Five dishes you’ll only find in Verona

1. “Pastisada de caval”, or horse meat stew. This is the most appreciated traditional dish. It’s made with horse meat marinated in red wine, onions, carrots and a variety of herbs and spices. Its distinctive feature is slow cooking, which can take up to three days. The dish is served with polenta, or potato gnocchi, another typical Veronese specialty. Where to try it: Calmiere

2. “Pearà”. This cooked sauce has an untranslatable name, which in the local dialect refers to the amount of pepper with which it must be sprinkled. Every Veronese housewife has her own recipe for the perfect “pearà”, which should be neither too thick nor too thin and must be cooked in an earthenware pot. Essential ingredients: meat broth, beef marrow, breadcrumbs, Grana cheese, butter and – as I said – plenty of pepper. It’s the ideal accompaniment to a mixed stew. Where to try it: Arco dei Gavi Restaurant

3. “Risotto all’Amarone”. This is a fairly new recipe, inspired by the boom in the consumption of Amarone wine in recent years, and has become extremely popular. It is a traditional risotto cooked with a generous amount of what is now the most prestigious wine in the Valpolicella region. There are several variations (e.g. with radicchio) but the important thing is the quality of the Amarone and rice, which must be “Vialone Nano”, harvested from the rice paddies of the Veronese plains. Where to try it: Trattoria Pane e Vino

4. “Renga”, or herring. Erstwhile, fresh fish was nowhere to be found in the poor Venetian hinterland. The only fish available here was dried and salted. As a result, the Veneto region developed baccalà: salted cod often cooked in milk. The fish dish most typical of Verona is herring, which is desalted in cold water and then cooked, in boiling water or on the grill, then chopped into small pieces and left to rest in a container with garlic, olive oil and parsley for at least 40 days. It is then served with polenta. In Verona, the dish is eaten to celebrate the end of Carnival and has its own festival in the village of Parona, on the banks of the Adige. Where to try it: Bottega della Renga

5. “Nadalin”. As the name suggests, this cake is typically baked for Christmas (Natale in Italian) but is good to eat all year round. It’s the ancestor of the famous Pandoro, but this one is crispier and more compact. Served in a star shape, it is flavored with vanilla and lemon peel and covered in a sugar, pine nut and almond glaze. Where to find it: Pasticceria Flego

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