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Cod, a typical food of Venetian cuisine: history and traditions

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The history of Baccalà Veneto (Cod) from the origins to traditional dishes become a classic of Italian cuisine, known throughout the world.

Cod, or as they say in Veneto bacalà, is a traditional food of Venetian cuisine and its history begins in 1432, when Pietro Querini, Venetian merchant and Senator of the Republic of Venice, begins a journey out of the Mediterranean sea but he was shipwrecked near the island of Rost in Norway.

 

Baccalà alla vicentina

 

The legend of Pietro Querini and cod in Veneto

Pietro Querini left for Flanders but was surprised by a terrible storm near the Strait of Gibraltar. At the mercy of the waves and very strong winds, Pietro Querini, with 18 men of his crew, reached the island of Rơst, in Norway, where he discovered a food widely used by the inhabitants of the island: the Stockfiss (from the Dutch stokvisch, stock = stick and visch = fish).

It was a peeled, salted and air-dried cod for months until it became very hard and stiff.

Pietro Querini, for the return trip, brought with him this food that was immediately appreciated by the Venetians for its goodness, and for its shelf-life that make it excellent for long trips by land or sea. Even today in Veneto the term cod identifies stockfish and not salted cod.

 

The island of Rost in Norway

 

Cod becomes a dish of Italian cuisine thanks to Bartolomeo Scappi

The history of Cod in Veneto is a turning point in 1563, when the Council of Trent enforces the obligation of abstinence from meat for two hundred days, suggesting stockfish as a lean dish. In that moment the cod becomes the main food in the kitchens of poor people, and is linked to other poor and typical foods, such as polenta.

The chef Bartolomeo Scappi inserts bacalà in his cookbook, elevating it to a dish of Italian cuisine, now known and appreciated all over the world.

What are the traditional Venetian dishes with cod?

Today, cod is considered a traditional food of Venetian cuisine, especially in its versions of Baccalà Mantecato and Baccalà alla Vicentina.

We don’t know the origin of Baccalà Mantecato, but whatever it is for the venetian people there is no aperitif or cicchetto, another typical Venetian dish, without the creamed cod, whose recipe is composed of rather simple ingredients: stockfish, olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, lemon, salt and pepper. Many restaurateurs add a little milk, although the original recipe does not provide for it.

Baccalà alla vicentina is a place of honor in the Venetian culinary tradition, so much so that in 1987 the Brotherhood of Bacalà was born in Vicenza, which aims to spread the ancient recipe of this meal that is often eaten during Christmas Eve, Good Friday and Friday of Lent.

 

Cod with cream

 

Where to eat cod during your boat holiday with Houseboat Holidays Italia?

During the seven-day stay in Veneto you can taste the Baccalà mantecato and the Baccalà alla vicentina in different stages of the itineraries proposed by Houseboat Holidays Italia. Along the way you can try the many recipes and different dishes that are part of the Venetian culinary tradition with this extraordinary food. For example, during one of our itineraries you can stop in the taverns of the island of Burano and try the tastiest and most delicious cicchetti of cod, or in the trattorias of Chioggia and experience the many versions of traditional recipes with the addition of unique elements.

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