The two provinces in Veneto are home to numerous traditional products that are best enjoyed sitting around a table with friends and family. From the most sophisticated cuisine to rustic food with peasant origins, there are countless unmissable delights in the local area to suit all tastes, including vegetables, cheeses and cold meats. In addition to PGI and PDO products, there are all sorts of foods that are not classified under official schemes but still have unique, unmistakeable qualities.
The most famous of the protected products are PGI Lamon beans from the Belluno Valley, which are grown on the Lamon and Sovramonte plateau. There are four ecotypes known as “spagnolit”, “spagnol”, “calonega” and “canalino”, all of which have their own distinctive characteristics and flavours.
Province of Belluno Cheeses
Thanks to the local agricultural traditions, outstanding cheeses have always been made in the area. Examples include 100% Belluno PDO Piave cheese, which is made with nothing but milk from the Province of Belluno, at least 80% of which comes from typical breeds of cattle from the production area: Bruna Italiana (Italian Braunvieh), Pezzata Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Spotted) and Italian Holstein Friesian. There are a number of types of Piave cheese, with varying levels of maturity: PDO Piave Fresco (aged for 20 to 60 days), PDO Piave Mezzano (aged for 61 to 180 days), PDO Piave Vecchio (aged for more than 180 days), PDO Piave Vecchio Selezione Oro (aged for more than 12 months), and PDO Piave Vecchio Riserva (aged for more than 18 months).
Staying on the dairy front, PDO Montasio is also made in the Province of Belluno. It is a type of cheese that is made in Veneto and Friuli with cow’s milk from the production area. There are four different levels of maturity: mild (aged for more than 60 days), medium (aged for more than 120 days), mature (aged for more than 10 months), and extra mature (aged for more than 18 months).
The local cheese is marvellously complemented by the certified honey that is made in the Province of Belluno: PDO Belluno Dolomites Honey is made in the Belluno and Feltre valleys in the Province of Belluno. Dandelion, acacia, linden, chestnut, rhododendron and wildflower are the varieties of honey that are made.
Province of Belluno salami
There are a number of officially certified cold meats. They include PDO Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora: traditional small salami from the Belluno area. They were originally developed as practical food for hunters to carry with them and indeed the name means “Hunters’ Small Salami”. Both “PDO Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora” and the larger “PDO Salame Cacciatore” are made here. While they vary in size, they are all ruby red in colour, with evenly distributed specks of fat.
The salami is made with pork from Italian pigs that are born, raised and processed in the area mapped out by the regulations. PGI Mortadella Bologna and PGI Salame Cremona are also made in the Province of Belluno.
There is a big agricultural scene in the Province of Treviso, which means that a large number of vegetables are grown and certified there. One of the most prized vegetables from the area is the asparagus. PGI Badoere Asparagus and PGI White Cimadolmo Asparagus are delicious items of spring produce that are grown in soft, rich soil with plenty of water in the Provinces of Treviso, Venice and Padua. In autumn, it is possible to sample PGI Treviso Red Radicchio (of which there are early and late varieties) and PGI Castelfranco Variegated Radicchio: a type of dark red chicory with white streaks. The early variety has broader leaves and a more bitter flavour, while the late variety has long, tapered leaves. Castelfranco Radicchio is a creamy white colour with hints of red.
More autumn produce grows on Monte Tomba, just a few miles from the hotel. The Montello and Grappa foothills are the perfect habitat for PGI Monfenera Chestnuts (Castanea sativa Mill.). They have a very sweet flavour and an even, compact texture. The Monfenera Chestnut Fair that is held every autumn is a great opportunity to taste the delicious products. Chestnuts are also traditional crops in the foothill areas of the Province of Treviso, where PGI Combai Chestnuts grow.
Province of Treviso Cheeses
As well as the Belluno area, PDO Montasio cheese can also be made in the Province of Treviso. In addition, the latter zone has rather distinctive cheeses all of its own. They include PDO Casatella Trevigiana, a fresh, soft cheese that is made with pasteurized cow’s milk. PDO Asiago, PDO Grana Padano and PDO Taleggio are also made in the Province of Treviso.
Furthermore, the wide range of cold meats that are made in the local area include PGI Mortadella Bologna, PGI Salame Cremona and PGI Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora.
PDO Veneto del Grappa Olive Oil is an exceptional, golden green olive oil with hints of fruit that vary in prominence. You know that Frantoio and Leccino are the main types of olives in the blend. Moreover it is made in the foothill areas of the Provinces of Vicenza and Treviso, in a strip of land on the left bank of the Piave River that is also home to the vineyards used for Torcolato di Breganze, Asolo and Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene wines.
Local products of both Provinces
Furthermore, there are lots of other typical local products in both areas. For instance, the Gialet bean from the North of the Province of Belluno is a traditional item of agricultural produce that is particularly delicate and has a fine skin. Bright green Belluno Broad Beans are also grown in the North of the Province of Belluno, in the Ampezzo Valley Dolomites.
The Santa Belluno Pumpkin is a Traditional Agricultural Product (PAT) that is grown along the course of the Piave River. The pumpkins are large in size and they have a round shape that is flattened out at the top and bottom. Their skins are dark green and the fleshs are a yellowy orange colour, with a sweet flavour.
Cesiomaggiore Potatoes are among the most famous products of the town of the same name. They have distinctive flavours, as do Montello potatoes, which take their moniker from the famous hill where they grow, near Treviso. The labels cover a number of varieties of potatoes.
The “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) scheme protects foodstuffs whose unique qualities are essentially or exclusively determined by the area in which they are made. A legal procedure is usually required to award products PDO status. All of the steps in the creation of PDO goods (production, processing and preparation) must take place in a restricted, clearly defined area.
“Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) status is awarded to food and agricultural products with a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic property that is attributable to its geographical origin and that is produced, processed and/or prepared in a specific geographical area. In other words, at least one stage in its production process must take place in a set area. Therefore, the difference is that PDO products go through all of the production processes in the specified area, whereas only one or more of the stages help to make PGI products special.