A Taste of Rovigo: Discovering Authentic Venet Cuisine

By: Nicole Dickerson / Last updated: November 19, 2023

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

WHAT TO EAT IN ROVIGO

Rovigo is the most southern province of the Veneto, bordering Emilia-Romagna. The River Po Delta delineates the border between the two regions and influences certain culinary traditions of Rovigo. For example, the Riso del Delta del Po IGP covers rice produced in an area within the provinces of Rovigo in the Veneto and Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna. The unique biosphere created by the combination of freshwater and saltwater provides high salinity and abundant minerals, giving the rice a unique flavor profile.

Scardovari Lagoon at sunset

Guide to Veneto Gastronomy and Cuisine: Read more

Regional Cuisine:

Belluno, Padua, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Vicenza

While clams, mussels, oysters, and other types of seafood abound in the River Po Delta, the Cozza di Scardovari is especially worth seeking out. Since the 1960s, this mussel has been cultivated in the Sacca degli Scardovari, the largest lagoon of the River Po Delta. These mussels are lower in sodium and known for their delicate flavor.

You’ll also find l’aglio bianco Polesano DOP cultivated in Rovigo. This garlic is known for being less pungent with sweet, grassy, and fruity flavors. Since ancient Roman times, it has been cultivated in the area, and every year, people from the Veneto gather for a feast of Aglio Polesano in the Arquà Polesine Castle. For a dish that highlights this white garlic, try supa da ajo or minestra d’aglio. This creamy soup is made from garlic, stock, eggs, and olive oil, with cubes of stale bread and parsley to garnish.

Bianco Polesano
Bianco Polesano

La Bondola Polesana

Bondola or bondiola is the typical cured meat of Rovigo. It’s a sausage made from pork raised on the banks of the Adige and Po rivers; the meat and pork rinds are ground up and mixed with spices like salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. The mixture is stuffed into a veal or pork bladder to form the sausage, boiled to cook, and often served with mashed potatoes or sautéed vegetables.

Faraona in Tecia

Faraona in tecia is guinea fowl cooked in a pot and often served with polenta. This preparation involves sautéing the guinea fowl in lard, oil, sage, and rosemary. Once golden and the liquid released during cooking evaporates, the guinea fowl is seasoned with white wine, salt, and pepper and then covered to cook. The dish is traditionally served with a sauce made with soppressa, guinea fowl livers, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Gratin Polesano

For a hearty side dish in Rovigo, try gratin polesano, made with sliced potatoes combined with diced fontina cheese, pancetta, vegetable broth, and butter. The mixture is baked together until golden brown on top. The pancetta must be diced into cubes and browned first for the authentic Venetian version.

Risotto Polesano

For a true taste of Rovigo, try risotto polesano. This dish features Riso del Delta del Po and the plentiful seafood offered by the River Po Delta or the Adriatic. Varying recipes include the sumptuous Cozza di Scardovari, eel, or seabass within a typical risotto prepared with olive oil, fish stock, garlic, onion, white wine, and parsley.

Seafood Specialties of Rovigo

Alternatively, if you’re craving seafood in Rovigo, there’s always fritture di pesce featuring different pieces of fresh fish, lightly battered and fried. You’ll also find fresh eel cooked with radicchio di Chioggia and omelets made with tiny shrimp called schile. In addition, there’s a local cod stew specialty served with polenta. Plus, you’ll find fresh mussels in various preparations, such as au gratin, saffron, and leeks, or with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and parsley.

WINES OF THE VENETO

The Veneto Region in Italy offers a variety of experiences for wine enthusiasts. From the quaint wine villages of Valpolicella to the vibrant Prosecco wine country, the region is known for producing famous wines like Amarone, Prosecco, and Soave, making it a prime destination for those passionate about wine.

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Nicole Dickerson

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