Verona is considered one of the principal wine towns of the Veneto wine region. The food of Verona is simple and hearty to match the robust, fruity wines. Think rice, peas, beans, polenta, and meat. Lots of meats.
Some say that the biggest contribution that the Veronese made to Italian cuisine is the bollito misto (mixed boiled meats), often served with a sauce of bone marrow and bread crumbs, called peará.
Here’s a quick guide to food in Verona to help you eat like a local.Buon Appetito!
Food in Verona
Risotto: Rice is widely grown in Northern Italy, so risotto is a popular dish in Verona. Even better, the area produces one of the top rice varieties called Vialone Nano. Try risotto al tastasal, risotto al radicchio, and risotto all’Amarone for an authentic meal in Verona.
• Risotto al Tastasal is a sausage-based risotto of ground pork seasoned with salt and lots of pepper.
• Risotto al Radicchio is made of the bitter Italian vegetable radicchio. The dish gets its sweetness with the addition of onion, pancetta, or red wine.
• Risotto all’Amarone gets its flavor from the region’s most powerful wine, Amarone della Valpolicella. It is a red wine made of grapes that are dried for three-to-four months before fermentation. The wine is an intense red with flavors and aromas of dried fruits, tobacco, and dried spices.
Bigoli is the signature pasta of the Veneto. It is similar in shape to spaghetti, but thicker. Traditionally it was made of buckwheat flour, but today wholewheat flour gives it a slightly darker finish. Sauces vary around the Veneto, but in Verona it can be found with duck (anatra), donkey (asino), and horse (cavallo). The most traditional is bigoli in salsa with salted sardines and onions.
Gnocchi is another traditional pasta of the region. The potato-filled pasta dumplings are typically served with a horse meat stew.
Horse is a popular food in Verona. The meat is served as bistecca di cavallo (horse steak), sfilacci (shredded and cured), and pastisada (braised). Pastisada dates back to the 5th century AD. It is said that on September 30, 489 a battle was fought between the King of Italy, Odoacer and the King of Ostrogoths, Theodoric.
After the battle was won by Theodoric thousands of fallen horses littered the land. The people were so hungry they fed off the meat. Since it was a large amount of meat it was left to marinade in red wine with spices and vegetables, then slow cooked. The recipe has been passed down from generation to generation.
Other main courses include cod, beef cheek, and veal liver. All served with polenta.
Polenta is a traditional side dish of the region. It is served soft and creamy, fresh off the stove or left to cool for half a day, then cut into squares and lightly grilled.
Pandoro is a Veronese cake that is popular the world over during the holiday season. Its name comes from its golden color, a result of numerous egg yolks. It’s made in a star-shape mold and sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving. It is served with different types of creams or sauces, including mascarpone, melted chocolate, or cream.
We hope you enjoy some good food in Verona. Drop us a note and tell us your favorite traditional dishes from around Italy.
Author’s Bio: Valerie Quintanilla is an American travel and wine writer living in the Northern Italy’s Langhe region. Follow her expat chronicles on her blog, www.GirlsGottaDrink.com,Twitter, and Instagram. While marketing is her official trade, she is also a travel planner and wine tour guide.