La cucina Vicentina

Even in the realm of food and wine, the art of good cooking in Vicenza has a well-earned reputation, thanks to the traditional high quality of its products. Here is what Guido Piovene has to say about Vicenza's most famous recipe, "poenta e bacalà":
"To those who accuse Italian cuisine of being elementary compared to the French variety I must say that "baccalà alla vicentina", of top quality, beaten for a long time with a wooden hammer, soaked for thirty-six hours, cut into pieces, scattered with cheese and browned with butter, oil, anchovies and onions, cooked over a slow flame, seasoned again with parsley, pepper and milk, is a true dish in the French style. A whole refined civilization is simmering in the pot."
So, for curious tourists who are lovers of good fare, here is a whole series of typical dishes connected with the land and particular periods of the year. In January try baccalà (dried cod) "alla vicentina", cooked in milk according to a recipe jealously handed down over the ages, accompanied by generous glasses of Durello wine from the Val del Chiampo; in February, Arzignano capons "alla canevera"; in March, kid; in April, the white asparagus of Bassano, diuretic, cleansing and rich in vitamins; in May, mutton and "risi e bisi", risotto with tasty Lumignano peas; in June, sopressa sausage from Valli del Pasubio and Recoaro, accompanied by a hot slice of polenta toasted on the grill; in July, "marsoni" from Valdastico; in August, "toresani di Breganze" with "greased" polenta, pigeons whose flesh released unforgettable flavours when it comes into contact with the embers; in September, the never-failing "polenta e osei" with spit-roasted birds; in October, "bigoli con l'arna" from Thiene washed down with red Tocai wine; in November, turkey with "malgaragno" from Montebello while December favours "bovoni" with mushrooms from Asiago and the Plateau of the Seven Communes.
The Vicenza countryside also offers a variety of products which, suitably blended in the kitchen, make an excellent contribution to tasty and appetizing hors d'oeuvres, entrées and main courses, vegetable dishes, sweets and desserts: from truffles to the oil products of the Berici and Pove Hills, from beans to potatoes grown at a high altitude, from honey to the "mostarda" (a spicy compote of fruit with mustard) from Montecchio Maggiore, the old fortress where bloomed the love of Romeo and Juliet, from the Christmas sweet "mandorlato" to the famous fleshy cherries of the foothills of Chiampo and Castegnero, from the trout of the pre-Alpine valleys to the white celery of Rubbio, the "corgnoi" of Crespadoro and the chestnuts of Durio, from the most renowned liqueurs to fruit yoghurts, from pastries to ice-cream, from mushrooms to ship's biscuit, from springtime herbs to woodland shoots and the mineral waters of the many springs in the province.

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