ARCOLE WINE AREA, VERONA PROVINCE
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.
BARDOLINO WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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.
CHIANINA OX | ITALY'S FOOD AND WINE
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.
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Food and Wine in Venice and the Surrounding Area
CICCHETTI: A VENICE SNACK 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! 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'.
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CUSTOZA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
GARDA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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
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 | LOMBARDY
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.
HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE 1500-1700
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.
HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE
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.
HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE - MIDDLE AGES
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.
HISTORY OF ITALIAN CUSINE | PREHISTORY
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.
INGREDIENTS IN TRUE ITALIAN CUSINE
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.
LUGANA WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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 WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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
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.
PIAVE RIVER WINE ZONE, TREVISO
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. 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.
SANGIOVESE GRAPES | ITALY'S FOOD AND WINE
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 AREA IN THE PROVINCE OF VERONA, ITALY
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.
TALEGGIO CHEESE | LOMBARDY
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 FORTE WINE ZONE, VERONA PROVINCE
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 REGION
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 AREA IN THE PROVINCE OF VERONA, ITALY
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".
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 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.
Enoteca Cà Derton
Piazza D’Anunzio, 11
Tel – 0423-529648
Osteria Alla Pasina
Via Marie, 3
Tel – 0422-382112
Cison di Valmarino
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
Trattoria al Forno
Viale degli Alpini, 15
Tel – 0438-894496
Da Mirka E Marcello
Via dei Narcisi, 5
Tel – 0423-979120
Sernaglia della Battaglia
Via Farra, 24
Tel – 0438-966295
Via Castellano, 4
Tel – 0422-210460
Volpago Del Montello
Bosco Del Falco
X Presa-via Batisti, 25
Tel – 0423-619797
Via Scandolara, 35
Tel – 0422-345106
WHERE TO EAT IN THE VERONA 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.
Localita Carorsa, 7B
Tel – 045-7235039
Via Mama, 5
Tel – 045-7230110
Via Nascimbeni, 13
Tel – 045-7430319
Via Imbarcadero, 31
Tel – 045-74330702
Strada Villa, 32
No telephone number
Enoteca Della Valpolicella
Via Osan, 45
Tel – 045-6839146
Isola della Scala
Piazza Martiri della Libertà, 3
Tel – 045-7300236
Lungolago Marconi, 22
Tel – 045-7580254
Montecchia di Crosara
Via Pergola, 17
Tel – 045-6175387
San Zeno di Montagna
Via Castello, 14
Tel – 045-7285667
Via Battisti, 5
Tel – 045-7370222
Via Dietro Pallone, 1
Tel – 045-8004824
Via Trezzolano, 13
Tel – 045-988124
Vicolo Regina d’Ungheria, 5
Tel – 045-8030537
Pana e Vino
Via Garibaldi, 16 A
Tel – 045-8008261