TYPICAL FOODS

RECIOTO OF GAMBELLARA

Recioto is a very fine passito wine, whose particular vineyard and production history deserves to be recounted.

 

The story of the famous harvest Gambellara passito starts with the vintage, when the recia (“ears”), the upper and outermost portions of the bunch of grapes are selected, being these the most exposed to the sun and thus the ones with the highest sugar content. Drying takes place in wellventilated rooms using racks and crates, or the traditional suspended tying system known as picai. Following a drying time of about two months, the grapes are selected a second time in December and then pressed to obtain a first-pressing must that is fermented until the following spring. The result is the Recioto: a lively and sweetish golden wine that is also produced in a sparkling version. The same procedure, but using only the picai system and prolonging the drying period until New Year, to accentuate the concentration of sugar, is also used to produce a Vin Santo, the only wine of this kind in Veneto, destined to age leisurely even over a decade. From the Garganega grapes you also obtain a dry wine with a particular almond aftertaste, it’s the Gambellara Classico from grapes of the nearby hills.

 

SOPRESSA, CHEESE, OLIVE OIL…SPIT-ROAST KID, BRASADELO…     

The small dimensions of the area covered by the wine route means that its culinary tradition principally basks in the reflected glory of the products that have made Vicenza famous.Nonetheless, Gambellara has its own traditional specialities, such as spit-roast kid and the cake known as brasadelo.

 

Sopressa Vicentina D.O.P.

This is a large salami -measuring 15 to 20 cm in diameter and weighing 3 to 7 kg- that is made from the best cuts of pork (ham, shoulder, neck, etc.).It is aged for 4 to 6 months, after which it is soft and aromatic. It is one of the stars of the food processing industry of the Veneto region, and Vicenza in particular, for the finest come from the slopes of Mount Pasubio. The local culinary tradition features grilled slices of sopressa accompanied by polenta.

 

Asiago D.O.P.

The name of this famous cheese refers to the main town of the Sette Comuni Plateau, but today it is also produced in the adjoining areas. The most traditional version of the product is known as d’allevo (matured) and is available in mezzano (6 months) and vecchio (1 year) varieties. A more recent version is known as pressato, which is younger and has a distinctive milky taste. The area along the wine route also produces Grana Padano D.O.P and Provolone Valpadana D.O.P.

 

Extra-virgin olive oil

The landscape around Gambellara is characterised by hills covered with vineyards and olive groves, due to the almost Mediterranean climate of the area, without fog or intense cold. Local wine-growers have recently commenced the specialised cultivation of olives, with very successful results. The varieties grown here are the same as those found around Lake Garda.

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Asparagus

The most famous product of the Vicenza area is the white asparagus of Bassano del Grappa, although it is now also grown elsewhere. At Gambellara that finest crops are grown on the hills, where the spears are considerably smaller and tastier than average. The season lasts from mid April to mid June and each restaurant features the speciality in various dishes. The ideal pairing is with a Gambellara D.O.C. wine, better if Classico.

 

Baccalà alla vicentina

This is the gourmet speciality of Palladio’s city. It consists of dried salted cod slowly cooked in oil and milk with various other ingredients, resulting in a very delicate dish that is served with soft polenta. It has given rise to a movement that now numbers over 50 restaurants officially listed for the tasting of the dish. This full-bodied speciality is ideally paired with a Gambellara Classico.

 

Gambellara kid

Gambellara has been famed for its capretto in crosta d’oro, a delicacy worthy of the table of the Doges, since the times of the Venetian Republic. Although the hillside pastures have made way for vineyards, the tradition has not changed: Easter lunch (and indeed from springtime on) the main dish remains risotto with asparagus and spit-roast or casseroled kid. The ideal wine is a Gambellara Classico.

 

Brasadelo

Of course, a land of great passito wines had to have a cake to accompany them. The ingredients of this ring-shaped cake are very simple: superfine flour, milk, eggs and almonds, decorated with confectioner’s sugar and almonds. The local peasants always used to plant almond trees along the edges of their vineyards in order to be able to make this cake. The name brasadelo derives from the old method of cooking it under the embers (braci) or perhaps from ’embrace’ (abbraccio), due to its shape.

 

Grappa

Vicenza is a land of famous stills. The finest distilleries are concentrated in Bassano del Grappa, but practically all the wineries produce grappa from their marc. Gambellara is home to the Recioto grappa, a very special variety that retains the aromas and body of the passito wine.

 

Honey

The varieties of honey produced in the area are those typical of the hill country and are determined by the meadow and woodland flowers: very pale and slightly aromatic mixed-flower honey and two single-flower honeys – the pale and delicate acacia and the dark and intense chestnut.

 

 

WINE AND GOURMET FOOD

 

Gambellara Classico D.O.C. (produced with hill grapes) and Gambellara D.O.C. are bright, straw-coloured wines with a fresh and delicate aroma with a slight elder flower fragrance. They are dry and lively tasting, with hints of almond and an alcohol content of 12% and 11% respectively. They are ideally paired with seafood dishes, freshwater fish and white meats, while the Classico goes well with the local specialities of baccalà alla vicentina (Vicenza-style dried salted cod) and spit-roast kid.

Dried grapes are used for the production of Recioto di Gambellara Classico D.O.C.G. (12% alcohol), which is also available in a spumante version. Its colour tends towards golden yellow, its aroma is intense and fruity, and its flavour is sweetish with a delicate almondy hint. It is a dessert wine: the still variety is the ideal accompaniment to biscuits and cakes, such as the traditional brasadelo, while the sparkling one is excellent with pandoro and panettone (Italian traditional cakes).

However, first place is taken by the Vin Santo di Gambellara (14% alcohol), with a rich amber colour, intense raisin aroma, a sweet and velvety flavour and a lingering almond-like aftertaste. It is a wine to savour with petits fours and zabaione, or simply for meditation.

 

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