Venetian cuisine (from the city of Venice or more widely in the region of Veneto, Italy) has a centuries-long history, and it is significantly different from the other cuisines of North Italy as well as neighbouring Austria and Slavic countries, despite having something in common with all these.
Venetian cuisine may be divided into three main categories, based on geography: the coastal areas, the plains, and the mountains. Each one (especially the plains) can have many local cuisines, each city with its own dishes.
The most common dish is polenta, which is cooked in various ways within the local cuisines of Veneto.
Typical of many coastal areas, communities along the coast of the Laguna Veneta serve mainly seafood dishes.
In the plains it is very popular to serve grilled meat (often by a barbecue, and in a mix of pork, beef and chicken meat) together with grilled polenta, potatoes or vegetables. Other popular dishes include risotto, rice cooked with many different kinds of food, from vegetables, mushrooms, pumpkin or radicchio to seafood, pork meat or chicken livers. Bigoli (a typical Venetian fresh pasta, similar to a thicker kind of spaghetti), fettuccine (hand-made noodles), ravioli and the similar tortelli (filled with meat, cheese, vegetables or pumpkin) and gnocchi (potatoes-made fresh pasta), are fresh and often hand-made pasta dishes (made of eggs and wheat flour), served together with meat sauce (ragù) often made with duck meat, sometime together with mushrooms or peas, or simply with melted butter.
Cuisine from the mountain areas is mainly made of pork or game meat, with polenta, as well as mushrooms or cheeses (made by cow milk), and some dish from Austrian or Tyrolese tradition such as canederli or strudel. A typical dish is casunziei, hand-made fresh pasta similar to ravioli.
The following are dishes typical of the three subregions of the Veneto. The page for Venetian language provides additional information on writing and pronouncing the dishes' names.
Venice and the lagoon
- Rixi e bixi: a poor but tasty dish consisting of a simple risotto with pancetta and peas cooked in a broth.
- Sarde in saor: fried sardines, dipped in partially fried onion in the same oil in which they are fried sardines, raisins and pine nuts (traditionally only by winter to increase the calories), other spices and sprinkled with plenty of vinegar. One leaves everything to marinate at least one night.
- Mołeche: small green species crabs (Carcinus maenas), when they arrived at the peak of phase changes and then soft, they are fried. The mołeche are very valuable because the process of changing the water brackish lagoons lasts a few hours, the armor back hard and immediately return to be called maxenete.
- Rixoto de gò: rice prepared with goby (of the Gobius ophiocephalus species), also known as gò, typical fish of the Venetian Lagoon.
- Pasta e faxioi: bean soup with noodles (typically long pasta rough).
- Połenta e schie: small shrimp from the lagoon (gray mud, gray-brown from boiled), fried and perched on a bed of white polenta very soft.
- Sepe al nero: cuttlefish cooked with their ink lagoon.
- Fegato ała venesiana: a high-class Venetian plate of liver, chopped and cooked together with chopped onions.
- Bigołi in salsa: bigoli pasta served with an anchovy and onion sauce.
Among the many Venetian desserts, the most well-known are: the fritołe (or frittelle), the baicołi (or baicoli), xałeti (or zaletti), the pinsa (or pinza), the gałani (or galani), and the fugasa (or focaccia).
Vicenza, along with Venice, has one of the most distinctive cuisines in the Veneto. Previously, the Vicentians were often referred to as the magnagati or mangiagatti (meaning "cat eaters") due to the alleged presence of cats in their cuisine (caused from poverty in the past and during World War II), though the cooking of cats is now illegal in Italy. Typical plates of the city and the surrounding area include:
- Asiago cheese
- Rubbio celery
- Serexe de Marostega (Marostica cherries)
- Nanto truffles
- Bassano del Grappa asparaguses
- I bixi de Lumignan and i bixi de Borso ("bixi" means peas)
- Semi-liquid polenta (sometimes served with tomato sauce or puree)
- Torexani de Breganse
- Rotzo potatoes
- Bacałà ała Visentina
- Rixi e bixi (rice and peas)
- Cren (Horseradish)
The rest of the Veneto
- Tiramisu: one of the most popular desserts in Italy and Europe, it is made with fresh eggs, mascarpone, Marsala and dark-coffee-dipped savoiardi (ladyfinger biscuits).
- Mandorlato: typical Venetian hard torrone, made in the town of Cologna Veneta.
- Pasta e faxioi ała veneta: a soup made by pasta, beans and bacon.
- Grigliata mista: mixed grilled meats, as pork ribs, pork sausages, pork chops, chicken breasts, bacon strips, beef ribs, always served together with grilled polenta.
- Gran bollito veneto (or bollito misto alla veneta): mixed boiled meats, beef, hen, beef tongue, cotechino, cooked together.
- Galletto alla brace: grilled cockerel.
- Maiale al latte: braised pork meat, cooked in the milk.
- Tripe ała veneta: tripe cooked with vegetables, butter and olive oil, then to be served dressed with grated grana cheese.
- Radicchio alla griglia: a Trevisan-based plate of grilled endive leaves.
- Porchetta trevigiana: often stuffed inside a panino.
- Gallina alla canèvera: a dish from a very old Padua or Vicenza tradition, dating back to the Middle-Age, in which hen meat is boiled together with mixed vegetables inside a pork bladder.
- Połenta bianca: a variety of polenta made by biancoperla cornmeal, it is typical of the plain areas but above all of the territories of Padua and Venice, and it has a white and not yellow colour.
- Sfilacci di cavallo: frayed dried horse meat, typical of Padua and its province, it can be traditionally used to dress a bigoli dish or eaten alone, but in modern years it is popular also to dress a pizza.
- Oca in onto: a goose marinated for some day in salt or herbes and under its own fat, to be cooked later, typical of the area of Padua.
- Bigołi ał'arna: bigoli pasta served together with a duck meat sauce.
- Spezzatino di musso: donkey stew.
- Połenta e oxełi: roasted small birds, as quails, served together with polenta - this dish, at the time of the Republic of Venice, was exported to East Lombardy too, and in Bergamo a cake took the same name (polenta e osei).
- Pastìn: a typical food from Belluno, consists of mixed pork and beef meat, cut anyhow. Spices may be added in it, and this food is often eaten along with polenta.
- Brasato all'amarone: braised beef meat cooked with Amarone wine, often served together with polenta.
- Pastisada de caval: a dish from Veronese cuisine, dating back to the Middle-Age, in which horse meat is prepared with laurel, nutmeg, cloves, salt, pepper, vegetables, flour and beef broth, then served together with polenta.
- Lesso con la pearà: typical dish of Verona area, it consists of mixed meats boiled together with vegetables, beef and veal marrow, and broth.
- Tortellini di Valeggio: hand-made fresh pasta of tortellini kind, stuffed with a mix of beef and pork meats, and vegetables, usually served with melted butter and sage, they are typical of the town of Valeggio sul Mincio on the river Mincio, southwest of Veron.
- Riso Vialone Nano: a variety of rice typical of southern Veronese plain (Bassa Veronese), it is the rice used to prepare risotti across Veneto.
- Soppressa: typical Venetian soft salami, it can be garlic-added.
- Patata mericana: sweet potato; a typical fall dish, it can be served boiled or roasted.
- Bixàto (or Anguilla): eel; a typical dish of south-eastern Veneto, in the delta of river Po, it can be roasted or fried.
- Frittura di pesce: fried seafood served together with polenta; typical dish of the coast of Adriatic Sea.
Drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Prosecco: a popular sparkling wine, which is often secco, which is dry, or amabile, which gives it a relatively sweet taste.
- Pinot grigio: one of the most common and prestigious wines of the region.
- Bianco di Custoza: also one of the best wines of the region, it is cultivated in the Soave region near lake Garda.
- "Venetian cuisine". veneziaSi, Italy. Retrieved August 26, 2011.