Verona, Italy: What to Eat & Drink
Taglieri at Tradision
Controfiletto di Cavallo
Gnocchi with Ragu di Asino
Risotto with truffle and pistachio
Crostini at El Bacarin
Prepare your palate.
Part of the fun on going on a vacation is dining on local fare. Italy is a gastronomic paradise with each region offering something different.
The colder northern regions are known for excellent white wines, hearty dishes, and the use of butter in cooking.
Cavallo (horse) and asino (donkey) are staple meats in Verona and abroad. While many of my readers hail from the U.S. and may find this strange, it is actually quite common to eat these animals in several parts of the world, including Europe.
On my first visit to Verona, I decided to eat like a local and was pleasantly surprised- horse and donkey are delicious. We enjoyed controfiletto di cavallo in a cozy little eatery called Alcova del Frate, which boasted a good wine list and other tasty dishes. The medallions of meat literally melted in my mouth.
Another place to try is Osteria Monte Baldo where homemade gnocchi is as light as a feather and topped with a savory ragu di asino (donkey ragu). Tender chunks of savory meat in a wine based sauce.
Not in the mood for equestrian meats? Try a local specialty like pearà, which in Veronese means "peppered." This bread pap is deeply rooted in tradition and was a common peasant food. Flavored with marrow broth and lots of black pepper, it is eaten with pork sausage-cotecchino- and / or boiled meats. It's a perfect comfort food in winter when it's freezing outside. There is a good recipe for pearà HERE.
Risotto is extremely popular in the north of Italy. Porta Mancino is a risotteria serving a variety of rice dishes that will please any palate. Daring combinations involving unconventional ingredients like whiskey or coffee will surprise you. I tried a black truffle and pistachio blend that was divine.
If you get thirsty, Verona boasts plenty of wine bars. Two of my favorites are El Becarin(a historical wine bar) and Tradision (new bar that does not have a website yet). Both offer tasty snacks and excellent choices for drinks.
The most common cocktail consumed in northern Italy is the spritz, which is Aperol and white wine with a splash of soda water (or Aperol and prosecco). There are also some other variations, such as using Campari in place of Aperol, which makes it taste a bit less sweet.
Personally, I prefer to drink the wonderful Prosecco that is available EVERYWHERE for as little as 2,00 euro a glass. The Valdobbiadene region- the best place to grow prosecco grapes- and its surrounding areas produce an array of delicious wines.
The Veronese are as spoiled as the Tuscans when it comes to fine vintages. Other local wines to try are: Soave (white), Valpolicella Ripasso (red), and Lugana (white).
What do you eat when you're drinking cocktails and wine? If you go to Tradision, I recommend the taglieri, which is a board of sliced meats and cheeses. If you go to El Bacarin, I suggest ordering an array of crostini. Whether is anchovies, eggs, artichoke spread or meatballs, they make the perfect accompaniment to your libation.
One crostini spread that you must try is crema di baccalà (creamed codfish), which is not only a local specialty but also delicious.
Remember, keep an open mind. Part of the joy of traveling is to experience new things- including flavors and textures. Thank you for reading!
C. De Melo