You can discover and embrace the five best dishes of Veneto as you explore the culinary landscape that encompasses mountains and lagoons, the customary richness of the Venetian Empire and the open-minded cultural influence of kingdoms from across the Mediterranean.
The region of Veneto thrives with distinguished gastronomy changing from villages in the Dolomites to towns along the coast of Lake Garda, prestigious villas looking over the Brenta Canal to the renowned banquets filling the palaces of Venice.
A wealth of culinary influences and cultural inspiration, from techniques to flavor profiles, have helped develop these 5 transformational delicacies that are unique to Veneto.
The delicious appetizer balances the bitterness of the radicchio with the comforting saltiness of fontina cheese for an intensely satisfying flavor. The hearty and delicious meal is best served in the colder months of fall and winter at restaurants overlooking the stunning scenery of Veneto. The decadent combination of cheese, butter, salt, and freshly grated black truffle encompasses the floodplains of Veneto, offering a soothing respite from a harsh winter chill. The preparation involving vigorous whisking over an open flame is enough to heat up the kitchen, and the addition of bitter greens adds an extra layer of freshness to the luscious texture.
The famous and treasured dish of Risi e Bisi is typical in the Veneto region and consists of the basic ingredients of risotto, peas, and pancetta. The deceptively simple dish has grown to legendary status as the main dish served on the National Day of Venezia, rising from the myth stating the doge of Venice ate Risi e Bisi during the feast of San Marco. A true celebration of the plate is served by chef Luca Marchiori, who prepares the rice all’onda or “on the waves,” referring to the amount of liquid used to reflect the flooding nature of Venice. Chef Marchiori uses Prosecco from the hills of Valdobbiadene outside of Venice as a luxurious accompaniment.
The traditional dish Folpi alla Veneziana is Venetian dialect for polpi or “octopus Venetian style.” The name refers to the dish’s origins from the city on the lagoon, which utilized the fresh, accessible ingredients from the sparkling waters surrounding the city. The octopus stars in the dish but also highlights the ways Venetian residents utilized local and available produce ignored by members of the aristocracy. The carefully prepared dish personifies culinary tradition and the return to locally sourced fresh ingredients, a culture that you will indulge in as you visit restaurants overlooking the azure lagoon of Venice.
Polenta e Uccelli represents a staple of Veneto’s alpine region. The dish translates to “polenta and birds,” referring to how hunters once created a network of nets in the trees before scaring the birds along the forest floor into the prepared ringed web in the canopy. The simple ingredients are masterfully prepared for a rich, layered flavor of corn polenta, sage leaves, lardons, larks, and birds. The poultry often tops polenta where the cornmeal can absorb the dripping juices for a more robust taste in every bite. In true Venetian style, the Veneto version of Polenta e Uccelli has a fattier quality for a more versatile finished dish.
The famous Italian dessert of tiramisu blends perfectly balanced flavors of coffee, seductively light cream and crisp pieces of crunchy cookies invented as a complete dish in the 1960s. Legendary chef, Roberto Linguanotto, created the dessert in the town of Treviso, by combining strong coffee with mascarpone cream and sponge as a “pick me up,” or, in Italian, tiramisu. Other myths of the dessert’s creation date back to 17th-century Tuscany but by the time tiramisu reached Veneto, the citizens believed the enveloped flavors and intense coffee layers provided supported the lavish lifestyles and stories of the legendary city of Giacomo Casanova.
If you’re salivating for a decadent slice of genuine Tiramisu or dreaming of a mouthwatering fondue, then let the curated and customizable Zicasso tours on our Italy Vacation Page sweep you away or find more specific mouthwatering cuisine in destinations from around the world with our Food & Wine Travel Guide. For further travel advice and information on Italy, don’t hesitate to consult our travel specialists by completing a Trip Request or contacting us on 1-888-265-9707.