Italy has a long history of powerful cities after centuries of city-states and unification. One of the seven provincial capitals is Verona, the municipal and economic centre of Veneto. the city has been immortalized by none other than Shakespeare himself. Verona was also the birthplace of Isotta Nogarola, who is said to be the first major female humanist. At the turn of the century, this city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. Exploring the local food scene should be fun.
They are ring-shaped pasta stuffed with a mix of meat, parmigiano, nutmegs and eggs. Tortellini are the symbol of Bologna's cuisine, they are the specialty of the Christmas dinner. The beautiful legend says, one innkeeper saw the navel of the goddess Venus and it inspired him to cook pasta in this shape.
Let's start with pasta. It's always pasta when talking about Italian food. However, in order not to be too boring, we'll start with unusually cute and original-looking pasta. Tortellini are shaped like small shells filled with a mix of pork loin, raw prosciutto, mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, egg and nutmeg. The stuffed shells are served in capon broth. The recipe is quite classic, dating back to the 16th century, and its versatility and tidiness make tortellini perfect for packaging and store sales as well as restaurant preparation.
Trattoria Dal Gal has great tortellini.
This dish dates back to the 14th century Venus and means 'to wrap'. It's a type of dumplings and it's pasta in the form of small dough cases with a savory filling - meat, cheese or vegetables. Ravioli are usually served with broth or sauce.
From cute to distinguishes - not an uncommon path for Italian cuisine. Another variation of pasta on today's list is the world-famous ravioli. Though less renowned than spaghetti, ravioli is a dish to be consumed by both a connoisseur of the finest work by the finest chef in Verona and a regular visitor trying to have a good meal. There are many options for filling the dough with ricotta cheese, spinach, nutmeg, black pepper, and a variety of other ingredients to make the dish special.
Along with different pasta, ravioli is great at Darì.
It's a classic Italian pasta made of spaghetti or other long pasta, guanciale or pancetta, parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper. Carbonara means 'in the manner of coal miners'. There are different theories for its origin. The dish could be the main meal for charcoal workers or just the black pepper flecks look like coal dust against the creamy pasta.
Let's get the classics over with before continuing with something less universally known and beloved. Spaghetti carbonara is a classic dish made with eggs, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. A mixture of raw eggs grated Pecorino Romano and a liberal amount of ground black pepper is combined with the hot pasta in the pasta pot make up the basis of good spaghetti carbonara. Some preparations have more sauce and therefore use tubular-shaped pasta, such as penne.
Little Italy Pizza&Food offers great spaghetti carbonara.
Try this sweet delicate ham that is made of dry-cured hind legs of pigs. Eat prosciutto raw or add it to pasta or risotto. The recipes of Italian prosciuttos differ in various regions. The most famous is Parma ham, or Prosciutto di Parma, that is salted and air-dried for 8-24 months.
Now we're getting serious. All of Italy loves prosciutto, but the reasons for that are to be discovered by each food enthusiast on their own. This cooked ham has as many variations as there are parts of Italy making it differently, the most common name for the dry-cured ham as a whole is "prosciutto crudo". Depending on who makes it and how, prosciutto can be the easiest way to grab a bite or the most exquisite part of a complex meal. It's up to you to find out which one you get.
Trattoria al Pompiere is a good choice here.
It's an Italian appetizer made from thinly sliced raw meat or fish, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and served with onions and capers. Carpaccio was introduced in Venice in 1950. A restaurant owner cooked it for a countess who couldn't eat boiled meat for medical reasons.
If prosciutto is too basic and crude for your taste, there's always a more exquisite alternative that Italians came up with during the era of modernization and change that took place the 1950s. Everyone already knows that carpaccio is the properly sliced and diced beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna combined and presented raw as an appetizer for a more hefty meal. This makes this kind of food perfect for a traveller or someone too impatient to try other offerings on our list.
Trattoria Dal Taio has great carpaccio.
It's traditional Italian flat oven-baked bread that is cooked in flat sheet pans, flavoured with olive oil and rosemary and topped with herbs and vegetables. Focaccia is regarded as a pizza's precursor. It derives from the Latin word 'focacia' which means 'hearth' or 'fireside'.
As you can see, pasta, sauces, and properly prepared meat are the bread and butter of Italian cuisine, but we should not forget about the actual bread. Here, Italians are as inventive as they are in everything else. The "white pizza", or focaccia, is very popular as a traditional type of food and is even made similar in style and texture to pizza. It's very satiating and combines greatly with meat, for example, carpaccio or prosciutto. It also makes for great sandwiches if you like a quick bite.
La Figaccia is a great restaurant where white pizza is some of the best you can find in Verona.
This traditional Italian dish comes from Bologna and it seems the oldest type of pasta. Lasagna is stacked layers of wide and flat pasta and a variety of other ingredients, including sauce, vegetables, cheese, meat, etc. The word 'lasagna' refers to a pot where this dish was cooked.
We're taking a little detour and returning to pasta. Lasagna is actually one of the oldest, if not the oldest, types of pasta around, having originated in Italy during the Middle Ages. The classic recipe comprises stacked layers of wide flat sheets alternating with fillings such as ragù, vegetables, cheeses as well as seasonings and spices. Many local variations exist, and with a bit of imagination, a good chef can turn lasagna into something really special, even for a particularly picky eater.
An interesting place for that would be Parma a Tavola.
This dish comes from Northern Italian 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 one is also quite popular, yet very few restaurants actually make and serve it properly. The most important thing about risotto is its creamy consistency which is rather difficult to get right, hence the need for an exemplary good home cook or a talented chef. Only if you can make the rice mixture creamy enough while adding things like butter, onion, white wine, and parmesan cheese, you can really say that you got proper risotto. That's why it's late on the list despite usually being the main course.
At Il Cenacolo, they do a good job.
Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made of wheat flour, eggs and cooked potatoes. The ingredients are mixed, rolled into logs, cut into small pieces and then boiled. Optionally, pumpkin and spinach can be added to the mixture. The dish appeared in the 16th century when potatoes were imported from America.
We started the list with cute little tortellini, so it's a poetic move, in a way, to finalize it with similarly small but impactful food. Gnocchi are basically small dumplings made of small lumps of dough composed of semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, cornmeal or similar ingredients, and possibly including herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients. Gnocchi are usually eaten as a first course, but they can also be served as a side dish.
Trattoria alla Fedelta has great gnocci.
Burrata is Italian cheese that is an excellent combination of mozzarella and cream. Its name comes from the word "burro", which means butter. Each ball is a mozzarella bag stuffed with filling.
Let's end the list with something smooth but a little gritty. There's a special kind of Italian milk cheese called burrata and made from mozzarella and cream. Naturally, the taste and the feeling of this kind of cheese is something special if it requires components like that. Established as artisanal cheese, burrata maintained its premium-product status even after it began to be made commercially. When the burrata is sliced open, the thickened stracciatella flows out, so accuracy and timing are important.
Pizzeria Leon d'Oro offers awesome burrata.
Verona is a proud and beautiful city with a long and interesting history, as well as an ever-changing modern life. Have fun becoming part of it, even if only for a bit.