Both a city and comune in the Veneto region, Treviso is sometimes overlooked as an interesting place to visit if you really wish to feel the spirit of old Europe that Italy is famous for. Part of the population actually lived within the Venetian walls or in the historical and monumental centre while the others are located in the modern urban part of the area. Industry and fashion thrive here, as Treviso is home to the headquarters of clothing retailer Benetton, Sisley, Stefanel, Geox, Diadora and Lotto Sport Italia, appliance maker De'Longhi, and bicycle maker Pinarello. Not only that but some of the most popular Italian foods and drinks are said to be local in origin. Let's check them out among others.
It's an authentic no-bake Italian dessert with a coffee flavor. It means 'cheer me up' because of the two caffeine-containing ingredients - coffee and cocoa. Tiramisu is made from espresso-dipped ladyfingers and mascarpone cream.
It's rather strange to start the food list with a dessert, but the history tiramisu has with Treviso is rather curious. This coffee-flavoured Italian dish is said to have been invented here. The precise origins of tiramisu are still not determined, since different cookbooks started mentioning it in the 1960s. However, obituaries for the restaurateur Ado Campeol reported that tiramisu was invented at his restaurant Le Beccherie in Treviso on 24 December 1969 by his wife Alba di Pillo and the pastry chef Roberto Linguanotto.
Most local restaurants have tiramisu, and Le Beccherie is as good a place as any to check it out.
This dish comes from Northern Italy whose climate is ideal for growing rice (riso means 'rice'). The key ingredient is semi-rounded short-grain rice cooked with meat, fish or vegetable broth. Try risotto with parmesan cheese and white wine. Add saffron for flavour and yellow colour.
This dish is pretty common in most regions of Italy, and at first glance, there's nothing special about it when discussing the local cuisine in Treviso. The creamy rice delight called risotto is especially popular in the North of the country, but something special makes the local variation special. Treviso is known for being the original production area of radicchio, a perennial cultivated form of leaf chicory. It is grilled with olive oil or mixed into risotto for a unique flavour.
Ristorante Busatto is a good choice to try some risotto.
Fish is a common component of dishes on any Italian table. But some fish is more confusing than others, at least in terms of naming. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the most popular restaurant fish sold and consumed as sea bass is exclusively the European bass that is known in North America by one of its Italian names, branzino. Many different ways of processing sea bass exist and even more get reinvented by chefs who consider this fish the most popular material for creativity.
Ristorante MARdiVINO has got you covered in terms of fish.
Despite the rising popularity of the simpler term thanks to the success of the Netflix series, the culinary name "calamari" is still generally used for squid dishes. There are many ways to prepare and cook calamari, and different chefs add a personal touch, multiplying the diversity tenfold. The most popular option is fried calamari which consists of batter-coated squid, deep-fried for less than two minutes to prevent toughness.
Tavernetta Butterfly is a great choice for calamari.
Cheeses play an important role in Italian cuisine. A soft Italian acid-set cream cheese called mascarpone is especially popular in Treviso. The traditional method of making it involves three tablespoons of lemon juice per pint of heated heavy cream cooled to room temperature before it is poured into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Mascarpone is one of the main ingredients in tiramisu, which explains its local popularity, but its use in other dishes is not to be underestimated.
Toni del Spin will let you learn about some of those dishes, including pasta with mascarpone.
It's a savoury fatty dish, Roman roast, made from moist boneless and butterflied pork shoulder that is filled with rosemary, pepper and garlic. It's one of the oldest Italian recipes and it dates back to the 12-13th century when it was served to Roman army camps.
Time to get to the meatier side of the local food scenes. Some of the numerous recipes in Italian cuisine involve a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast called porchetta. It's pretty gritty when described on paper - the pork is stuffed with liver, wild fennel, all fat and skin is spitted or roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted, and many components like garlic also add to the sharp taste.
Cantinetta Venegazzu is a good option here.
It's a well-known Italian starter consisting of small slices of lightly fried or toasted garlic bread and a variety of toppings. Crostini can be slathered with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, fresh basil, tangy cheese or meat. This appetizer is usually served with soups.
If less fatty dishes are more to your liking, there are always smaller Italian culinary inventions common in local cafes and restaurants. For example, appetisers known as crostini can interest a curious visitor. The formula of crostini is simple - tipping with different cheeses, meats, vegetables and condiments are put on small pieces of grilled or toasted bread. Along with bruschetta, crostini are thought to originate at medieval times - quite befitting an old city.
Piccola Osteria Papero Rosso is a decent option for light food.
Tramezzini are usually triangular Italian sandwiches made from two slices of soft white bread, with the crusts removed. Popular fillings include tuna, olive, and prosciutto, but many other fillings can be used.
The name of this dish almost rhymes with the name of the city, but it is not local. Still, tramezzini are universally beloved, especially since they serve as a more interesting alternative to English sandwiches. The term "tramezzino" was actually coined by Gabriele D'Annunzio to replace the English word "sandwich" in the Italian gastronomic lexicon. Soft milk bread without crust immediately makes it stand out, and the filling defines the taste.
Tramezzineria Oasis is an obvious choice.
It's traditional Italian ice cream acknowledged to be one of the best frozen desserts in the world. Gelato was introduced by the Italian chef in Paris in 1600. This dessert contains 3.25% milk and sugar. It has a lower percentage of fat and less air, that's why it boasts of a richer texture.
Italian gelato is great during the summer, but regardless of the season, it's a delight to try less commercial, more personal options in restaurants. An alternative to ice cream, gelato has been around for a while and won hearts and minds with a great diversity of flavours and combinations, a more dense shape, and a less fatty content. The only thing to worry about is mixing gelato up with traditional ice cream since the term "gelato" refers to any type of ice cream in Italian.
La Dolce Vita has many different kinds of gelato.
Brioche is a French slightly sweet bread, enriched with butter and eggs. Brioches can be plain or baked with different types of filling, like foie gras, sausage, vanilla cream or jam.
A sweet bread of French origin is not the most obvious choice for closing the list of popular foods in an old Italian city. But brioches are just so adorable and tasty that their popularity crosses any borders. Brioches are considered a "Viennoiserie" because they are made in the same basic way as bread but have the richer aspect of a pastry because of the extra addition of eggs, butter, milk, and sugar. The slices of bread are often cooked with fruit or chocolate chips and served on their own, or as the basis of a dessert.
Good brioches can be found at Pasticceria Francia Snc.
Old and new, high and low, common and unique - all the concepts and items representing them clash and coexist in Treviso. Enjoy exploring the city, including its food.