Food and Wine in the Padova Province
Food in the Padova Province is rooted in the simple products of the vegetable garden, the farmyard and the vineyard. Farmyard products include the Paduan hen, Polverara hen, goose, guinea-hen, capon. and duck each represents a heritage that combines history, tradition, and gastronomy.
Like the rest of the Veneto region, Padova has several high quality wines. DOC wines are produced in five areas: the area of the Euganei Hills, the countryside of Bagnoli and Merlara, Corte di Correzzola and the Brenta Riviera.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced in the area of the Euganei Hills comes exclusively from the territory of the 15 municipalities that are under the protection of the Association of the Regional Park of the Euganei Hills. The colour of the oil is typically golden green; it is a delicate product obtained by cold-pressing techniques, and generally bottled after careful decanting without filtering.
Several varieties of chicory, the pride of Venetian farming, are cultivated in the countryside of Padua; Variegated Castelfranco, Early and Late Red Treviso, Red Chioggia or Red Verona varieties. Their soft and slightly bitter taste is particularly appetising in risotto with chicory, an excellent recipe in the traditional cuisine of the Veneto region.
The walled city of Montagnana is renown for its ham, a tradition rooted in the rural population of the surrounding plain and which the inhabitants of this old town still call, with proud, prosciutto crudo dolze di Montagnana (the raw, sweet ham of Montagnana). The sweet taste, the tenderness, the pink colour and the unmistakable smell guarantee the delicacy of this product, so much that these properties were granted the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) and are now safeguarded by the Consortium of the Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo, based in Montagnana.
In the springtime the vegetable of choice is the asparagus, Padova was one of the first producers and you will find both of the white and green species. During its short springtime appearance, the asparagus is an often used ingredient of very simple recipes. Boiled eggs and asparagus, or the delicate risotto with asparaguses are never missing from restaurant menus or from the tables of the families in the whole county. Historical recipes date back to the age of the Obizzi, of the da Carrara family and the Contarini, who proved able to create and develop further some dainty dishes while using simple ingredients. It is practically impossible to find an element of homogeneity in the cuisine of Padua, since the territory of its county offers a variegated landscape with lagoons and valleys, hills, rivers and the plain, these areas offering extremely different ingredients that change from one area to another. Probably the most famous historical dish is "bollito alla padovana", boiled meat according to the recipe written in the 1600s by the German Mattia Giegher.
Other dishes include "risi e bisi" (rice and peas) and the rich "pasta e fasoi" (pasta and beans). Cooking proposals go well with the rich wines from Padua: well known for centuries and mentioned in the writings of Petrarca and Ruzante. Today wine quality is guaranteed by the serious and competent work of wine producers who have united to form the Consortium of the DOC wines of the Euganean Hills and of Bagnoli.