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Venetian Cuisine: Tradition and Taste on Board a Houseboat

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Life on a boat is not only adventure and relaxation, but also an opportunity to discover and taste the rich culinary tradition of the Veneto.

The Saor: A versatile and tasty condiment

Saor' is a traditional preservation method that uses onions, vinegar and sugar to create a sweet and sour seasoning. Originally used for sardines, saor has become a versatile condiment applied to a variety of dishes, including fish, vegetables and even cheese. This method, born out of the need to preserve fish during long sea voyages, imparts a unique and deep flavour to dishes.

Baccalà: A Thousand Ways to Enjoy it

Baccalà, or dried and salted codfish, is another protagonist of Veneto cuisine. Among the most famous recipes are 'baccalà mantecato' and 'baccalà alla vicentina'. Baccalà mantecato is a codfish cream whipped with olive oil to a soft and velvety consistency, often served on bread croutons. Baccalà alla vicentina, on the other hand, is a slow preparation requiring several hours of cooking with milk, onions and anchovies, offering a rich and tasty dish.

Polenta: A Mainstay of Veneto Cuisine

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Polenta, made from maize flour, is a staple dish that accompanies many traditional Veneto dishes. It can be served soft or left to cool and cut into slices, perfect for grilling or frying. The variations are endless, and polenta can accompany both meat and fish dishes, always offering a neutral and comforting base.

Here are some examples of polenta dishes that you cannot miss during your houseboat holiday:

Polenta and Codfish

One of the best-loved dishes of Veneto cuisine is baccalà alla vicentina, served with a soft polenta. The salt cod is slowly cooked with onions, milk, olive oil and anchovies until it has a creamy consistency that goes perfectly with polenta.

Polenta and Osei

A typical dish from the mountain areas of Veneto, where polenta is served with small birds cooked on a spit, enriched with pancetta and sage. This combination is a dive into the oldest culinary traditions of the region.

Polenta and Schie

Schie are small lagoon shrimps, fried and served on a bed of soft polenta. It is a dish that encapsulates the flavours of the sea and the Veneto region, perfect for seafood lovers.

Mushroom and Polenta

Especially in autumn, polenta is often accompanied by seasonal mushrooms, such as porcini and chiodini, sautéed with garlic, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. This simple but tasty dish is ideal for those who appreciate the authentic flavours of nature.

Polenta with Cheese

Another variation involves the use of local cheeses such as Asiago or Montasio, which are melted and poured over the hot polenta. This preparation is particularly comforting and rich, ideal for cooler evenings on a boat.

Risotti: A Creamy Delight

Risottos are an essential part of Veneto cuisine, and 'risi e bisi' (rice and peas) is probably the most iconic recipe. This dish, prepared with Vialone Nano rice, fresh peas, pancetta and meat stock, is a celebration of spring and fresh, genuine flavours. The creaminess of the risotto, combined with the sweetness of the peas, makes this dish a true comfort food.

Bigoli with Duck: A Dish of Tradition

Bigoli are a long, thick pasta similar to spaghetti, but with a rougher texture that allows sauces to hold better. One of the most popular preparations is bigoli con l'anatra (bigoli with duck), a rich and tasty dish where the pasta is dressed with a duck sauce, often flavoured with wine and spices.

The Kitchen on Board: Comfort and Tradition

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Today's modern boats are equipped with all the comforts of home, allowing you to take any kind of food on board. However, it is interesting to discover how Veneto cuisine was also born out of the demands of life at sea. During your houseboat holiday, you can alternate between a Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, and delicious stops at traditional restaurants along the rivers, discovering local specialities.

For those who wish to explore the combination with local wines, you can explore a guide on wines to taste during your holiday in Veneto and Friuli and other Veneto gastronomic specialities.

A houseboat holiday is not only a sailing experience, but also a culinary journey through Veneto's traditions. From sarde in saor to baccalà mantecato, from polenta to risotto, each dish tells a story of sea, land and culture. Sailing along the rivers and lagoons of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia will allow you to discover not only breathtaking landscapes, but also authentic and unforgettable flavours.

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