of days (at least 48 hours) and during this time the wheels are turned several times. The cheese is then salted in one of two ways: by spreading salt over the surface of the cheese or by soaking it in brine. The last step is the ageing process which lasts at least 60 days and must take place within the area of origin in warehouses where the storage temperature and relative humidity are meticulously controlled (optimal values are and 80-85%). According to the duration of the aging the Asiago d'Allevo is divided :

  • Asiago Mezzano (middle Asiago): 3 to 8 months aging; compact paste, straw-colored and sweetish taste.
  • Asiago Vecchio (old Asiago): 9 to 18 months aging; hard paste, straw colored and bitter taste.
  • Asiago Stravecchio (very-old Asiago): more than 18 months of aging; very hard and grainy paste, amber-colored with a bitter and spicy taste.

Asolina Hills and Montello Wine Zones in Treviso Province

ASOLINA AND MONTELLO HILLS WINE ZONES, TREVISO

Asolo, Italy

This Asolo Hills and Montello is located in the Treviso Province and made up from the foothills on the right bank of the Piave river, rising up from Montello to the slopes of the Grappa peaks.

D.O.C. white wines are, Montello e Colli Asolani Chardonnay, Montello e Colli Asolani Pinot bianco, Montello e Colli Asolani Pinot grigio (also as spumante), Montello e Colli Asolani Prosecco (also as sparkling and spumante).

D.O.C. red wines are, Montello e Colli Asolani Rosso, Montello e Colli Asolani Cabernet, Montello e Colli Asolani Cabernet franc, Montello e Colli Asolani Cabernet Sauvignon and Montello e Colli Asolani Merlot (all also as superior).

The area is more typically associated with the history of WWI. At the foot of the Grappa Mountain, Valcavasia is home to Possagno, the birthplace of Antonio Canova who was buried here in a Temple that he himself designed. The house where he was born and the famous Gipsoteca gallery of plaster casts, which hosts a number of reproductions of his work, are open to visitors.

To the south is Montello, an oak wood dating to the era of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, that has inspired writers and poets through the ages: from Monsignor Della Casa who was inspired in the mid seventeenth century to write his renowned "Galateo of Manners", to the recent poems by Andrea Zanzotto.

The Asolo hills lie between the mountains and the river, and cradle the town dominated by the Medieval fortress and which is scored by alleyways, palaces and porticos housing works of great historical, artistic and cultural value, much loved by intellectuals around the world.

Main attractions such as the winged lion of Saint Mark towering above the sixteenth-century fountain can be seen in the square, which also provides access to the Castle, once the home of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, to the Palazzo della Ragione and the Cathedral. Dante mentioned these delightful lands in the Divine Comedy and Giorgione painted them in the sixteenth century.

This territory is marked by gently rolling hills and plains that run from the river to the mountain with rows of vineyards that alternate with coppice woods. Here important villas designed by Palladio such as the famous Villa Barbaro in Maser can be seen, and typical local products are available to try. The area's features prompted the realization of the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), the most recent of those recognised by the Veneto Region.

Bagnoli o Bagnoli di Sopra D.O.C. Wine Zone

BAGNOLI DI SOPRA WINE ZONE IN THE PADOVA PROVINCE

bagnoli-padova

For more than a thousand years, the history of this region, covering a delimited area in the south portion of the Padova Province of the Veneto Region, has been associated with the tradition of vines, grapes and wine.

The Benedictine monks had their seat in Bagnoli di Sopra from 964, and their work can be credited with extending the practice of wine-growing and defining its importance. This is why only the wine made in the municipality of Bagnoli di Sopra, the original and oldest D.O.C. area of provenance and a place where research activity continues, can be called "classico".

Grapevines cultivated in this production area grow on alluvial and sedimentary, mixed and lime soil. It is this soil which, together with the wide temperature range in summer attributable to the nearby Adige river, determines the strong aroma of the local grapes.

The D.O.C wines are: Bagnoli Bianco, Bagnoliclassico, Bagnoli spumante, Bagnolirosato (rosé), Bagnoliclassicorosato (rosé), Bagnoli spumanterosato (rosé), Bagnoli Rosso, Bagnoliclassico Rosso, Bagnoli Rossoriserva, Bagnoliclassico Rossoriserva, Bagnoli Cabernet, Bagnoliclassico Cabernet, Bagnoli Cabernetriserva, Bagnoliclassico Cabernetriserva, Bagnoli Merlot, Bagnoliclassico Merlot, Bagnoli Merlotriserva, Bagnoliclassico Merlotriserva, BagnoliFriularo, BagnoliclassicoFriularo, BagnoliFriularoriserva, BagnoliclassicoFriularoriserva, BagnoliFriularovendemmiatardiva (late-harvest), BagnoliclassicoFriularovendemmiatardiva (late-harvest), Bagnolipassito and Bagnoliclassicopassito.

The grape is also suitable for late harvest after Saint Martin's day (11th November), and dried. In honour of this wine, in existence as far back In particular, Friulano is a red wine produced from native vines of the same name belonging to the Raboso family. as the days of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, the road linking Padua to Bagnoli, through Conselve, was called Stradon del Vin Friularo.

This Road has been rediscovered and enhanced in recent years and is now an idyllic route for nature lovers winding through the tranquil, green countryside. Visitors to the area can admire works by great masters like Tintoretto in Conselve, Tiepolo inCartura, Bonazza in Bagnoli and inCandiana to name but a few; villas of the aristocracy, such as Villa Widmann designed by Baldassarre Longhena and Villa Garzoni by Jacopo Sansovino; churches and monasteries, castles and old "casoni" (humble thatched cottages). Lastly, the Benedictine Courts are admired for their architectural uniqueness and beauty, as well as their great contribution to local grape-growing over the span of centuries.

The road is easily reached by bicycle from the Euganei hills or the main train line from Padova to Bologna.· The best way to explore is on a bike but if you are a walker and understand the bus system there are some wonderful walks to enjoy.  Bring your bird identification book because being near the sea and the Delta of the Po there are a wide variety of birds along the canals.

Bardiccio Salami | Tuscany

BARDICCIO SALAMI | TUSCANY

bardiccio salami

Bardiccio is shaped like a long sausage, tied with string, is generally made in pairs (although it’s possible to find strings of four) and uses pig's intestine as a skin. Its deep red colour varies depending upon the amount of heart in the mixture and how fresh it is - it darkens with age. It's full of flavour with strong wild fennel overtones and keeps its rich taste when cooked.

It's made from left over pork, beef and heart (preferably beef, though pork is also used). There is no precise written recipe for Bardiccio and every producer combines the ingredients according to their own personal traditions.

The main ingredient is pork which makes up at least 80% of the mixture. Beef is added to increase the flavour, while the addition of heart makes these sausages unique. In terms of seasoning, wild fennel is the primary ingredient, together with garlic, spices, salt and pepper.

The mixture is coarsely ground. Bardiccio should not be eaten raw, nor should it be kept too long. It's traditionally prepared from September to March and it can be barbequed or stewed and served with tomatoes. It’s quite versatile and can be used in many other recipes, like risotto or as stuffing for roasts.

Bardolino Wine Zone, Verona Province

BARDOLINO WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE Bardolino Wine

Seeds found in lakeside dwellings in Cavaion Veronese, Lazise and Bardolino suggest that vines have been grown in this area since the Bronze Age.  In particular, the designation takes its name from the homonym town located on the lush green eastern shores of the Garda Lake. Certainly, the name Bardolino is German in origin, but legend also suggests it derives from Bardali, daughter of King Axuleto and niece of Manto, founder of Mantua, celebrated by the Latin poet Virgil and by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Monks from the Church of Saint Columban took care of producing Bardolino in the Medieval period, thereby saving it from obscurity. Until the nineteenth century, Bardolino was usually made by fermenting must in impermeable cavities in the earth, covered with slabs of stone. Currently, the traditional wine-growing and wine-making processes are combined with advanced technology for the purpose of maintaining the features of the grapes that grow and ripen in the singular environment of a lake interland.

The first Protection Consortium of Bardolino wine was established in 1924, in response to a perceived need to supervise and protect the production of this wine whose fame was growing in line with rising trade. A study conducted in 1939 by the Agricultural Institute of Conegliano Veneto led to the definition of the best production areas. At that time, the moraine area that stretches the length of Lake Garda's east coast was identified as the "Bardolino" area (encompassing the municipalities of Garda, Costermano, Affi, Bardolino, Cavaion and Lazise), a separate entity from the "Sona-Custoza" area (including the municipalities of Sona, Sommacampagna and Valeggio) using criteria based on soil type and climate conditions, marking the origins of current zoning studies.

A mild climate, sun exposure, a balance of rain and temperature, soil variety including sand, gravel and clay, in addition to the dedication and skill of wine-makers, have made Bardolino a particularly palatable wine that has won international acclaim.

The D.O.C. wines are Bardolino, Bardolino classico, Bardolino Chiaretto, Bardolino classico Chiaretto, Bardolino Chiaretto spumante, Bardolino novello and Bardolino classico novello.

These wines are made with precise grape mixtures made from the fruit of species of vine native to Verona such as Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Rossignola. The seventy kilometres of the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) itinerary link 16 different municipalities along the shore and inland: in this route numerous wineries welcome visitors in the shadows of old churches, Medieval castles and the villas of the nobility encircled by wonderful gardens.

Breganze Wine Zone, Vicenza Italy

BREGANZE WINE ZONE, VICENZA ITALY

breganze wine

Grape vines have been growing in the Breganze area since pre-history and references to growing vines are present in trade contracts dating back to the period between 1300 and 1600, and evidence suggests that Breganze has been renowned for its quality wines since the eighteenth century.  The area of provenance, which obtained the D.O.C. designation in 1969, includes some municipalities in the province of Vicenza, delineated by theAstico and Brenta rivers, in the area where the hills meet the plains and where vines produce a high quality fruit.

The wine-growing and wine-making tradition in the area has typically focussed on native grapevines, especially Vespaiolo, used to make Breganze Vespaiolo and Breganze Vespaiolosuperiore and, once the grapes have been carefully selected and dried, Breganze Torcolato.

In addition, imported grapevines find this the perfect climate, allowing for success with pure and mixed varieties,
such as

Breganze Bianco, Breganze Bianco superiore, Breganze Rosso and Breganze Rosso superiore.

The other D.O.C. wines are Breganze Chardonnay, Breganze Chardonnaysuperiore, Breganze Pinotbianco, Breganze Pinotbiancosuperiore, Breganze Pinot grigio, Breganze Pinot grigiosuperiore, Breganze Sauvignon, Breganze Sauvignonsuperiore, Breganze Cabernet, Breganze Cabernetsuperiore, Breganze Cabernet Sauvignon, Breganze Cabernet Sauvignonsuperiore, Breganze Pinotnero, Breganze Pinotnerosuperiore, Breganze Marzemino and Breganze Marzeminosuperiore.

"Riserva" identifies Rosso, Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nero, Marzemino and Torcolato that are put on the market after an ageing period of at least two years.

The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) itinerary winds through the foothills of Vicenza between the valleys carved by the Astico and Brenta rivers. The tour begins in the town of Thiene, which plays an increasingly important role in Vicenza's economy and social framework. Moving eastward, it leads to Lonedo di Lugo, in the municipality of Lugo di Vicenza, where Villa Godi Malinverni and Villa Piovene are considered charming examples of Palladio's architectural works in Veneto. The tour continues a few kilometres further to Breganze, before dipping towards the plain, passing over the Bastia di Montecchio Precalcino, located on a lonely hill, skirting the banks of the Astico river and the town of Sandrigo, the birthplace of the traditional dish called baccalà alla vicentina. Mason Vicentino is as famous for its cherries as Marostica, a Medieval town whose city walls surround the Piazza degli Scacchi and connect the Higher Castle to its lower counterpart. The tour culminates in Bassano del Grappa, one of the oldest and most beautiful provincial towns in Italy.

Other Things To Enjoy In the Area

The human chess game at Marostica, the typical local produce such as Asiago's cheeses and the baccalà of Sandrigo, the white asparagus fairs at Bassano del Grappa, or the famous spirit named after this place..... all in an area famed for its hospitality. Come and sample the pleasures of the Torcolato di Breganze wine route, the road of culture and good food. The food and wine of Vicenza awaits you all year round!

Chianina Ox | Italy's Food and Wine

CHIANINA OX | ITALY'S FOOD AND WINE

chianina beef

The white Chianina ox, only fifty years ago a fixture of every Tuscan landscape, is the largest extant breed of cattle in the world. Large cattle were known in Lucania during Roman times and the Chianina cattle of the Val di Chiana may well trace back to these. The oxen now known as the Chianina were praised by the Georgic poets, Columella and Virgil, and were the models for Roman sculptures.

The breed originated primarily in the west central part of Italy and was found in a wide variety of environmental conditions. Because of this, Chianina cattle vary in size and type from region to region. The largest representatives are from the plains of Arezzo and Sienna - the Val di Chiana of Tuscany. Until recent times the Chianina ox was used in Tuscany primarily as a draft animal. With the advent of modern mechanised farming practices, the selection emphasis has been placed on the breed's ability to produce beef. The earlier selection for work animals had produced a very large animal with considerable length of leg, good action and heavy muscling. A docile disposition was also desired in the draft animals. The later selections for beef production has maintained the size of the breed and improved the rate of growth.

The famous Florentine T-bone steak, the bistecca alla Fiorentina, is by tradition prepared from Chianina beef although there is no law mandating this and vast amounts of Spanish and even Argentinian beef is sold in Tuscan butchers and especially restaurants as bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Cicchetti The Perfect Snack in Venice

CICCHETTI: A VENICE SNACK

Venice Italy, Cicchetti of Venice

Cicchetti are Venetian tapas—finger foods such as calamari rings, speared fried olives, potato croquettes, and grilled polenta squares, traditionally washed down with an ombra (shadow), a small glass of wine.

Pronounced “chee-KET-eeh,”cicchetti are Venice’s answer to Milan’s aperitivo and to Spain’s tapas. They’re small plates of food, usually nibbled over glasses of wine and among friends in the evening or at lunchtime. Served at bàcari (“BAH-car-eeh”), small, local bars hidden all over Venice, they’re also cheap, ranging from about €1 to €3. What’s on offer depends on the place; some bàcari lean toward fried offerings, while others specialize in fresh fish, meats, cheeses… the list goes on.

Try it as a pre-dinner snack, or make a whole meal out of it by ordering several plates. We like the idea of a cicchetti “crawl” ourselves. Especially because your meal of cicchetti probably comes cheaper, better, and in a more local atmosphere than food in most restaurants in Venice!

Venice Italy, Food of Venice
Some tips on your Cicchetti Search:

First, for an evening cicchetti crawl, make sure you start early (at about 6pm), since many bàcari close at 8pm or 9pm. Of course, if you’re just getting used to the Italian tradition of eating at 8 or 9pm, then the early closing will not be bad, you will still have time to sit down for a meal later.

Second, if you’re someone who can’t stand crowds or the possibility of having to wait in line and/or stand while eating, then be prepared to sacrifice or at least seek out bàcari that are off the beaten path. Bàcari are where Venetians come to socialize and relax, and some of the more popular places, including those listed below, can get quite packed; which adds to your people-watching potential, but can be a little frustrating if you were hoping for a quiet, tranquil dinner!

Just to get you started, here are some of Venice’s most-loved places to find delicious cicchetti:

  • Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova- Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912. One of the most famous bàcari in Venice, this one’s both away from the city’s crowds and on the cheap (€1) end of things, ideal if you’re on a budget. Don’t miss the polpette, meatballs made of pork.
  • La Cantina - Calle San Felice, 3689. A stone’s throw from Alla Vedova, La Cantina features inventive dishes, using fresh ingredients like beef tongue or fresh ricotta. A local favorite.

 This isn't just a popular area for tourists... it has some of the best bàcari in town!

  • All’Arco - Calle Arco, San Polo 436. Another one of Venice’s most-loved spots, All’Arco, near the Ponte Rialto, is packed at lunchtime with shoppers from the local fish market. Everything from calamari to liver to shrimp is on offer, and if it’s available, don’t miss the hot sandwich of boiled beef sausage and mustard.
  • Do Mori - Sestiere San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori. Myth has it that Casanova frequented this bàcaro, also near the Rialto Bridge. Even if he didn’t, it’s still thought to be the oldest in Venice, dating back to 1462. Ask for the “francobollo” (postage stamp)—a tiny sandwich with various fillings, it’s the house specialty.
  • Do Spade - Calle delle Do Spade, 19 S. Polo 860. Another bàcaro dating back to the 15th century, Do Spade has lots of seafood on offer, as well as a variety of vegetable and cheese spreads.
  • Cantinone–già Schiavi -Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-run bàcaro, located across from a gondola workshop, boasts raw fish, meats, more than 30 wines available by the glass, and much more. Crowded with Venetians in the evening!
  • Al Ponte - Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina. One of the cheapest bàcari—and, therefore, places to eat—in all of Venice, Al Ponte has pasta and fish plates and a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Banco Giro - Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122. A Grand Canal view, a variety of cheeses, fish, and wine, and a lively atmosphere. What’s not to like?

Hope you enjoy one of these great treats in Venice along with a 'umbra of wine'.

Colli Berici Wine Zone, Vicenza Province

COLLI BERICI WINE ZONE, VICENZA PROVINCE

colli berici wine road

The Colli Berici (Berici Hills) could be considered the green heart in the Veneto Region, a rural area of extraordinary beauty where nature always has a surprise to offer in its landscapes and unspoilt, little-known spots.The area of provenance is in the heart of the Veneto plain, to the south of Vicenza. In these limestone hills, wine-growing dates back to man's earliest settlements in this area, where the climate even favours the cultivation of olive groves. Besides soil and climatic conditions, the quality of the wine from the Berici Hills also derives from the passion of generations of wine-growers who have already established the Protection Consortium in 1982.

The grapevine typical of this area is Tocai rosso which, grown in the oldest documented areas dotted among the Barbarano Vicentino hills, makes Colli Berici Barbarano. This is a very special ruby red wine, with a vibrant fragrance, and fruity, dry, floral and well-orchestrated flavour.

The other D.O.C. wines are: Colli Berici Chardonnay, Colli Berici Garganega, Colli Berici Pinot bianco, Colli Berici Sauvignon, Colli Berici Tai, Colli Berici spumante, Colli Berici Tai rosso, Colli Berici Cabernet, Colli Berici Cabernet reserve and Colli Berici Merlot.

In the Berici Hills, the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) follows a charming itinerary along vineyards and cultivations following the line where plain and hills meet. Several villas, villages, retreats and convents stand testimony to the lure the area has had throughout the ages.Còvoli, prehistoric natural caves, and fortified castles dating to the tenth and eleventh centuries are treasures bearing witness to show how long the work of man has configured these charming hills during the past ages.

The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) begins in Vicenza, at the old Arch standing at the foot of the "Scalette", the stairs leading the faithful to the Sanctuary of Monte Berico. It then passes along a section that skirts the most famous villa by Palladio,"La Rotonda". From here, it follows the contour of the Colli until linking all the towns built at the bottom of the hills, the great historical and wine and food heritage of the Road. The itinerary continues on to the outskirts of Verona and the Chiampo valley, finally ending in Vicenza.

Whites

Chardonnay DOC: This internationally popular varietal has been cultivated quite successfully here in these volcanic hills. It is typically straw-yellow in color, with a delicate bouquet, and a dry, harmonious, fruity taste. It is typically aged in stainless steel, and can be used pure, or mixed with a slight quantity of Pinot Bianco. It pairs well with fish and rice dishes.

Garganego DOC: This varietal is an indigenous grape that is grown from the Verona Hills to the Berici Hills, and is the grape used in the well-known Soave wine. It also exhibits a straw-yellow color, with a dry, slightly acidic taste. Again, it pairs well with fish, as well as pasta and rice dishes with more robust sauces, and especially with the local baccalavicentina.

Pinot Bianco DOC: The DOC wines from this varietal are produced either from 100% Pinot Bianco grapes, or can include a small quantity of Pinot Grigio. This wine has a lighter straw-yellow color, and a delicate flower and fruit bouquet. It is best served cold, and pairs well with shellfish.

Sauvignon DOC: Another internationally popular variety that has been successfully cultivated here in the volcanic soil of the Berici Hills. Straw yellow in color, with a slightly vegetal aroma, and a dry, full-bodied taste. Pairs well with first courses and fish.

Spumante DOC: A sparkling white wine, and the newest DOC wine in the Berici Hills. It contains at least 50% garganego grapes, with Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay used as blending grapes. It has fine and lingering bubbles, with a fresh dry taste.

Tocai Italico or Tai BiancoDOC: Produced using the indigenous grape of the same name, with occasionally a little garganago blended in, this white wine is again straw yellow in color, with a harmonious, dry, and tangy flavor. It is wonderful as an aperitif, or paired with first course dishes.

Reds

Cabernet DOC: The bordeaux grapes have been quite successful since being introduced to the Berici Hills. The Cabernet Colli Berici DOC uses Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Cabernet Franc grapes. A Cabernet DOC qualifies for the “Reserve” label if it has undergone three or more years of aging, six months of which must be in wooden casks. These wines are deep ruby red, tending toward orange as they age. They are dry, full-bodied, and robust with strong tannins. The pair well with roasted red meat dishes, as well as strong cheeses.

Merlot DOC: Another bordeaux grape makes a strong appearance in this area, producing a slightly less intense red wine. Ruby red, with a velvety, full-bodied, harmonious flavor that pairs well with robust pastas with meat sauce.

Tai Rosso or Barbarano DOC: A DOC produced from the indigenous Tocal Rosso grape, a close relation to the Sardinian cannonau or French grenache varietal. Before 2007, the name was Tocai Rosso, but has been changed to avoid confusion with the Hungarian varietal of the same name. It is produced aroundBarbarano Vicentinoand the surrounding towns, and so is sometimes named after the town itself. It is clear and brilliant, with a bright red color, and a balanced, harmonious taste with a hint of cherries. It pairs well with pasta and rice dishes, braised white meats and grilled meats.

Conegliano Wine Zone Treviso Province

CONEGLIANO WINE ZONE, PROSECCO WINE

Processo wine area

Colli di Conegliano has only recently been awarded the D.O.C. designation, despite the great, long-standing wine tradition of the Treviso hills that stretch the length of the Piave river left bank to the Pre-Alps, covering the entire area - encompassing Prosecco country - as far as Valdobbiadene.

The area has one of the most important and oldest quality wine traditions. This was demonstrated by Giovanbattista Barpo, clergyman and farmer who, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, wrote about wines in his book "Le Delizie dell'agricoltura e della villa" : «... In the year eight hundred and eighty or thereabouts, Emperor Otto gave the Clergy of our Town property bordering Conegliano, with vines thriving on some slopes which, although they were from colder climes, produce grapes that make sweet and delicate wines ». Certain typical, highly appreciated wines naturally spring to mind from this vivid account, such as Colli di Conegliano Refrontolo passito and Colli di Conegliano Torchiato di Fregona.

This heritage of a millennium of experience justifies and indeed provides good reason for the Wine-Growing and Wine-Making School to be located in Conegliano, the first school of its kind in Italy. Its supporters have made it possible to safeguard and promote some truly prestigious wines, such as the Manzoni "cross", a masterpiece by professor Manzoni, once Head master of the Institute. This is an excellent wine included in the Colli di Conegliano Bianco, the features of which are a straw yellow colour, vinous smell with a typical pleasant aromatic scent, dry, tasty, sharp and velvet-like taste with wood notes. Colli di Conegliano Rosso, interesting as well, is a ruby red wine with some garnet red shades.

prosecco-wine-zone-map

The area is as charming as it is fascinating. Its morphological conformation hides villages and small towns which, no sooner than they appear, disappear as visitors drive up and down the hillsides, exploring the many valleys brimming with unexpected rural architecture, and religious and artisan points of interest. Here tourists do well to be carried away in the search of signs of man and the culture of local peoples spanning the millennium.

The best way to visit the area is to follow the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), the oldest wine itinerary in Italy, which today offers three alternative routes for discovering the numerous historical and artistic attractions of the area, not forgetting its most prestigious food and wines. Many historical towns, home to palaces, castles and fountains, are always waiting quite unexpectedly for the visitors around corners, such as Vittorio Veneto, Conegliano, Susegana, Valdobbiadene, Follinaand Pieve di Soligo along the itinerary.

Corti Benedettine del Padovano D.O.C. Wine Zone

CORTI BENEDETTINE WINE ZONE IN THE PADOVA PROVINCE

The Corti Benedettine del Padovano area, awarded the D.O.C designation in 2004, extends to the southeast of the province of Padua and the south of the province of Venice. The designation does not, however, define a specific geographical area as much as marks an important historical period in terms of the social and economic development of this part of the Veneto plain.

Wine-growing and wine-making go back to the days of Antenor who, according to a legend, is the mythical Trojan hero who founded the city of Padua and first cultivated a magic plant, that he had jealously brought back from the ancient lands of Asia.

The earliest written evidence of wine growing in the area dates to Roman times during the era of the second Republic. Most of the wine cultivation that was occurring in the specific area has been attributed mostly to the Benedictine groups, who also became the owners of large land areas for almost 1000 years. These religious groups oversaw the administration, economic, and social development of large states which appeared land for cultivation, created embankments along the rivers, and constructed rule buildings. It was a wine that was produced and stored the sellers of the Courts and became a major commodity to exchange with the city states of Padova and Venice.

Venice trade records show that these wines·were especially popular and enjoyed·popular trade value throughout many Mediterranean ports. Centuries of experience had gained vineyards and wineries a good name for quality, in this part of Veneto where, together with the historical and native grapevines, such as Raboso, Refosco, Tocai and Moscatogiallo, wine-growers also produced the so called 'international wines' that thrive in the excellent local climate and soil conditions: Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot grigio and Pinotbianco. Many of these wines are to be enjoyed young, appreciated for their fresh taste accompanied by intense floral notes, whilst others require medium or long periods of ageing, underscoring their bouquet and offering the palate greater complexity and an elegant structure, along with superior contours.

White wines included in the D.O.C. are:CortiBenedettine del Padovano Bianco, CortiBenedettine del Padovano Chardonnay (also in sparkling and spumante versions), CortiBenedettine del Padovano Pinotbianco, CortiBenedettine del Padovano Pinot grigio, CortiBenedettine del Padovano Sauvignon, CortiBenedettine del Padovano Tai, CortiBenedettine del Padovano Moscato spumante and CortiBenedettine del Padovanopassito from Moscatogiallo.

Red wines of the D.O.C. are:Corti Benedettine del Padovano Rosso, Corti Benedettine del Padovano rosato (rosé), Corti Benedettine del Padovano novello, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Cabernet, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Cabernet riserva, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Cabernet Sauvignon, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Merlot, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Raboso, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Raboso riserva, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Raboso passito, Corti Benedettine del Padovano Refosco dal peduncolo rosso and Corti Benedettine del Padovano Refosco dal peduncolo rosso riserva.

Visitors to the area have the chance to see medieval monasteries and courts, some of which are today used as villas or residences. Piove di Sacco offers the beauty of the Monastery of Saints Vitus and Modestus, which was already existing in 1100, while Legnaro and Correzzola each have an important Benedictine Court. In Bagnoli, Villa Widmann still shows the ancient structure of the monastery built after the city was donated to Benedictine monks in 954.

Custoza D.O.C. Wine Zone, Verona Province

CUSTOZA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

Custoza Wine Zone

A perfect balance of knowledge and vine-growing tradition, climate and soil conditions unique to the area between the south shore of the Garda Lake near Verona, the Mincio and the Adige rivers have each contributed to this wine. In the designated area of provenance, soils are mainly moraine containing the well-polished stones typical of glacial deposits, the climate is mild, and rainfall average. The grapes are cultivated in sunny vineyards, with ample exposure giving the product a distinct quality.

D.O.C. wines are: Bianco di Custoza, Bianco di Custoza superior, Bianco di Custoza spumante and Bianco di Custoza passito. The official guidelines provide for the use of Trebbiano toscano, Garganega, Tocai friulano, Bianca Fernanda (a local Cortese cross), Malvasia, Riesling italico, Pinot bianco and Chardonnay grapevines in strict proportions. Bianco di Custoza D.O.C. is a white wine. Its straw yellow colour tends towards golden yellow with ageing. It has a fruity and slightly aromatic fragrance and velvety flavour.

The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) itinerary winds through the inland landscapes around the Garda Lake, through vineyards and olive groves, villas and castles, the area's ancient atmosphere enchanting the visitor.

Walkers can enjoy historical and natural trails (named "Camminacustoza" and "Tamburino Sardo") among the Custoza hills and cyclists can choose from several itineraries, from Castelnuovo towards the Garda Lake, over the Valeggio hills, from Sandrà along the Popes road to Oliosi, through the Tione valley and over Mount Mamaor, the last peak to the south of the hills carved millennia ago by glaciers.

During the itinerary it is particularly attractive visit the town that gives the name to this famous wine, Custoza, a charming old place which was once a sentry and detention outpost overlooking the Postumia road. The area abounds with reminders of the Risorgimento. Two battles in the period of dissension leading to unification were fought here, leaving traces scattered among the vineyards, such as the Ossuary, the Sardinian drummer farm and a monument celebrating the grenadiers of the Sardinian Brigade.

Euganei Hills Wine, Padova Province Italy

WINE ZONE OF THE EUGANEI HILLS, PADOVA PROVINCE

The Euganean Hills are of volcanic origin, their typical cone shapes rising like oases from the Po valley in the province of Padua. A combination of a mild climate, protected by the nearby Adriatic Sea, and the nature of the soil made of broken-up volcanic stones with a good, well-drained skeleton rich in minerals and micro elements, has created an ideal place for wine-growing. Vines have been grown in the area from immemorial time and have had a strong influence on the landscape, which has been slowly, but steadily transformed by the hand of man since the earliest settlements and by the uninterrupted sequence of communities, and flourishing, hard-working civilisations.

D.O.C. wines produced in the area are Colli Euganei Bianco, Colli Euganei Pinotbianco, Colli Euganei Chardonnay and Colli Euganei Moscato (all also in a spumante version), Colli Euganei Tai, Colli Euganei Rosso (also innovello andriserva versions), Colli Euganei Cabernet, Colli Euganei Cabernet franc, Colli Euganei Cabernet Sauvignon and Colli Euganei Merlot (the last wines also as Riserva).

Specialities of this D.O.C. include Colli Euganei Pinello, a straw yellow wine with hints of green, delicate in fragrance and fresh in taste, also in a sparkling version, Colli Euganei Serprino, also sparkling, a straw yellow, pale and bright wine, and Colli Euganei Fior d'Arancio. The latter is a straw yellow wine with hints of gold and a lingering, intense fragrance typical of its grape, the Moscato giallo, also available as spumante and passito.

The unique natural and artistic beauty of the Euganean Hills offers plenty of charm. The heart of paleo-venetian culture, the Hills are today an important tourist destination. A natural haven protected by the Regional Park, the Colli offer a variegated production of wines, but also prestigious niche products, such as those coming from the "Corte Padovana".

From one hill to another along the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) itinerary, the landscape is a succession of perfect geometries of vineyards, villages and medieval castles, churches, monasteries and retreats, of villas built during the Renaissance and noble residences, favourite places of renowned people such as Goethe, Foscolo, Byron, Shelley and Petrarca. The poet Petrarca's house in the town of Arquà is a favourite tourist attraction, along with other splendid medieval buildings.

There are bike paths and walking trails for every level, and many are protected for the main traffic flow making it an area to enjoy with younger, or inexperienced riders.  With plenty of interesting stops throughout the national park area this is a perfect bicycle destination.  This is the area many individuals living in Padova and the surrounding work towns escape to, to enjoy some riding. On the weekend there are groups riding everywhere.  The area is large enough that you can always find a few quite roads to yourself or link up with a local group to ride with. 

Food and Wine | Aosta Region

FOOD AND WINE | AOSTA VALLEY REGION

The cuisine of Aosta Valley is characterized by simplicity Food and wine at Valle D'Aosta official tourism website, www.lovevda.it and revolves around "robust" ingredients such as potatoes, polenta; cheese and meat; and rye bread. Many of the dishes involve Fontina, Fontina: DOP stamp for the Valle d’Aosta’s prince of cheeses at Valle d'Aosta official tourism website, www.lovevda.it a cheese with PDO status, made from cow's milk that originates from the valley. It is found in dishes such as the soup à la vâpeuleunèntse Seuppa à la vâpeuleunèntse( Valpelline Soup). ( Valpelline Soup). Other cheeses made in the region are Toma and Seras. Fromadzo ( Valdôtain for cheese) has been produced locally since the 15th century and also has PDO status. Regional specialities, besides Fontina, are Motzetta (dried chamois meat, prepared like prosciutto), Valléed'Aoste Lard d'Arnad (a cured and brined fatback product with PDO designation), Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses (a kind of ham, likewise with PDO designation), and a black bread. Notable dishes include Carbonnade, consisting of salt-cured beef cooked with onions and red wine served with polenta; breaded veal cutlets called costolette; teuteuns, salt-cured cow's udder that is cooked and sliced; and steak à la valdôtaine, Steak Valdaostan style recipe, Consorzio Produttori e Tutela della DOP Fontina. a steak with croutons, ham and melted cheese.
Wine growing

Notable wines include two white wines from Morgex (Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle and Chaudelune), a red wine blend from Arvier (Enferd'Arvier), and a Gamay. D.O.C.

Food and Wine in the Arezzo Province | Tuscany

FOOD AND WINE IN THE AREZZO PROVINCE | TUSCANY

Valdarno chicken Tuscany

Arezzo’s Province has a rich agricultural tradition and many Italian specialities originate from here.

FOODS IN THE AREZZO PROVINCE

The cuisine from the Arno, Chiana and Tiber Valleys, boasts traditional products that date back centuries. It is thanks to expert farmers and producers who continue to keep these ancient traditions alive. Many of these producers are officially recognised and protected by European certificates that were started by the Province and Chamber of Commerce of Arezzo with the local Agriculture Categories Associations.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

The Arezzo area is famous for producing several varities of products. Among them are olive oil, beans (Fagiolo Zolfino, Fagiolo Coco Nano, Fagiolo dall’Occhio, Cece Piccino), cheeses (goat, sheep, ricotta and Abbucciato Aretino), and honey.

FAMOUS DISHES

The area is also famous for its meat (Valdarno chicken, Chianina beef) and cured meats (Capocollo, Finocchiona, prosciutto Dop Toscano, Tuscan salami, Soprassata, Tarese del Valdarno).

Local classics include Mugello tortelli (a potato filling and meat ragù), “all'aretina” (sliced steak), ribollita (a type of soup), pici con cinghiale (pasta with wild boar), Aretine tripe, rabbit with fennel and pappardelle and Aretine goose.
 
The local Colli Aretini wine is the prefect accompaniment to the meal which should end with a plate of cantuccini and Vin Santo.

Food and Wine in the Padova Province

FOOD AND WINE IN THE PADOVA PROVINCE OF THE VENETO REGION

Paduan cuisine combines its high-quality ingredients with its traditionaL and simple recipes, enhanced by grand chefs.  The generosity of this land is particularly evidence by the variety of local specialties. Rice is one of the main ingredients, and it is cooked in a variety of different ways: with peas (risi e bisi), radicchio, asparagus or bruscandoli (hop sprouts). 
Famous first courses include pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), a variety of hen soups (minestra marida) and bìgoli, a type of fat spaghetti. Squid ink often serves as a pasta sauce.

Where to Eat in the Padova Province

Euganei Hills Wine, Padova Province Italy

Bagnoli o Bagnoli di Sopra D.O.C. Wine Zone

Corti Benedettine del Padovano D.O.C. Wine Zone

 

Food and Wine of the Vicenza Province, Italy

FOOD AND WINE IN THE VICENZA PROVINCE

vicenza-food

WHAT TO EAT IN THE VICENZA PROVINCE

The Vicenza province by tradition is  bound to the cult of good wine and its passion for good food, with a variety of food from cheese to fish and cold cuts. The Asiago Plateau is all known for cheese (Asiago PDO, Morlacco and Burlacco, produced only in the summertime in the Grappa area). There are several singular flavored cold cuts like the Soppressa Vicentina (a perfect combination of sweet and peppery); the Veneto Berico-Euganeo PDO and the Val Liona hams; and even donkey meat salami that can be grilled, fried or eaten raw with polenta. 


The land offers a variety of fruit and vegetables, particularly white asparagus and the white radicchio of Bassano del Grappa; the potatoes ofRotzo; the cherries of Marostica; the mushrooms of Costozza; and the black truffles of the Berici Hills. As for fish, the most famous is without a doubt the baccalà allavicentina (dried codfish), followed by the excellent brown trout, prized for its white meat and delicate taste, and cooked in tinfoil, grilled or boiled. 


These authentic dishes can be complemented with a glass of good wine, the production of which Vicenza Province is no novice. 
There are plenty of distilled liqueurs as well, most popular and known come from Bassano del Grappa.

FOODS FOUND IN THE VICENZA PROVINCE

WINE ROADS OF THE VICENZA PROVINCE

Food of the Gorizia Province

FOOD IN THE GORIZIA PROVINCE | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

boreto alla graisana

The far northeastern territory in Italy has never served as a boundary. On the contrary, it has been a “melting pot” for different cultures and traditions throughout history, distinguished by the tasty dishes typically found in the Mediterranean Sea and Middle European regions.

Many towns such as Grado, the historic cradle of the Venetian cuisine, Cormòns, the town of the patriarchs displaying the Friuli flag, San Floriano del Collio, with one of the many castles set between the Karst and the Julian Alps housing warriors from beyond the Alps during the Middle Ages, widely express the rich variety and always gratifying cuisine from the Friuli region.

A wide range of dishes such as the “boreto alla graisana” (a Grado fish soup which is spicy, doesn't contain tomatoes and is eaten with white polenta), the gnocchi made of plums, thegulyas (goulash) of Hungarian origins, the wild fowl “in paiz”, the kugelhups, (a cake of Austrian origins), the strudel di ricotta (roll of pastry filled with ricotta cheese), are combined with modern dishes that are chosen to compliment the tight links of Gorizia and its province with the Hapsburg dominion, the poverty of the villages scattered around the Karst, and the controversial “love-hatred” relationship with the High Serene Republic of Venice.

Such dishes have successfully lasted through the test of time and represent one of the most interesting and pleasant cuisines in the new Europe, rooted in its territory while maintaining its origin. It is a cuisine to taste with joy from a country that has represented a remarkable meeting point for both the Far East and Western country.

Food To Look For In The Belluno Province of Italy

FOOD OF THE BELLUNO PROVINCE

The vast green mass of land next to the Dolomites is the perfect habitat for outdoor cattle farming, and it is possible to obtain excellent raw materials to make exquisite high-quality specialties. Ancient techniques, practised with love do the rest. The main ingredients of Belluno’s cuisine are simplicity and genuineness, together with delicious cheese, excellent meat and tasty cold cuts.  And, obviously, there is the main ingredient of the Venetian art of cooking: polenta. It can be a single course or perfectly served with a slice of Casél dell’Agordino, Contrin, Nevegal or Casalingo d’Alpago, great local dairy products.

Polenta can also be served with a slice of exquisite speck ham of Cadore or salame from the Belluno area, both of them made with the meat from Alpine reared cattle.  Another typical dish that reflects traditional local flavors is polenta served with game.  For any other combination it is worthwhile exploring the area of Belluno and taste the original and exquisite recipes of the locals.

Amongst the traditional specialties there is kodinzon, a jam made with dried apples from local cultivation. The apples are cooked to obtain a purée, then dried; the Pastin, flat meat balls made with sausage then fried or grilled.  Another good recipe is the Risotto Lamonese, called “the food of the poets,” with exquisite Lamon beans flavoured with bay leaves.

Foods to Try in Venice

WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU ARE IN VENICE

Next time you are bike touring in the Venice and the Veneto there are a few foods you should try.


Venice Italy, Food

Venice's seafood: delicious!

If you’re heading to Italy’s Veneto region anytime soon (say, for the Mid Mountains Bike Tour or the Giro Venice and Veneto), there’s something very important you need to know: what to eat.

In and around Venice, here are the foods you just can’t miss!

A twist on Venice's sardee in saor

Sardee in saor. One of our favorite Venetian dishes, this delicious antipasto features sweet-and-sour sardines with onions, pine nuts and raisins. Sounds odd, tastes amazing.

Risi e bisi. A Venetian dish of rice and peas, somewhere between a risotto and a soup. So traditional, it used to be offered to the Doge every St. Mark’s Feast Day.

Pasta e fasioi. In Italian, this would be “pasta e fagioli,” or pasta and beans. But this is the Venetian version… so you just have to order it in Venetian dialect!

Scampi alla veneziana. Venetian shrimp that have been boiled and are served with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Venice, Italy, Food
Vermicelli with squid ink, a Venetian specialty Caparossoi a scota deo. Large, plump clams, cooked with lemon and pepper. They’re so good, people can’t resist reaching for them as soon as they’re on the table, even when they’re hot… hence “a scota deo” – finger burners!

Risotto or vermicelli al nero di seppia. Risotto or vermicelli (long, thin noodles) with black squid ink, popular in Venice.
Bigoi in salsa. Spaghetti in a sauce of sardines or anchovies.

Scampetti con polenta. Little shrimps with polenta, a dish made out of boiled cornmeal.

Carpaccio. Raw meat, sliced thin, with a sauce made out of mayo, mustard, cream, and tomato. Invented by the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Venice Italy, Food PolentaBacala mantecato. Cod, crushed with parsley and olive oil.

Fritole venessiane. Fritters, made of everything from cornflour to pumpkin. Popular around Carnevale.

Pincia. A pastry with eggs, sugar and raisins.

Franciacorta Wine, Lombardy Region

FRANCIACORTA WINE AREA | LOMBARDY

Franciacorta wine

The territory of Franciacorta is a section of the Province of Brescia in the Italian Region of Lombardy. Franciacorta extends from MountOrfano (south ofRovato) on thesouthest area to the shores of Lake Iseo, and from the river Oglio on the western border to the city of Brescia in the east. The geography of rolling hills was shaped by glacial action. The soil, glacial moraines consisting of gravel and sand over limestone, drains well, and is ideal for the cultivation of grapes and winemaking. The weather is mild and constant due to its location south of the foothills of the Alps and the tempering presence of large lakes. To publicize enotourism the district established a Strada del Vino Franciacorta on the model of the famed German Wine Route (Weinstraße) in 2001. The area has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, with archaeological records left by Gauls— the Cenomani of Brixia (modern Brescia), Romans and Lombards. The name Franciacorta, attested in 1277, is thought to derive fromcurtesfrancae, the fortified courts of the Frankish empire established in the 8th century. Rodengo is home to a Cluniac foundation, the Abbey of St. Nicholas, which has been inhabited by Olivetan monks since 1446. Other places of interest includePassirano, with a castle, and Provagliod'Iseo, with a Romanesque church. Among the most respected wine producers of Franciacorta sparkling and still wines in the region are Berlucchi, Bellavista and Ca'Del Bosco. Others include Mosnel, Muratori, Lantieri, Majolini,Ferghettina and Cavalleri.

Gambellara Wine Zone, Vicenza Italy

GAMBELLARA WINE ZONE, VICENZA PROVINCE

Colline di Gambellara

Gambellara wine zone creates the border between Vicenza and Verona provinces.·The Gambellara wine zone starts·at the mouth of theChiampo valley, on the last spur of the Lessini mountains that look like soft waves at an altitude of between 250 and 350 meters, covered by vines and lush valleys crossed by several waterways. ·In geological terms, the area is of volcanic origin, with basaltic soils conforming more or less to the form of earthy and friable tuffs, which offer natural fertility particularly favourable to vine-growing, and a high mineral content that gives the wine its extraordinary accents. The area where vineyards are currently cultivated extends for about thousand hectares of predominantly hilly area, most of which are in the so-called "classic" region, the oldest area of provenance. The Gargànega grape variety is the luminary of the vineyards, grown almost exclusively in the western part of Veneto, which produces white, dry and passiti wines of outstanding quality.

Three types of D.O.C. wines are produced in the area: Gambellara, a dry, well-orchestrated white wine that bears the denomination of "classico" when it is from the oldest area of provenance; Gambellara Vin Santo and GambellaraRecioto, in the traditional and spumante versions. In particular, Recioto is the flagship of this D.O.C. designation, its uniqueness is linked to the special wine-making process used to make it. Once the grapes have been carefully selected from the vineyard, they are dried in bunches on the plateau or hung in the form of the typical "picai" in well aired rooms.When the grapes have been drying for about a month and a half (between the end of November and the beginning of December), the grapes are once again selected and processed to obtain a first-pressing must that ferments until the following spring. The result is an excellent wine, particularly suited to accompanying dessert. It is bright golden yellow in colour, with a heady, intense and fruity nose, it is amiably velvety, evenly bodied and has a typical slightly bitter, almond-like and aftertaste. Gambellara Vin Santo is another magnificent wine, only produced in the best vintages, and it can be stored in the winery for 50 years without deteriorating. It is made by a process very similar to traditional Recioto, but provides a longer drying period and therefore the grapes are pressed the following year. It makes less wine, but its alcohol content is higher. Very high production costs along with extremely limited supply make this one of the rarest jewels in the wine industry.

All the twenty wineries in the area are included on the itinerary of the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), that spans the four municipalities of the D.O.C. area: Gambellara, Montebello Vicentino, Montorso Vicentino and Zermeghedo. The area could be defined as a "wine park" for its attractive landscape and deep-rooted cultivation specialisations.

Winery Vendors to Visit:

Garda D.O.C. WIne Zone, Verona Province

GARDA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

garda wine zone

The Garda D.O.C. area includes the parts of the provinces of Verona and Brescia that overlook Garda Lake, and part of the province of Mantua. Vine-growing in these areas dates back to the times of the Etruscans who imported wine-making techniques. The special qualities of Garda Lake, especially its moraine soil and the mild climate, have encouraged vine cultivation to the point it has become very important for the local economy, thanks also to the excellent results obtained by wine-growers who have always pursued the search of quality in their work. Vineyards alternate with olive trees and cover the hills of the Garda area with their colours that change with the seasons.

The designation was awarded very recently (2005) to qualify some wines produced from a single vine species, traditionally grown in areas with consolidated designations of origin only for wines produced as mixed varieties. The D.O.C. wines, made with at least 85% of their grape content from the species of vine that give them their names, are: Garda Chardonnay, Garda Cortese, Garda Garganega, Garda Pinot bianco, Garda Pinot grigio, Garda Riesling, Garda Riesling italico, Garda Sauvignon, Garda Tai, Garda spumante rosé, Garda Barbera, Garda Corvina, Garda Cabernet, Garda Cabernet franc, Garda Cabernet Sauvignon, Garda Merlot, Garda Pinot nero and Garda Marzemino.

Wines from the grapes of official Garda Garganega an Garda Chardonnay species of vine can be rendered sparkling thanks to a natural re-fermentation process, and are subsequently put on the market as simply Garda frizzante. Those obtained from the Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Riesling grapevines can be made into a spumante, again, only following a natural re-fermentation process. It should be noted that Corvina and Cortese are grapes from native species of vine that are very important for the celebrated blends in the area: Corvina for red wines such as Amarone, Valpollicella and Bardolino; Cortese for white wines such as Bianco di Custoza.

Gorgonzola Cheese, Lombardy Region

GORGONZOLA CHEESE | LOMBARDY

gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola is a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a "bite" from its blue veining.

Gorgonzola has been produced for centuries in Gorgonzola, Milan, acquiring its greenish-blue marbling in the eleventh century. However, the town's claim of geographical origin is disputed by other localities. Today, it is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. Whole cow's milk is used, to which starter bacteria is added, along with spores of the mold Penicillium glaucum. Penicillium roqueforti, used in Roquefort cheese, may also be used. The whey is then removed during curdling, and the result aged at low temperatures. During the aging process metal rods are quickly inserted and removed, creating air channels that allow the mold spores to grow into hyphae and cause the cheese's characteristic veining. Gorgonzola is typically aged for three to four months. The length of the aging process determines the consistency of the cheese, which gets firmer as it ripens. There are two varieties of Gorgonzola, which differ mainly in their age: Gorgonzola Dolce (also called Sweet Gorgonzola) and Gorgonzola Piccante (also called Gorgonzola Naturale, Gorgonzola Montagna, or Mountain Gorgonzola). Under Italian law, Gorgonzola enjoys Protected Geographical Status. Termed DOP in Italy, this means that it can only be produced in the provinces of Novara, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Cuneo, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli, as well as a number of comuni in the area of Casale Monferrato ( province of Alessandria).

Gorgonzola may be eaten in many ways. It may be melted into a risotto in the final stage of cooking, or served alongside polenta. Pasta with gorgonzola is a dish appreciated almost everywhere in Italy by gorgonzola lovers; usually gorgonzola goes on short pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, mezze maniche, or sedani, not with spaghetti or linguine. It is frequently offered as pizza topping. Combined with other soft cheeses it is an ingredient of pizza ai quattro formaggi (four-cheeses pizza).

Grana Padano Cheese, Italy

GRANA PADANO CHEESE | LOMBARDY

grana padano

Grana Padano is one of the most popular cheeses of Italy. The name comes from the noun grana (‘grain’), which refers to the distinctively grainy texture of the cheese, and the adjective Padano, which refers to the valley Pianura Padana. It is called "Grana Padano" and not "Grana Padana" because the Italian word grana is the masculine noun, il grana, describing this specific cheese, and not the feminine noun la grana, which means "grain". Grana Padano has protected designation of origin status since 1996.

Grana Padano is one of the world's first hard cheeses, created nearly 900 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey, founded in 1135 near Milan, who used ripened cheese as a way of preserving surplus milk. By the year 1477, it was regarded as one of the most famous cheeses of Italy. It can last a long time without spoiling, sometimes aging up to two years. It is made in a similar way to the Parmigiano Reggiano of Emilia-Romagna but over a much wider area and with different regulations and controls. Other grana cheeses are also made in Lombardy, Piedmont, Trentino, and Veneto.

Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is a semifat hard cheese which is cooked and ripened slowly (for at least 9 months, then, if it passes the quality tests, it will be fire-branded with the Grana Padano trademark). The cows are milked twice a day, the milk is left to stand, and then partially skimmed. Milk produced in the evening is skimmed to remove the surface layer of cream and mixed with fresh milk produced in the morning. The partly skimmed milk is transferred into copper kettles and coagulated; the resulting curd is cut to produce granules with the size of rice grains, which gives the cheese its characteristic texture, and then cooked to . It is produced year-round and the quality can vary seasonally as well as by year. Though similar to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, the younger Grana Padano cheeses are less crumbly, milder and less complex in flavor than their more famous, longer-aged relative.

A wheel of Grana Padano is cylindrical, with slightly convex or almost straight sides and flat faces. It measures in diameter, and in height. It weighs 24 to 40 kg (53 to 88 lbs) per wheel. The rind, which is thin, is white or straw yellow. Grana Padano is sold in three different ripening stages:

  • "Grana Padano" (9 to 16 months): texture still creamy, only slightly grainy
  • "Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi" (over 16 months): crumblier texture, more pronounced taste
  • "Grana Padano Riserva" (over 20 months): grainy, crumbly and full flavoured
  • Grana padano cheese typically contains cheese crystals, semi-solid to gritty crystalline spots that at least partially consist of the amino acid tyrosine.

Italian Cusine

ITALIAN CUSINE | FOOD AND WINE IN ITALY

food and wine itay

Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political change. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World and the introduction of potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and it is probably the most popular in the world. Italian cuisine is characterized by its simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Modern Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BC. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century.

The Mediterranean diet forms the basis of Italian cuisine, rich in pasta, fish and vegetables and characterised by its extreme simplicity and variety, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Dishes and recipes are often derivatives from local and familial tradition rather than created by chefs, so many recipes are ideally suited for home cooking. This is one of the main reasons behind the ever increasing worldwide popularity of Italian cuisine, from America to Asia.

Ingredients and dishes vary widely by region. A key factor in the success of Italian cuisine is its heavy reliance on traditional products; Italy has the most traditional specialities protected under EU law. Cheese, cold cuts and wine are a major part of Italian cuisine, with many regional declinations and Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication labels, and along with coffee (especially espresso) make up a very important part of the Italian gastronomic culture. Desserts have a long tradition of merging local flavours such as citrus fruits, pistachio and almonds with sweet cheeses like mascarpone and ricotta or exotic tastes as cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon. Gelato, tiramisù and cassata are among the most famous examples of Italian desserts, cakes and patisserie.

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History of Italian Cooking

FOOD AND WINE OF ITALY

Italian Cusine History: 1500-1700

HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE 1500-1700

Carracci Butchers shop

The courts of Florence, Rome, Venice and Ferrara were central to the cuisine. Cristoforo di Messisbugo, steward to Ippolito d'Este, published Banchetti Composizioni di Vivande in 1549. Messisbugo gives recipes for pies and tarts (containing 124 recipes with various fillings). The work emphasizes the use of Eastern spices and sugar. In 1570, Bartolomeo Scappi, personal chef to Pope Pius V, wrote his Opera in five volumes, giving a comprehensive view of Italian cooking of that period. It contains over 1,000 recipes, with information on banquets including displays and menus as well as illustrations of kitchen and table utensils.

This book differs from most books written for the royal courts in its preference for domestic animals and courtyard birds rather than game. Recipes include lesser cuts of meats such as tongue, head and shoulder. The third volume has recipes for fish in Lent. These fish recipes are simple, including poaching, broiling, grilling and frying after marination. Particular attention is given to seasons and places where fish should be caught. The final volume includes pies, tarts, fritters and a recipe for a sweet Neapolitan pizza (not the current savory version, as tomatoes had not been introduced to Italy.) However, such items from the New World as corn (maize) and turkey are included.

In the first decade of the 17th century, Giangiacomo Castelvetro wrote Breve Racconto di Tutte le Radici di Tutte l'Herbe et di Tutti i Frutti (A Brief Account of All Roots, Herbs and Fruit), translated into English by Gillian Riley. Originally from Modena, Castelvetro moved to England because he was a Protestant. The book has a list of Italian vegetables and fruits and their preparation. He featured vegetables as a central part of the meal, not just accompaniments. He favored simmering vegetables in salted water and serving them warm or cold with olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper, lemon juice or verjus or orange juice. He also suggests roasting vegetables wrapped in damp paper over charcoal or embers with a drizzle of olive oil. Castelvetro's book is separated into seasons with hop shoots in the spring and truffles in the winter, detailing the use of pigs in the search for truffles.

In 1662, Bartolomeo Stefani, chef to the Duchy of Mantua, published L'Arte di Ben Cucinare. He was the first to offer a section onvittoordinario ("ordinary food"). The book described a banquet given by Duke Charles for Queen Christina of Sweden, with details of the food and table settings for each guest, including a knife, fork, spoon, glass, a plate (instead of the bowls more often used) and a napkin. Other books from this time, such as Galatheo by Giovanni della Casa, tell howscalci ("waiters") should manage themselves while serving their guests. Waiters should not scratch their heads or other parts of themselves, or spit, sniff, cough or sneeze while serving diners. The book also told diners not to use their fingers while eating and not to wipe sweat with their napkin.

Italian Cusine History: 1700-1900

HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE

Annibale Carracci The Beaneater

At the beginning of the 18th century, Italian culinary books began to emphasize the regionalism of Italian cuisine rather than French cuisine. Books written then were no longer addressed to professional chefs but to bourgeois housewives. Periodicals in booklet form such as La cuoca cremonese ("The Cook of Cremona") in 1794 give a sequence of ingredients according to season along with chapters on meat, fish and vegetables. As the century progressed these books increased in size, popularity and frequency.

In the 18th century, medical texts warned peasants against eating refined foods as it was believed that these were poor for their digestion and their bodies required heavy meals. It was believed by some that peasants ate poorly because they preferred eating poorly. However, many peasants had to eat rotten food and moldy bread because that was all they could afford. In 1779, Antonio Nebbia from Macerata in the Marche region, wrote Il Cuoco Maceratese ("The Cook of Macerata"). Nebbia addressed the importance of local vegetables and pasta, rice and gnocchi. For stock, he preferred vegetables and chicken over other meats. In 1773, the Neapolitan Vincenzo Corrado's Il Cuoco Galante ("The Courteous Cook") gave particular emphasis to Vitto Pitagorico (vegetarian food). "Pitagoric food consists of fresh herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds and all that is produced in the earth for our nourishment. It is named because Pythagoras, as is well known, only used such produce. There is no doubt that this kind of food appears to be more natural to man, and the use of meat is noxious." This book was the first to give the tomato a central role with thirteen recipes. Zuppaalli Pomidoro in Corrado's book is a dish similar to today's Tuscanpappa al pomodoro. Corrado's 1798 edition introduced a "Treatise on the Potato" after the French Antoine-Augustin Parmentier's successful promotion of it.

In 1790, Francesco Leonardi in his book L'Apicio moderno ("Modern Apicius") sketches a history of the Italian Cuisine from the Roman Age and gives the first recipe for a tomato based sauce. In the 19th century, Giovanni Vialardi, chef to King Victor Emmanuel, wrote A Treatise of Modern Cookery and Patisserie with recipes "suitable for a modest household". Many of his recipes are for regional dishes from Turin including twelve for potatoes such as Genoese Cappon Magro.

In 1829, Il Nuovo Cuoco Milanese Economico by Giovanni Felice Luraschi features Milanese dishes such as Kidney with Anchovies and Lemon and Gnocchi alla Romana. Gian Battista and Giovanni Ratto's La Cucina Genovese in 1871 addressed the cuisine of Liguria. This book contained the first recipe for pesto. Lascienza in cucina el'arte di mangiare bene ("The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well"), by Pellegrino Artusi, first published in 1891, is widely regarded as the canon of classic modern Italian cuisine, and it is still in print. Its recipes come mainly from Romagna and Tuscany, where he lived.

Italian Cusine History: Middle Ages

HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE - MIDDLE AGES

italy medieval food

With culinary traditions from Rome and Athens, a cuisine developed in Sicily that some consider the first real Italian cuisine. Arabs invaded Sicily in the 9th century, introducing spinach, almonds, and rice. During the 12th century, a Norman king surveyed Sicily and saw people making long strings made from flour and water called atriya, which eventually becametrii, a term still used for spaghetti in southern Italy. Normans also introduced casseroles, salt cod (baccalà) and stockfish, which remain popular. Food preservation was either chemical or physical, as refrigeration did not exist. Meats and fish would be smoked, dried or kept on ice. Brine and salt were used to pickle items such as herring, and to cure pork. Root vegetables were preserved in brine after they had been parboiled. Other means of preservation included oil, vinegar or immersing meat in congealed, rendered fat. For preserving fruits, liquor, honey and sugar were used.

The northern Italian regions show a mix of Germanic and Roman culture while the south reflects Arab influence, as much Mediterranean cuisine was spread by Arab trade.

The oldest Italian book on cuisine is the 13th century Liber de coquina written in Naples. Dishes include "Roman-style" cabbage (ad usum romanorum), ad usum campanie which were "small leaves" prepared in the "Campanian manner", a bean dish from the Marca di Trevisio, a torta,compositum londardicum which are similar to dishes prepared today. Two other books from the 14th century include recipes for Roman pastello, Lasagna pie, and call for the use of salt from Sardinia or Chioggia.

In the 15th century, Maestro Martino was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican. His Libro de arte coquinaria describes a more refined and elegant cuisine. His book contains a recipe for Maccaroni Siciliani, made by wrapping dough around a thin iron rod to dry in the sun. The macaroni was cooked in capon stock flavored with saffron, displaying Persian influences. Of particular note is Martino's avoidance of excessive spices in favor of fresh herbs. The Roman recipes includecoppiette (air-dried salami) and cabbage dishes. His Florentine dishes include eggs with Bolognese torta, Sienese torta and Genoese recipes such aspiperata (sweets), macaroni, squash, mushrooms, and spinach pie with onions. Martino's text was included in a 1475 book by Bartolomeo Platina printed in Venice entitled Dehonestavoluptate etvaletudine ("On Honest Pleasure and Good Health"). Platina puts Martino's "Libro" in regional context, writing about perch from Lake Maggiore, sardines from Lake Garda, grayling from Adda, hens from Padua, olives from Bologna and Piceno, turbot from Ravenna, rudd from Lake Trasimeno, carrots from Viterbo, bass from the Tiber,roviglioni and shad from Lake Albano, snails from Rieti, figs from Tuscolo, grapes from Narni, oil from Cassino, oranges from Naples and eels from Campania. Grains from Lombardy and Campania are mentioned as is honey from Sicily and Taranto. Wine from the Ligurian coast, Greco from Tuscany and San Severino and Trebbiano from Tuscany and Piceno are also in the book.

Italian Cusine History: Prehistory

HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE | PREHISTORY

food roman times

The first known Italian food writer was a Greek Sicilian named Archestratus from Syracuse in the 4th century BCE. He wrote a poem that spoke of using "top quality and seasonal" ingredients. He said that flavors should not be masked by spices, herbs or other seasonings. He placed importance on simple preparation of fish.Del Conte, 11. Simplicity was abandoned and replaced by a culture of gastronomy as the Roman Empire developed. By the time De re coquinaria was published in the 1st century CE, it contained 470 recipes calling for heavy use of spices and herbs. The Romans employed Greek bakers to produce breads and imported cheeses from Sicily as the Sicilians had a reputation as the best cheesemakers. The Romans reared goats for butchering, and grew artichokes and leeks.

Italian Cusine Ingredients

INGREDIENTS IN TRUE ITALIAN CUSINE

tomatoes italy 

In Italy each area has its own food specialties, primarily at a regional level, but also at provincial level. The differences can come from a bordering country (such as France or Austria), whether a region is close to the sea or the mountains, and economics. Italian cuisine is also seasonal with priority placed on the use of fresh produce.

Italian cuisine has a great variety of different ingredients which are commonly used, ranging from fruits, vegetables, sauces, meats, etc. In the North of Italy, fish (such as cod, or baccalà), potatoes, rice, corn (maize), sausages, pork, and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients. Pasta dishes with use of tomato are spread in all Italy.

In Northern Italy though there are many kinds of stuffed pasta, polenta and risotto are equally popular if not more so. Ligurian ingredients include several types of fish and seafood dishes; basil (found in pesto), nuts and olive oil are very common. In Emilia-Romagna, common ingredients include ham ( prosciutto), sausage ( cotechino), different sorts of salami, truffles, grana, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tomatoes ( Bolognese sauce or ragù). Traditional Central Italian cuisine uses ingredients such as tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. In Tuscany and Umbria pasta is usually served allacarrettiera (a tomato sauce spiked with peperoncini hot peppers). Finally, in Southern Italy, tomatoes – fresh or cooked into tomato sauce – peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, oranges, ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini, certain types of fish (anchovies, sardines and tuna), and capers are important components to the local cuisine.

Italian cuisine is also well known (and well regarded) for its use of a diverse variety of pasta. Pasta include noodles in various lengths, widths and shapes. Distinguished on shapes they are named — penne, maccheroni, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, lasagne and many more varieties that are filled with other ingredients like ravioli and tortellini. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognized names. Examples include spaghetti (thin rods), rigatoni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Dumplings, like gnocchi (made with potatoes) and noodles like spätzle, are sometimes considered pasta. They are both traditional in parts of Italy. Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Pasta is generally cooked by boiling. Under Italian law, dry pasta (pasta secca) can only be made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina, and is more commonly used in Southern Italy compared to their Northern counterparts, who traditionally prefer the fresh egg variety. Durum flour and durum semolina have a yellow tinge in color. Italian pasta is traditionally cooked al dente (Italian: "firm to the bite", meaning not too soft).

Outside Italy, dry pasta is frequently made from other types of flour (such as wheat flour), but this yields a softer product that cannot be cooked al dente. There are many types of wheat flour with varying gluten and protein depending on variety of grain used. Particular varieties of pasta may also use other grains and milling methods to make the flour, as specified by law. Some pasta varieties, such as pizzoccheri, are made from buckwheat flour. Fresh pasta may include eggs (pasta all'uovo 'egg pasta'). Whole wheat pasta has become increasingly popular because of its supposed health benefits over pasta made from refined flour.

Lison Wine Zone Treviso Italy

LISON WINE ZONE, TREVISO PROVINCE

lison vineyards

The Lison area is located on the eastern edge of the province of Venice and in a limited area of the nearby provinces of Treviso and Pordenone.

Its flat, alluvial lands have been formed over millennium, made fertile by the humus carried by flooding from the many streams flowing down from the Alps. The location's distance between mountains and sea in addition to its abundant waterways has attracted numerous civilisations to settle through the ages: from the paleo-venetian civilisation to the Romans, through to the Barbarian invasions that contributed, by contrast, to the founding of Venice and the extraordinary progress it stimulated throughout the region, thanks in part to the work of the Benedictine monks and the construction of Benedictine abbeys, of which Sesto al Réghena and Summaga are two magnificent examples that still stand today.

The need to trade with these civilisations for goods, especially food and wine, led to a series of navigable channels being built in the hinterland to the great amazement of the world in the year 520. Cassiodorus, Governor for King Theodoric, invited the Venetian tribunes to the transport of goods in a speech... «this thing [...] will not require much effort from those who often sail the seas, from you who are born seamen and have to cross the seawaters in your place of birth to go from one place to another; if a storm should prevent you from sailing in open seas, another way will open up safely [...] I mean rivers where your boats, protected against and safe from winds and weather, cut into the land that looks just like a plain». It is, therefore, no wonder that the wine-growing and wine-making culture dates back centuries, having now become part of tradition through the special, constant care and attention that has made the Lison-Pramaggiore wine-making area one of the first most important and advanced in Italy, and its wines famous worldwide.

The D.O.C. wines are: Lison-Pramaggiore Bianco, Lison-Pramaggiore Tai or Lison-Pramaggiore Lison, Lison-Pramaggioreclassico Tai or Lison-Pramaggioreclassico Lison, Lison-Pramaggiore Chardonnay (also sparkling and spumante), Lison-Pramaggiore Pinot bianco(also sparklingand spumante),Lison-Pramaggiore Pinot grigio (also spumante), Lison-Pramaggiore Riesling(also spumante), Lison-Pramaggiore Riesling italico, Lison-Pramaggiore Sauvignon,Lison-Pramaggiore Verduzzo (also sparkling), Lison-Pramaggiore Verduzzo dolce, Lison-Pramaggiore Merlot rosato (rosé), Lison-Pramaggiore Rosso (also riserva), Lison-Pramaggiore Cabernet (also riserva), Lison-Pramaggiore Cabernet franc (also riserva), Lison-Pramaggiore Cabernet Sauvignon (also riserva), Lison-Pramaggiore Merlot (also riserva), Lison-Pramaggiore Malbech, Lison-Pramaggiore novello and Lison-Pramaggiore Refosco dalpeduncolo rosso.

Since 1986, the district has included the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), offering visitors the opportunity to discover a region bursting with vistas and history. Its guide symbol is the Lion of Saint Mark, used to denote recommended wine-growers and wineries for the benefit of visitors, but also shops, hotels and restaurants offering typical foods, and cultural and natural attractions.

Lugana D.O.C. Wine Zone, Verona Province

LUGANA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

lugana wine

The Lugana D.O.C. wine area includes a small, prized region near the southern shores of the lake, surrounding the municipality of Peschiera del Garda in the Verona area and the municipalities of Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda, Pozzolengo and Lonato in the Brescia area.  The moraine hills characteristic to this zone, crossed by the river Mincio originating in Peschiera from the Garda lake, the predominantly clay soils with some traces of lime, rich in mineral salts, and the mild lake climate are all factors that contribute to defining the characteristics of the designation.

This wine represents the maximum expression of the Turbiana or Trebbiano di Lugana grapevine, perfectly acclimatized in the Garda Lake's microclimate. The Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus celebrated this wine in his poems while Longobard and Ostrogothic kings chose it for their tables.

There are three different typologies of Lugana D.O.C.: Lugana, Lugana superior and Lugana spumante.

Lugana is straw yellow with hints of green, turning to gold with refinement. Its bouquet is delicate, pleasant, floral, and mineral fruity, its flavour fresh, soft and well-orchestrated. It becomes

Lugana superior after an ageing process of at least twelve months. This gives the wine its straw yellow or golden yellow colour, becoming more pronounced with refinement. Its bouquet is still delicate and pleasant, but it can also acquire features of tropical fruit or yellow flowers. Its palate is soft and harmonious but more full-bodied with a subtle hint of wood.

Lugana spumante has a persistent, fine fizzyness, and is an intense straw yellow with possible gold reflections. It has a fragrant, subtly fruity aroma when the Charmat spumante method is used, while fermentation in the bottle gives it an elegant, compact and aromatic bouquet when the classical sparkling process is used. Its flavour is fresh, tangy, stylish and well-orchestrated, with toasted, yeasty undertones. The area is full of very fascinating places in natural, artistic and historical terms. Peschiera del Garda, along the Verona shores of Lake Garda, was built at the mouth of the river Mincio, and between its powerful bastions built by the Austrians, traces of the battles that raged in the Risorgimento era can be seen, as can buildings by the architect Sanmicheli, the ruins of the Fortress belonging to the Della Scala family, ancient parish churches and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassino.

Merlara D.O.C. Wine Zone, Verona Province

MERLARA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

merlara wine

The area of the Merlara wine zone encompasses municipalities in the province of Padua and province of Verona, has always been interested in wine-growing, even if only as a marginal and secondary cultivation, dating back as far as the 16th century. The grapes, harvested and processed in the wineries of the courts to make the wine, were served as refreshments to the numerous wayfarers as they went on their way through the old roadways connecting important trading towns. The area has recently turned to better quality wine-making, thanks to the commitment of local growers who have invested not only in more technically advanced business management, but also in vineyards. Local historical ties with vines can be traced to varieties such as Marzemino, Raboso and Merlot as far as red wines are concerned and Malvasia and other grapes such as Trebbiani for whites.

D.O.C. wines are:Merlara Bianco - a blend comprising 50-70% of Tocai friulano and the remainder of other white grapes, Merlara Biancofrizzante (sparkling), Merlara Tai, Merlara Malvasia, Merlara Rosso - a Merlot, Cabernet and Marzemino blend, Merlara Cabernet, Merlara Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlara Merlot, Merlara Marzemino frizzante (sparkling) and Merlara novello.

The territory is home to a number of places of interest, such as the historical town walls of Montagnana, Villa Correr in Casale di Scodosia, Villa Barbarigo in Merlara and Villa Fascinato in Terrazzo.

The beauty of the landscape the area has to offer is appreciable. Each season characterises and changes the landscapes of valleys against the backdrop of the Euganean and Berici Hills, a unique view. In the spring, the orchards blossom and the emerald green of the vines provides a charming view of the landscape. In the summer, the golden expanses of wheat fields are a wonderful sight glimpsed between the Adige and Fratta rivers. In the autumn, the colour of leaves in the vineyards, exposed to the sun, reflect golden and reddish shades all around.

Monti Lessini Wine Zone, Verona Province

MONTI LESSINI WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

monti lessini wine

The Monti Lessini wine area is completely hilly and extends through the provinces of Verona and Vicenza.  On the side nearer Verona, the territory includes the upper Val d'Illasi, Valle del Tramigna and the towns located to the north of Val d'Alpone, whilst on the Vicenza side lie the valleys of the Chiampo, Leogra and Agno rivers.

The soils are mainly of volcanic origin, composed of basaltic tuff. But it is not the soil or climate conditions that matter most in this D.O.C. area, but rather the features of the native grapevine, the Durella. Its special quality is a very high natural acidity in the grapes deriving from the plant as opposed to the soil which is mainly alkaline. More precisely, it is the combination of the soil and the plant that gives the grape its unique flavour.

It is also called "Juliet's Wine". Shakespeare drew inspiration for his famous tragedy from a story written by Luigi da Porto, an aristocratic from Vicenza who, in 1530, wrote about the two noble lovers, Romeo and Juliet. In his work he mentioned the "Duràsena" grapes growing in the valleys surrounding the two castles of Montecchio Maggiore where the wine drank by the unlucky lovers was made. The Duràsena of that time is today's Durella variety, which is used to make still or spumante Monti Lessini Durello. Production also includes Monti Lessini Durello superiore and Monti Lessini Durello passito, the latter obtained from the careful selection of grapes which are left to age for at least four months. The acid undertone of Durella is reduced by the high concentration of sugar in this wine which assumes unmistakable accents.

Other D.O.C. wines are Monti Lessini Bianco, Monti Lessini Bianco superiore, Monti Lessini spumante, Monti Lessini spumante rosato or rosé, Monti Lessini Rosso and Monti Lessini Rosso riserva.

The enchanting valleys of Lessinia offer the perfect itinerary for the Strada del Vino (Wine Road), where visitors can discover the region that has historically been home to and still is home to this extraordinary grapevine. The Road links towns with great wine-making traditions, offering architectural and panoramic points of interest along the way, including one of the most famous fossil sites known to the world, Bolca.

On the table in Venice, Italy

FOOD AND WINE OF VENICE

Venice Italy, Foods of Venice

A Venetian meal has many courses, and it can take a few hours to work your way through them all. But do not be fooled, yes Italians actually eat such massive full meals, to be accompanied by good wine and lively conversation, but to honor a special occasion or holiday.  Otherwise the majority of Italians eats great food just one or two courses at a sitting.

What you might find on a typical Venetian menu.

Antipasto (appetizer)

Start with an antipasto (appetizer), which in Venice means seafood.

Frutti di mare are "fruits of the sea" and include a plethora of shellfish, crustaceans, and tentacled sea critters.

Useful Italian

  • table for two - tavola per due
  • I would like - vorrei
  • this - questo
  • fizzy water - acqua gassata
  • still water - acqua non gassata
  • red wine - vino rosso
  • white wine - vino bianco
  • beer - birra
  • check, please - il conto per favore
  • is service included? - é incluso il servizio

Another archetypal Venetian starter is sarde in saor, sardines prepared with a sweet-and-sour sauce and often served with grilled slices of polenta (a distant, wetter, denser cousin to cornbread).

Primo (first course)

Your primo (first course) could be a soup (try the zuppa di cozze mussels soup); a rice (risotto alle seppie, stained with squid ink, is popular, but it's beat out by risi e bisi, a creamy blend of rice and fresh peas, sometimes with bacon); or a pasta—perhaps spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), or spaghetti al pomodoro (spaghetti in a plain tomato sauce) being the most common.

Secondo (main course)

Your secondo (main course) should take advantage of the setting and be fish. Most is priced by weight, grilled or otherwise simply prepared, and served on a bed of bitter red radicchio lettuce.

Popular secondi listed in guide books and by travel writes include anguille in umido (eels stewed with tomatoes, garlic, and white wine) and the local, non-seafood staple fegato alla Veneziana (tender calf's liver cooked down with onions). However, this is not eaten that often by locals except perhaps on special occasion, I know lots of Italians who have never eaten these dishes. 

Dolci (desserts)

Finish with a selection of formaggi (cheeses) or a dolce (dessert)—might I suggest the ever-popular tiramisù (espresso-soaked lady fingers layered with sweetened, creamy mascarpone cheese and dusted with cocoa).

Vino (wine)

Italy is famed for its wines, and the Veneto region around Venice produces some great ones, including the white Soave, and reds Bardolino and Valpolicello. The best table wines in the region tend to be the whites. There are no wine producers on the Islands of Venice.

Some recommended restaurants in Venice

Quick Bites or Snacks in Venice

The quintessential quick bite in Venice is the cicchetti (canapés and finger foods) at any bar or bacaro.

Venice also has Italy's standard great take-out venues: the tavola calda (prepared hot dishes sold by weight) and rosticceria (same thing plus roast chickens). Most bars sell tramezzini, which are like giant tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off, filled with tuna, ham and cheese, tomatoes and mozzarella, etc.

Do not get pizza slices to take away in Venice; you'll get the wrong impression of Italian pizza, which only gets good from Rome on south. You can get decent pizza at the sit-down pizzerie recommended to the left.

For picnic supplies, visit any succession of alimentari (grocery stores), forno (bakeries), and frutti vendolo (fruit and vegetable stand)—the most evocative on a vegetable barge floating on the Rio San Barnaba canal in Dorsoduro.

Suggested Places to Eat In San Marco

Bistrot de Venise [meal] - A restaurant serving an intriguing combo of Italian Renaissance recipes and French cuisine...

Osteria La Campana [meal] - It just says "Osteria" in the window, and from the door you can see only the bar. The wood-paneled dining room next-door has curtains in the windows as if to keep the tourists who wash up and down the busy street just a few blocks from St. Mark's Square from discovering this budget eatery buzzing with Venetian dialect...

Vino Vino [quick] - A Venetian wine bar with light meals, 350 vintages, and continuous hours 11:30am–11:30pm...

Rosticceria Teatro Goldoni [quick] - This joint behind plate glass windows near the Rialto may look modern, but it's been around since 1950, and really goes far above and beyond the call for a rosticceria (a sort of cafeteria with excellent pre-prepared dishes) with a vast array of choices and plenty of seating...

Rosticceria San Bartolomeo [quick] - A modern, popular, business-like tavola calda (a cafeteria-like joint) near the Rialto Bridge offering ready-made hot dishes and pizza with no cover charge right in the heart of the action...

Suggested Places to Eat In Cannaregio

Trattoria Cea [meal] - You can sit on straw-bottom chairs inside to listen to the radio and play elbow-hockey with the local workmen who pack the place at lunchtime, or snag one of the four metal tables with plastic chairs out front, ranged around an ancient marble well-head under an arbor thick with leafy vines...

Brek [quick/light meal] - A high-end cafeteria near the train station...

Suggested Places to Eat In Dorsoduro

Trattoria Ai Cugnai [meal] - Delicious food at the homey trattoria of the three sisters...

Enoteca Cantinone Già Schiavi [snack] - Enoteca Cantinone Già Schiavi offers not only a broad selection of €1 cicchetti and inexpensive glasses of vino under a beamed ceiling, but also a few dozen wines under €10 a bottle...

Suggested Places to Eat In Castello

Ristorante Corte Sconta [meal] - This trendy, trattoria popular with writers, artists, and gourmands for the past quarter century has a high-quality, all-seafood menu...

Trattoria Da Remigio [meal] - Famous for its straightforward renditions of Adriatic classics, this spot bucks the current Venetian trends by continuing to offer exquisite food and excellent, genuinely friendly service at reasonable prices...

Trattoria Pizzeria Da Aciugheta [meal] - A long block north of the chic Riva degli Schiavoni hotels lies one of Venice's best wine bars, expanded to include an elbow-to-elbow trattoria/pizzeria in back...

Suggested Places to Eat In San Polo

Cantina Do Mori [snack] - This is the Venetian cicchetti wine bar you've been dreaming about: old school and ancient, all wooden accents and crowds of locals...

Cantina Do Spade [meal/quick] - A 600-year-old trattoria with a back room where Casanova once wined and dined his romantic conquests (it has a back door so that the famed lothario could slip out should any husbands show up)...

Vini Da Pinto [meal] - How fresh is the fish? You could lob a clam shell from your outdoor table and hit the guy who sold it to the chef that morning—the Mercato del Rialto, Venice's main fish market, sprawls under a brick-and-marble Gothic loggia a few feet away...

Trattoria alla Madonna [meal] - Cuisine and chaos at a old-school trattoria...

Pizzeria Da Sandro [meal] - Da Sandro is a good choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive pizza-and-beer meal (which, believe it or not, is hard to come by in Venice). The pizzas are crisp, delicious, and so large they hang over the edges of the plates...

Suggested Places to Eat In Santa Croce

Pizzeria Ae Oche [meal] - More than ninety types of pizza and an odd Americana theme at a real local's joint...

Tips About Eating in Venice

  • Venice eats early: Well, by Italian standards at at least. In much of Italy, dinner doesn't get going until 8:30 or 9pm. In Venice, most show up for the meal at 7pm or 7:30pm, and dinner is wrapping up by 10pm. Venice goes to bed early.
  • Bread and Cover: There's an unavoidable charge called pane e coperto ("bread and cover") of about €1 to €5 that's added onto your bill at just about all Venetian restaurants. This is not a scam. This is standard in Italy.
  • Avoid places with photos of food posted on the menus.  There are usally places that serve freezer foods.

Piave Cheese from the Belluno Province

PIAVE CHEESE | BELLUNO PROVINCE

Piave cheese is an Italian cow's milk cheese, that is named after the Piave river. As Piave has a Protected Designation of Origin (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or DOP), DOP - Piave Cheese Consortium: The consortium overseeing the use of the name Piave the only "official" Piave is produced in the Dolomites area, province of Belluno, in the northernmost tip of the Veneto region.

Piave Cheese Consortium Piave is a hard, cooked curd cheese, offered at 5 different ages:

  • Piave Fresco (20 to 60 days aging - blue label)
  • Piave Mezzano (61 to 180 days aging - blue label)
  • Piave Vecchio (more than 6 months aging - blue label)
  • Piave Vecchio Selezione Oro (more than 12 months aging - red label)
  • Piave Vecchio Riserva (more than 18 months aging - black label).

Piave cheese has a dense texture, without holes, and is straw-yellow in hue. It has a slightly sweet flavor. Once fully aged, it becomes hard enough for grating, and it develops an intense, full-bodied flavor. Piave's rind is impressed repeatedly in vertical direction with the name of the cheese. How - Piave Cheese Consortium Piave is sold throughout Europe and even in the US as a hard cheese at which point its taste resembles that of a young Parmigiano Reggiano. The red label is aged at least 1 year and is called Vecchio (Piave Vecchio Selezione Oro), while the blue label is softer. Both are available all over Europe and can also be found in the US, primarily at specialty shops.

Piave River Wine Zone Treviso Italy

PIAVE RIVER WINE ZONE, TREVISO

piave wine area

The area located between the provinces of Venice and Treviso, in the Piave river basin, is full of vine cultivations, growing happily in the clay soil that is rich in mineral salts and well fertilised. Local soil conditions lend themselves to top quality, prized red wines.

This area extends through a broad plain bordered by the sea to the south, the hills of Conegliano and Montello to the northwest, and Friuli to the northeast, and is crossed by the Piave river. An anonymous writer in the late sixteenth century described this area...« The Piave river is very convenient and useful to Venice, [...] this river can be navigated by boats from Ponte di Piave to Venice, bearing wheat, wine and other goods ».

 "Burci" , large, slow boats that could navigate the channels, every day carried all sorts of goods, such as clothes scented with lye and bread to the "fónteghi" (storehouses) of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, making for rather hectic comings and goings along the waterway. The hinterland of Venice and the area around the town of Oderzo had been home to the stores of the Serenissima Republic of Venice since its origins, and this practical and economic relationship resulted in the "Veneto villas" being built. These were not merely for the enjoyment of the Venetian nobility but - and especially from the mid sixteenth century - they were used in an attempt to improve agriculture and make the land thrive. Therefore, it was not by chance that the people of the Piave river have for centuries been cultivating grapes for the "vineyards of Dogi", today producing a dozen or so wines of importance.

The D.O.C. white wines are: Piave Chardonnay, Piave Pinot bianco, Piave Pinot grigio, Piave Verduzzo and Piave Tai. The D.O.C. red wines are: Piave Cabernet, Piave Cabernet Sauvignon and Piave Merlot (all also as riserva), Piave Pinot nero and Piave Raboso.The latter, made by native Raboso grapevine, is ready for market after only three years of ageing, one of which in the barrel.

The territory has plenty of history and is linked by the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) extending for over 150 kilometres. Visitors are thus able to discover the different economic and cultural centres of importance, such as Roncade, Oderzo -the Roman Opitergium that was rebuilt many times - and Motta di Livenza. But what is certain to touch the tourist the most is the atmosphere on the left banks of the Piave, in the Raboso district, with its ancient traditions and its alleyways that tease the visitor with glimpses of the river, remote churches hiding precious frescos and the fine town of Portobuffolè.

Pieve di Cadore, Belluno Province

PIEVE DI CADORE | BELLUNO PROVINCE

Pieve di Cadore. This town of Roman origin has an outstanding literary and artistic tradition. It's claim to fame is being the birthplace of Titian and the artist's house, which is still standing, is now a museum. There is also a painting by Titian in the parish church (Madonna and child with Saints Titian and Andrew and Titian himself as Donator).

The town is clustered around what might justifiably be considered the parliament of Cadore. Palazzo delia Magnifica Comunita, built in 1525. Today it houses historical and patriotic reminders of the city and important early-Venetian finds uncovered in the excavations at Lagole. There is also an odd "museum of eyeglasses" which reviews the history of glass where and there are also many eyeglasses factories in the vicinity.

Riviera del Brenta Wine Zone, Venice Italy

RIVIERA DEL BRENTA WINE ZONE, VENICE PROVINCE

Venice Italy, Brenta Canal

The most ancient findings indicating vineyards and wine making in the area between the provinces of Padua and Venice, between the banks of the Brenta river and the "Graticolato romano" (Roman allotments) area, are associated with Etruscan and Roman traditions.New, more prestigious and specialized grape vines were planted in the days of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, when Venetian nobles would stock up with goods for their numerous, majestic feasts; and wines from these lands were welcome on the tables set for feasts with the Dogi.

The D.O.C. white wines are:Riviera del Brenta Bianco - with a mixture of grapes composed of Tocai friulano (minimum 50%) and other white grapes - Riviera del Brenta Chardonnayand Riviera del Brenta Pinot bianco (also sparkling and spumante), Riviera del Brenta Pinot grigioand Riviera del Brenta Tai.
The D.O.C. red wines are: Riviera del Brenta Rosso - with a mixture of grapes composed of Merlot (minimum 50%) and other red grapes - (also in novello and rosé versions), Riviera del Brenta Cabernet, Riviera del Brenta Cabernet riserva, Riviera del Brenta Merlot, Riviera del Brenta Raboso, Riviera del Brenta Raboso riserva, Riviera del Brenta Refosco dal peduncolo rosso and Riviera del Brenta Refosco dal peduncolo rosso riserva.

Riviera del Brenta was described in the eighteenth century as almost a suburb of Venice, where the river is an ideal extension of the Canal Grande. The villas of the nobility, numbering about 80, magnificent architectures and romantic gardens reflect in the meandering river, representing a unique historical, cultural, artistic and environmental centre that have inspired many renowned writers and poets, and which many famous painters have immortalised in their paintings. There are several traces evoking a peaceful past atmospheres in Dolo, a pretty town in the middle of the Riviera, expression of the magnificence of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. least four months. The acid undertone of Durella is reduced by the high concentration of sugar in this wine which assumes unmistakable accents.

Wine Roads in Italy

Sangiovese Grapes | Italy Food and Wine

SANGIOVESE GRAPES | ITALY'S FOOD AND WINE

sangiovese grapes

The name of the Sangiovese red grape is thought to be derived from "sanguis Jovis" meaning "the blood of Jove (Jupiter)." Its beginnings probably predate Roman times. Sangiovese is one of the two predominant red grapes (the other being nebbiolo) in Italy, where it is extensively planted, particularly in the central and southern regions. It is believed to have originated in Tuscany, where it dominates today. Sangiovese wines vary immensely depending on where the grapes are grown, how they're grown (the yield allowed), and which of the many subvarieties they are made from. Generally, Sangiovese wines are high in acid, with moderate to high tannins, and medium levels of alcohol. The flavours have a hint of earthiness and are usually not boldly fruity. Sangiovese wines are not deeply coloured and often have a slightly orange tint around the edges. Most are not long-lived and will last for less than 10 years.

Of the numerous strains of this grape, Sangiovese Grosso and Sangiovese Piccolo have taken the lead. Compared to Sangiovese Piccolo's smaller grape clusters, Sangiovese Grosso has larger, more loosely bunched grapes. It is also more widely cultivated and yields a larger crop. One strain of Sangiovese Grosso is Brunello ("little dark one"), so named for the brown hue of its skin. It is the grape responsible for the potent and long-lived Brunello di Montalcino wines, which are made totally from this variety. Prugnolo is Montepulciano's local name for the Sangiovese Grosso grape, which produces the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. Though Sangiovese is the dominant grape in Italy's well-known Chianti wines, for DOC qualification it must be blended with other varieties, including a percentage of white grapes. Fortunately, the maximum allowable Sangiovese (also known as Sangioveto in Chianti) went from 80 to 90 percent in 1984, which allows Chianti wines to have a more robust character. Some producers, particularly in Tuscany, are now making non-DOC wines either using only Sangiovese grapes or blending them with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon or the stronger-flavoured Cabernet Franc (Podere San Cresci). Cabernet is a particularly complimentary partner that lends bouquet, structure, and longevity. The Carmignano DOCG officially allows 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon to be blended with their elegant Sangiovese-based wines.

Soave Wine Zone, Verona Province

SOAVE WINE AREA IN THE PROVINCE OF VERONA, ITALY

soave city

The Soave wine area is perhaps the largest vineyard in Europe covering its 6,600 hectares on the hilly range in the eastern section of the province of Verona. It was the first area to obtain the D.O.C. designation in Italy in 1936. In more recent years, it was awarded two additional quality designations, the top quality for wine: Recioto di Soave D.O.C.G. and Soave Superiore D.O.C.G. The oldest areas of provenance are located on the hills between the municipalities of Monteforte d'Alpone and Soave and was defined in 1931; this is considered the theSoave "classica" area. The Colli Scaligeri is a sub-area and is traced from San Martino Buon Albergo to Roncà and includes the valleys of Val di Mezzane, Val d'Illasi, Val Tramigna and Val d'Alpone. The entire area has proved to be a perfect growing area for the Garganega grape for the maximum quality and taste.

Soave appears to derive from "Suaves", a name used to denominate the Suevic who settled in Italy under the rule of the Lombard King Alboin. The area was already known for its agricultural qualities in Roman times. It was a "pagus", a rural district contained within boundaries and perhaps divided into centurie (Roman allotments), renowned for its good locatio and the concentration of its cultivations. During the Middle Ages - when the Castle of Soave was built - wine-growing became increasingly important in this area.

As testimony of how wine entwines with the history of this area and how important the grape harvest was for the inhabitants of Soave in the fourteenth century, an engraving was made on a stone wall beneath the balcony of the Soave Court of Law, proudly claiming « This court of law was built seventy five years after the year one thousand and three hundred [...] when the people of the town pressed grapes with their feet ».

The D.O.C. wines are Soave, Soave classico, Soave spumante and Soave Colli Scaligeri.
Soave derives from a practised combination of Garganega grapes - at least 70% - with the Trebbiano di Soave, Chardonnay and Pinot bianco grapes, making up to 30% of the total. This blend makes for a straw yellow wine with some hints of green, an intense and delicate fragrance, and dry, medium-bodied, well-orchestrated and slightly bitter taste. Its geographical location and proximity to the main paths of communication to the south, and the historical and monumental importance of the territory, make Soave the third most important centre of interest in the Verona area, trailing only Verona and Lake Garda.

The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) connects vineyards and parish churches along an idyllic fifty kilometre itinerary, offering visitors beautiful landscapes and the chance to visit Roman churches, villas, castles and museums.

As well as the outstanding natural beauty of the rolling hills dotted with castles, villa and ancient rural churches, the winemaking culture offers a glimpse at the centuries-old traditions of the land, embodied best along the Soave wine route.

The three interconnecting valleys Illasi, Mezzane and d'Alpone have given rise to one of the most representative tastes of the Veneto, the Recioto and Soave wines. In your Verona holiday you can find one of the largest vine growing areas in Europe, with 6,600hectaresdedicated to the cultivation of the Garganega and Trebbiano grapes, the 'gold' of the gastronomy of Soave.

There are a total of 13 centres which devote their lives to winemaking on the hills, and each also houses its own magnificent monuments and charm. The eastern hills are one of the sources of pride of the Veneto Region, because they contain an atmosphere to be found only here; its food and wine are also unique.

Following the Soave wine route allows you to sample the food and wine, the hills, the natural beauty, each with its own particular flavour. The pleasures of the table combine with the enjoyment of nature, of history, culture and art, transforming one sinlge interest into an all-round and perfect vacation.

Talleggio Cheese, Lombardy Region

TALEGGIO CHEESE | LOMBARDY

Taleggio Cheese

Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavor is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang.Taleggio and similar cheeses have been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings. The cheese was solely produced in the Val Taleggio until the late 1800s, when some production moved to the Lombardy plain to the south.

The production takes place every autumn and winter when the cows are tired from a summer of grazing. First, the acidified milk is brought to the processing center from milk calves as per tradition that will mature within six to ten weeks. After the cheese is made it is set on wood shelves in chambers and washed once a week with a seawater sponge in order to prevent mold infestation and to prevent the cheese from forming an orange or rose crust. Today, the cheese is made from both pasteurized milk and from raw milk in factories. The factory-made cheeses are brighter and moderate in flavor. Spices, raisins, nuts and some lemons are also added.

The cheese can be eaten grated with salads such as radicchio or rucola and with spices and tomato on bruschetta. It melts well, and can be used in risotto or on polenta.

Terra dei Forti Val d'Adige Wine Zone, Verona Province

TERRA DEI FORTE WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE

terra dei forte wine zone

This area borders the provinces of Verona and Trento in the Valley of Adige, and counts 1,300 hectares of specialised vineyards, 20 wineries and 1,000 wine-growers, the majority of which are faithful to tradition, conveying sensations and emotions of bygone days to the present.

This overlooked valley sets between Veneto and Trentino extends along the banks of the Adige river, a valley shaped by quaternary glaciers and carved by the river that flows to the south from the Ceraino narrowing and opens up to the north between Mount Baldo and the Lessinia mountains, reaching the province of Trento. The area takes it name "Terre dei Forti" land of forts, for the 1800 fortifications built by Italy and the old Austria Hungarian Empire. 

It encompasses the municipalities of Rivoli Veronese, Brentino Belluno, Dolcè and Avio, connected by the Adige river, and the rows of vineyards. Early evidence of wine growing in this area date to the first century A.D., when Pliny the Elder, visiting the Verona area, described the surroundings as«... labruscae: hoc est vitis silvestris quod vocatur oenanthium...», making reference to Enantio, one of the local red wines made with native grapes.

White wines belonging to this D.O.C. are:Terradeiforti Valdadige Chardonnay, Terradeiforti Valdadige Pinot grigioand Terradeiforti Valdadige passito from the Chardonnay grape. The D.O.C. red wines are:Terradeiforti Valdadige Casetta, Terradeiforti Valdadige Casetta riserva, Terradeiforti Valdadige Enantio, Terradeiforti Valdadige Enantio riservaandTerradeiforti Valdadige Enantio passito.

The Adige river was an important means of communication between central Europe and the Po-Veneto plain, and boosted the economy in the area, whilst respecting local traditions and culture.

The itineraries of the Strada del Vino(Wine Road), which connects to the Trentino Wine Road at Borghetto d'Avio and to the other Wine Roads of Verona at Rivoli Veronese, reveal the marks left by history and nature. The Ceraino narrowing is striking, especially seen from the small church of Gaium and protected by eight forts built in the mid nineteenth century by the Austrians and Italians. After visiting the Somàn shelter, a prehistoric refuge at the foot of the Lessini Mountains, the Road leads visitors to the ancient villages of Dolcè and Peri, before moving onto the former borders where the lion of Saint Mark of the Serenissima Republic of Venice comes face to face with the Austrian eagle of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. And then, there is Borghetto with its wonderful view of the medieval Castle of Sabbionara d'Avio, the Shrine of Madonna della Corona, erected on a peak overlooking Trentino, and, lastly, the hills of the moraine amphitheatre of Rivoli, known as the theatre for Napoleon's epic battle against the Austrians in 1797, remembered today by a monument commissioned by Napoleon himself, and a fascinating museum in the town centre dominated by the rounded silhouette of the fort.

Tuscan Bread | Tuscany

TUSCAN BREAD | TUSCANY REGION

breads of tuscany 

Tuscan bread is one of the most important traditional bakery products in the region. Some towns in the province of Florence belong to the Città del Pane (‘bread towns’) circuit because they are producers of local traditional breads, for example Montaione and Montespertoli.

Natural rising, baking at moderate temperatures and the size of the loaf are features that distinguish Tuscan bread, but the main characteristic is its total lack of salt. The reason for this was the bitter 12th century dispute between Pisa and Florence when the coastal Republic of Pisa placed a blockade on the trade of salt to inland areas. In response to this, Florence resolved to bake bread without using salt and in the Divine Comedy two hundred years later Dante, addressing himself in the famous phrase of Paradise, wrote, ‘Tu proverai come sa di sale lo pane altrui’ (‘You will find how salty is the bread of others’).
According to another tradition, bread was simply too dear so Florentines did without.

Historically, the social organization of the peasantry in Tuscany where family groups were very numerous and lived in farms in isolated areas meant that bread was baked at home once a week and had to be enough to feed a lot of people. It had to be kept well wrapped in cloth and kept in the ‘madia’, the typical Tuscan bread cupboard, until the next batch was baked.

Many typical Tuscan recipes use dried Tuscan bread (ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, acquacotta, panzanella, fettunta, etc.). These dishes are the result of a desire not to waste anything, even old bread, as well as the fact that bread is blessed in church ceremonies at Easter and thus it is almost considered a sin to throw it away.

It is to be noted that the blandness of the bread goes very well with the lively flavour of Tuscan cuisine and highlights the taste of the dishes. Soft dough with lots of bubbles caused by rising makes it easy to appreciate the various sauces that go with Tuscan cooking thanks to the widespread use of local olive oil. Typical Tuscan bread should be baked in a wood-fired oven and still today, it keeps for a long time if well cooked.

Application has been made to obtain Protected Origin Denomination status for Tuscan bread in order to obtain a Europe-wide guarantee that its characteristics be adhered to. DOP Tuscan bread loaves can be in a variety of shapes (rectangular, oval, round, called bozza, long called filetto or filone), it should be 5-10cm high and weigh from between 500 grams to 2 kilos. Its crust is reddish-brown, and rather brittle and crunchy. The dough, which is white and has a slight taste of roasted hazelnut, is soft not stodgy and its water content is still good after a few days of baking. The flavour of the bread is strictly bland because of the complete lack of salt. Kneading and raising must be done according to tradition using water and top-grade soft-grain wheat flour.

Valpolicella Wine Zone, Veneto Italy

 VALPOLICELLA WINE AREA IN THE PROVINCE OF VERONA, ITALY

valpolicella wine

The Valpolicella Valley is the geographical area comprising three valleys crossed by the Negrar, Marano and Fumane streams, which flow down from the Lessini mountains, into the Adige river. The Valpolicella area defined as "classica" is the oldest wine making area, having fertile soil in a lush full landscape once described as "the garden of Verona". The original centre was extended over time and today the Valpolicella area encompasses the hills near Verona that run from Sant'Ambrogio alla Valpantena to the valley of Cazzano di Tramigna, an abundant and charming area where vines grow alongside cherries and olive groves.

Ernest Hemingway defined the wine from Valpolicella as "light, dry, red and sweet, just like the home of an agreeable brother".

Valpolicella Wine Zone Map

 

In the 5th century B.C., there were several references to Valpollicella as the "Retia", and the wine produced from its soil "Rético". Rètico was a wine made from dried grapes, referenced for its quality in classical works of literature by Virgil, Martial, Pliny the Elder and Columella. It would appear that passito wines or "recioti" were also described by Cassiodorus, secretary to the Ostrogothic King Theodoric (fifth century) who described it as "Acinatico". The grapes used to make the wines come from the Rondinella, Molinara and Corvina veronese vine variety, in percentages ranging from 20 to 40% for the Rondinella, from 5 to 25% for the Molinara and from 40 to 70% for Corvina. Other grapes such as the Negrara, Barbera and a few others are added at times in a percentage from 5 to 15%.

Wines included in this D.O.C designation are: Valpolicella, Valpolicella classico, Valpolicella superiore, Valpolicella classico superiore, Valpolicella Valpantena, Valpolicella Valpantena superiore, Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto della Valpolicella classico, Recioto della Valpolicella spumante, Recioto della Valpolicella Valpantena, Recioto della Valpolicella Valpantena spumante, Amarone della Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella classico, Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena and Amarone della Valpolicella riserva.

More recent modifications to the official guidelines state that the Valpolicella, Valpolicella classico, Valpolicella superiore, Valpolicella classico superiore, Valpolicella Valpantena and Valpolicella Valpantena superiore wines may be re-fermented from the skins left over from the preparation of Recioto wines from Valpolicella and/or Amarone della Valpolicella. These wines may use the addition designation of "ripasso".

Amarone has become very popular and is well appreciated around the globe, and is similar to Recioto. It is ruby red, tangy and dry, with bitter tones acquired after fermentation.

The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) proposes many itineraries through a number of towns, which are suitable for walking, riding bicycles or mountain-bikes. The Valpolicella spans captivating landscapes which, together with the vineyards, hid several enchanting and delightful attractions. Preserved in Valpolicella an unique history in monuments and buildings that can be fully appreciated even today, and that provide a perfect illustration of the passage of time in Romanic rural churches. Wonderful examples are the San Floriano and San Giorgio "Inganapoltron" churches, where recent excavations have uncovered the original structure of Roman temples.

Where to Eat in the Belluno Province

WHERE TO EAT IN THE BELLUNO PROVINCE

Foods of the Belluno Province

GREAT SLOW FOOD LOCATIONS

Slow Food restaurants in the Belluno Province of Veneto Italy.

Town Location

Canale d’Agordo

Alle Codole

Via XX Agosto, 27

Tel – 0437-590396

Pieve D’Alpago

Carota

Rifugio Carota

Località Carota, 2

Tel – 0437-478033

Seren del Grappa

San Siro

San Siro

Via San Siro, 8 A

Tel – 0439-44628

Where to Eat in the Padova Province

WHERE TO EAT IN THE PADOVA PROVINCE OF ITALY

Eating in the Padova Province

Where to Eat in the Padova Province of Veneto Italy.  Listing of great slow food restaurants to enjoy during your next vacation.

TOWN RESTAURANT

Camponogara

Hosteria Ai Mitraglieri

Piazza Marconi, 28

Tel – 041-5150872

Loreggia

Locanda Aurilia

Via Aurelia, 27

Tel – 049-5790395

Padova

L’anfora

Via dei Soncin, 13

Tel – 049-656629

Where to Eat in the Rovigo Province

 WHERE TO EAT IN THE ROVIGO PROVINCE

Where to Eat in the Treviso Province

Great places to eat in the Rovigo Province of Veneto Region, Italy.  Slow Food restaurants located in the Rovigo Province to try during your next vacation.

 

TOWN RESTAURANT

 

Castelnovo Bariano

Vallona

Corte Vallona

Via Caveto Nappi, 548

Tel – 0425-87656

Lusia

Bornio

Al Ponte

Via Bertolda, 27

Tel 0425-669890

Porto Tolle

Santa Giulia

Arcadia

Via Longa, 29

Tel – 0426-388334

Rosolina

Volto

Ristorante Al Monte

Via Venezia, 60

Tel – 0426-337132

Rovigo

Al Corno

Piazzetta Sottotenente Appiotti, 13

Tel – 0425-421284

Where to Eat in the Treviso Province

WHERE TO EAT IN THE TREVISO PROVINCE

Where to eat in Treviso Province

Where to eat in the Treviso Province of Veneto Italy.  Slow Food restaurants in the Treviso Province to enjoy during your next vacation.

 

TOWN RESTAURANT

Asolo

Enoteca Cà Derton

Piazza D’Anunzio, 11

Tel – 0423-529648

Casier

Dosson

Osteria Alla Pasina

Via Marie, 3

Tel – 0422-382112

Cison di Valmarino

Rolle

Al Monastero di Rolle

Via Enotria, 21

Tel – 0438-975423

Farra di Soligo

Col San Martino

Locanda Da Condo

Via Fontana, 134

Tel – 0438-898106

Reforntolo

Trattoria al Forno

Viale degli Alpini, 15

Tel – 0438-894496

Segusino

Milies

Da Mirka E Marcello

Via dei Narcisi, 5

Tel – 0423-979120

Sernaglia della Battaglia

Dalla Libera

Via Farra, 24

Tel – 0438-966295

Treviso

Vineria

Via Castellano, 4

Tel – 0422-210460

Volpago Del Montello

Bosco Del Falco

X Presa-via Batisti, 25

Tel – 0423-619797

Zero Branco

Scandolara

Trattoria Brunello

Via Scandolara, 35

Tel – 0422-345106

Where to Eat in the Venice Province

WHERE TO EAT IN VENICE

Where To Eat in Venice

Where to eat in the Venice Province of Veneto, Italy.  Slow food restaurants to try during your next vacation.

 

TOWN RESTAURANT

Chioggia

Sottomarina

All’arena

Via Vespucci, 4

Tel – 041-5544265

Cona

Conetta

Al Portico

Via Lenardo da Vinci, 14

Tel – 0426-509178

Jesolo

Lido di Jesolo

Alla Grigliata

Via Buonarroti, 17

Tel – 0421-372025

Jesolo

Cortellazzo

La Taverna

Via Amba Alagi, 11

Tel 0421-980113

Meolo

Roma

Rivera, 18 Giugno, 24

Tel – 0421-61280

Mira

Marano

Da Conte

Via Caltana, 133

Tel – 041-479571

Mirano

Campocroce

Belvedere da Pulliero

Via Braguolo, 40

Tel – 041-486624

Mirano

Scaltenigo

La Ragnatela

Via Caltana, 79

Tel – 041-436050

Noale

Agli Spalti

Via Bregolini, 32

Tel – 041-5800993

Noventa di Piave

Cà Landello

Via Santa Maria di Campagna, 13

Tel – 0421-307010

Pianiga

Da Paeto

Via Patriarcato, 78

Tel – 041-469380

San Michele Al Tagliamento

San Giorgio al Tagliamento

Al Cjasal

Via Nazionale, 30

Tel – 0431-510595

Venezia

Alla Botte

San Marco, 5482 – Calle della Bissa

Tel – 041-5209775

Venezia

Antica Adelaide

Cannaregio, 3278-Calle Priuli Racchetta

Tel – 041-5232629

Venezia

Dalla Marisa

Cannaregio, 652 B – Fondamenta San Giobbe

Tel – 041-720211

Venezia

Mestre

Moro

Via Piave, 192

Tel – 041-926456

Where to Eat in the Verona Province

WHERE TO EAT IN THE VERONA PROVINCE

Where to Eat in Venice Province

Where to eat in the Verona Province of Veneto Italy. Great Slow Food restaurants in the Verona Province to try during your next vacation.

 

TOWN RESTAURANT

Affi

Ca Orsa

Localita Carorsa, 7B

Tel – 045-7235039

Brentino Belluno

Belluno Veronese

Roeno

Via Mama, 5

Tel – 045-7230110

Brenzone

Castelletto

Alla Fassa

Via Nascimbeni, 13

Tel – 045-7430319

Brenzone

Castelletto

Al Pescatore

Via Imbarcadero, 31

Tel – 045-74330702

Cavaion Veronese

Villa

Villa

Strada Villa, 32

No telephone number

Fumae

Enoteca Della Valpolicella

Via Osan, 45

Tel – 045-6839146

Isola della Scala

Risotteria Melotti

Piazza Martiri della Libertà, 3

Tel – 045-7300236

Lazise

Il Porticciolo

Lungolago Marconi, 22

Tel – 045-7580254

Montecchia di Crosara

Pergola

Alpone

Via Pergola, 17

Tel – 045-6175387

San Zeno di Montagna

Taverna Kus

Via Castello, 14

Tel – 045-7285667

Sorgà

Da Laura

Via Battisti, 5

Tel – 045-7370222

Verona

Al Bersgliere

Via Dietro Pallone, 1

Tel – 045-8004824

Verona

Trezzolano

Al Parigin

Via Trezzolano, 13

Tel – 045-988124

Verona

Al Pompiere

Vicolo Regina d’Ungheria, 5

Tel – 045-8030537

Verona

Pana e Vino

Via Garibaldi, 16 A

Tel – 045-8008261

Wine Roads of the Veneto Region

THE WINE ROADS OF THE VENETO REGION OF ITALY

Travel Wine Roads of Italy's Veneto

TheVeneto Region is among the leading wine-producing regions of Italy, both for quality and quantity. The Veneto region has over 20 DOC zones and a variety of sub-categories.  Many of the region's wines, both dry and Spumanti white and red wine, are internationally known and appreciated. The varied geographical makeup of the region allows of the cultivation of a variety of grape types. This Geo-diversity has resulted in zones of specialized micro climates that help produce specialized wines found throughout the regions; examples are the Amarone from Valpolicella, Prosecco from Valdobbiadene, and high quality whites and spumante from Soave and Gambellare.

The three best known DOC wines in the Veneto region are: Bardolino, from the town with the same name and surrounding the shores of Garda Lake, Valpolicella, and Soave. Other noteworthy wines produced here are the white Bianco di Custoza, the excellent sparkling Prosecco, the Breganze, and the Amarone (a rich and powerful red from the Verona province). If you travel to the Treviso area, look for the little-known Clinton, a wine that is banned from distribution because it does not conform to the DOC standards, but is produced in limited quantities for local consumption.

The importance of wine making in this region is underscored by the creation in 1885 of the very first Italian school for vine growing and oenology. In addition, Veneto was the first region to constitute a Strada del Vino or "wine road". This first wine-touring road featured special road signs providing information on vines and the wines they were made into, and joined the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano DOC zones crossing a series of hilly vineyards.

One of the best ways to explore the wine zones is by bike touring or walking tours. Many secondary roads encircle the wines of zones and the city and turned it to the wine road by local tourism boards. Though the road is open to traffic most of it to understand that they are apt to find cyclist and walkers out exploring the countryside. Yes many of the roads are in the hills because the best place to grow the vines to produce grapes is an area with sloping soil for the drainage. But this does not mean you have to be a world-class bicyclist or hiker to enjoy the area. With some careful planning you can immerse yourself into the small authentic villages, history, and enjoy some of the great food and wine Italy is helpful. If you come on vacation to visit Italy you can grasp what it means to be Italian or Italian culture without seeing the country from the perspective of the hills

The most appreciated wines in the region come from the provinces of Treviso, Verona, Padova, Venice, and Vicenza. The area around Verona, with its temperate climate and hilly surrounding, is believed to have cultivated grapes since the Bronze Age. These wines zones make a perfect destination to relax and enjoy nature by exploring by bicycle or foot. There are areas accessible for all levels of cyclist and walkers, and what better way to relax after a good day of riding or hiking with a glass of quality wine.

Travel Wine Roads of Italy, Veneto Wine Map

Wine Zones of the Veneto by Province

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