Typical Veronese Dishes: VIALONE NANO RICE AND TORTELLINI FROM VALEGGIO
When we talk about typical dishes of Verona up at the top of the list is the famous and esteemed rice Vialone Nano Veronese IPG. The rice fields are located in the interior of the province in the vast plains that run from Mozzecane (a hamlet of Villafranca where one finds the Castelo Scagligero worth visiting. It is the home of several exhibits, events and concerts) all the way up to Trevenzuolo passing by the most important producing rice area, Isola della Scala. Here during the months of September and October one can participate in the rice fair which includes activities such as a tasting of risotto and other rice delicacies, workshops and events related to rice and its production. The typical dish is the risotto all’isolana which is topped with chopped pork loin and veal. Other local recipes are risotto married with Amarone, risottos of pumpkin or tastasal which is a very flavorful mixture similar to what is used in making sausages.
A Visit to the Rice Factories
To experience this food in a fun and different way, one can visit the rice factories which often organize tastings and tours. La Pila Vecia Riseria Ferron is the oldest still operating in Italy, dating back to 1650. Here you can participate in a demonstration of techniques related to rice production used centuries ago. The Riseria Melotti organizes children activities. There are many more rice houses that organize events and tastings. For more info: www.risovialonenanoveronese.it
Tortellino of Valeggio, Bollito e Pearà
Another typical dish of the area is the tortellini of Valeggio. These tortellinis are made by hand using extremely thin pasta and are filled with meat, very often served in broth as a Sunday afternoon lunch and followed by another classic dish Bollito con Pearà, a bread sauce accompanied by peppered beef, corn-beef tongue, calf’s head and other delicacies.
The tortelinni of Valeggio is also referred to as the Knot of Love.
Legend tell us of an impossible love between a captain of the Visconti troops and a water nymph who swears her allegiance to him and presents him with a handkerchief of golden silk. To remember the day of escape the women in the countryside pay homage to the two lovers by pulling "a pasta as thin as silk, knotted like the golden handkerchief and enriched with a delicate stuffing": the Love Knot, or tortellini Valeggio.
The Feast of the Love Knot is celebrated on the June anniversary of the legend, with a mile long table prepared on the Visconti Bridge of the medieval village of Borghetto sul Mincio. Over three thousand diners feast under the stars ending with a triumphant display of fireworks. For more info and tickets: www.ristorantivaleggio.it.