Every city of Italian art has its «gastronomic treasures»!
Verona is a romantic and ancient city full of curiosities and charming places to visit, but there is not only that.
As in all the art cities of Italy it also has many gastronomic «treasures» to discover.
But before we talk about the kitchen you have to know that Verona is very famous for red wine.
Let’s talk first about wine: the most famous is the Valpolicella and everywhere in Verona you will find this name.
In particular Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone della Valpolicella.
Amarone is the king of Venetian wines and one of the most famous and expensive reds in Italy.
It is important to know because the names of these wines will help you understand some recipes!
And if you’re more interested here is an article dedicated to the wines of Verona.
Una segunda premisa muy importante es que la cocina del norte de Italia es muy diferente a la del centro-sur de Italia, aquí la pasta y la pizza no son muy tradicionales, mientras que la polenta (un puro eco con harina de maíz) es muy típica pero no la única.
About polenta, so you understand how typical it is of the north:
Southern Italians sometimes use the term polentoni to refer to the people of the north, vice versa those of the north call the others terroni.
Both are derogatory terms, so don’t say these words when you’re in italy or you’ll seem very rude.
In addition to the recipe, potatoes are very popular, on which gnocchi and rice are made, especially the risottoanother typical dish from northern Italy.
Then there are many recipes of meat and vegetables that are typical and very tasty.
What unites all this cuisine is that it is much less «famous» and international than you normally find in an Italian restaurant abroad, so be prepared to be surprised.
Now we can go into details of what are the most typical dishes of Verona:
Empecemos con un gran clásico, el risotto Amarone.
El Amarone es el vino del que hablaba al principio que se combina con otro ingrediente especial de esta tierra, el vialone nanoA very good type of rice.
It is medium-small and rounded, resists cooking very well and tends to absorb liquids and flavors with them.
Pastissada de caval y Polenta:
La pastissada de caval puede que no guste a todo el mundo y lo entiendo, porque el ingrediente principal es un animal que a muchos no le gusta, el caballo y sé que la idea de comerlo puede causar polémica.
Sigue siendo cierto que en muchas zonas de Italia es una antigua tradición comer carne de caballo y Verona es el lugar del norte de Italia donde esta carne es muy común.
En concreto, la pastissada es una forma particular, en la que se sobre cocina la carne hasta que se rompe en trocitos muy finos y se convierte en una salsa muy sabrosa con la que aliñar la polenta.
Risotto al tastasal:
Otro risotto, esta vez con salami fresco, muy picante y sabroso.
the name tastasal in dialect means «salt flavor», and the origin seems to come from the practice of salting and seasoning pork and then making salami.
In particular, it is said that this risotto was made with freshly prepared and still fresh salami paste, before salad, because by tasting this risotto the cooks could understand if there was enough seasoning in the meat to let the salami mature for much longer.
Polenta e Osei
Si buscas osei in the Italian dictionary you will not find anything, in fact it is a word of the Venetian/Lombard dialect and means birds, especially small ones, which in fact are the central ingredient of this recipe.
Birds such as thrushes, larks or robins, are cooked slowly on a grill or in a skillet and seasoned with bacon, butter and sage and served on a bed of warm golden polenta.
But beware because «polenta e osei» is also the name of a typical dessert from Bergamo, made with polenta, almonds and chocolate!
The gnocchi are a classic and are typical of various northern Italian regions, like Veneto and Trentino. They are a potato based pasta.
This particular form is used to preserve the salsa and the flavors with which they are seasoned.
It can be found with different sauces, the most typical of Verona are the gnocchi with cheese castelmagno, often with truffles.
A tip, if you try gnocchi and you fall in love with this recipe, you can try to make them at home.
For example, this is una buena receta de gnocchi clásicosbut I prefer make them with pumpkin, as in this recipe I find them even more delicious.
Make an effort and try this recipe at home, I assure you that they are very easy to make and are better than you can find in the supermarket!
You may not know the Pandoro but I assure you that he is well known in Italy, he is the Panettone And even if it’s a dessert and not a plate, it deserves a space.
Its name literally comes from «gold leaf», and is undoubtedly the most famous dessert in the Veneto region.
The truth is that there is always a rivalry for Christmas in every house between choosing the dessert Pandoro o Panettone (personally, I choose the first).
The secret of its goodness is perhaps in the butteriness of the dough, in the mixture of aromas and in the long yeast.
But certainly the handmade pandoros that can be found in Verona during the Christmas period are a bomb, certainly superior and not little compared to those that can be found in the supermarket!
The best thing to combine with pandoro? A good cream based on egg and mascarpone that I discovered while living in Italy. If you do not know, I recommend this recipebecause it is an easy cream to make and easy to combine.
¿And the wines?
Finally, here I will give you a very simple explanation among the wines of Valpolicella, so that you choose the best.
If you want to know more, I spoke to an Italian winemaker who helped me write this article to better understand wines.
Valpolicella wines are made with 3 typical grapes from the area of Verona that are almost not grown anywhere else in the world and this makes us understand how old is the history of wine production here.
The Valpolicella Classico represents the basic version but coming from the oldest and recognized tradition of making these wines, then there is a slightly wider area in which the Valpolicella but it cannot be called classic, however also among these there are wines of excellent quality.
The Valpolicella Ripasso is for its special method of elaboration a wine that, although it is made with the same grapes and in the same winery, is a little more alcoholic and generally softer and sweeter.
Finally, the Amarone the King of Valpolicella is a very strong wine, almost always with 16 degrees, very intense flavor and can age many years. And clearly it costs more than others.
Now that you have the basics you can go to restaurants in Verona and try what interests you most.
So bon voyage and bon appetit!