Speciali del Veneto
We are delighted to bring you specialties from the extraordinary northeastern city of Venice. Venetian cuisine has a centuries-old tradition with influences from all over the Mediterranean and as far away as Scandinavia. Its important role as a trading monopoly, especially the spice trade, contributed to a cuisine many characterize as exotic and rich.
From the heights of the Dolomites across the Po Valley to the shores of the Adriatic Sea, Veneto is one of Italy’s largest and wealthiest regions, due mostly to its history. The Republic of Venice—which included the area that is now the Veneto region—had been an independent state for over 1000 years, from the late 7th century until 1797, when, weakened by many wars, it was forced to surrender to Napoleon Bonaparte. According to one website, “At its peak, Venice’s annual trading exceeded that of any other city in the world and it was probably the greatest naval and merchant sea-trading power in the Mediterranean. Its shipyards could build one warship per day. Its trade ships sailed as far as Iceland. It controlled Cyprus for 82 years and it ruled Crete for 465 years. Its dominion also included big chunks of what now is Italy, Greece, and Turkey, including most of the Greek Adriatic coast and at one point Constantinople itself (sacked by crusaders led by Venice in 1204 and held for 56 years)” (http://rangevoting.org/VenHist.html). Other important cities include Padua, home of one of Europe’s oldest universities; Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet; and Bassano del Grappa, which lends its name to a liqueur. Veneto produces some of the biggest names in Italian wine, including Prosecco (similar to champagne), Soave (an elegant white), and Amarone della Valpolicella (possibly the best Venetian red, and certainly one of Italy’s best reds).