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    Historic dishes on today's tables

    A trip to Padua is also a journey of discovery of this story, which is renewed every day and to which new chapters are continuously added.
    Padua has a very long food and wine tradition which finds expression in the use of fresh local products in many typical preparations. Only a few will be mentioned here, most of them officially identified as "traditional". Obviously the imagination and experience of artisans and restaurateurs allow you to taste many variations, as well as to find in the menus, in the shops, on the market stalls also other products of very long history, consumed for generations in peasant houses as in the city.

    Let's start with the "bìgoli",  the most typical of the first courses, together with the risotto. It is a pasta, like large fresh spaghetti made with flour, eggs, water and salt. In the " bigoli mori" or "bigoli neri" variant, wholemeal or cuttlefish ink is used. Obtained from the mixture of flour with eggs, water and salt, passed through an instrument called bigolaro (press) which returns bigoli (spaghetti) of about 25-30 cm in length and with a diameter of not less than 2.5 mm, they must be kept resting on a table sprinkled with cornmeal and can be kept for up to 3-4 days. It is a product of peasant tradition in use since the time of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.

    The  Paduan Hen it has been famous in the world since 1600 when all the hens with the tuft were defined as "Paduan" breed. In reality the origin of the Paduan area is probably different. In 1300 Giacomo Dondi Dell'Orologio, visiting Poland, took some chickens to bring to Padua as an ornamental animal. The quality of its meats, darker than those of traditional chicken, delicate and tasty, in addition to the elegance of its anthracite gray legs, the particularity of the soft and thick tuft of feathers that distinguishes it, made it grow and spread. in Holland and France. The crossing with local breeds thus gave rise to the typicality and uniqueness of the Paduan area compared to the Polish ancestor and derivatives. Its diffusion had gradually decreased from 1700 to a few specimens bred mostly for decorative purposes. The local Agricultural Institute "San Benedetto da Norcia" kept some specimens that have been studied and disseminated in the last 15 years in collaboration with the association "Pro avibus nostris". The Paduan hen is strictly raised on the ground in suitable spaces and fed with grains, integrated for the last period with milk and honey.
    Not only the Paduan Hen, but all the poultry production is the basis for local cuisine. The so-called " Corte Padovana " recognized by the Ministry includes the "sister", the Polverara hen , goose (once gray feathers, now mostly white), duck, guinea fowl, capon, dwarf cockerel (pepoa) , chicken, hen naked neck, to spread to the "Torresani" pigeons of Torreglia or to the still little-known turkey of the Euganean Hills . Traditionally raised in the courtyards is also the rabbit, widespread in all the Venetian countryside and also on the Paduan tables.

    Oca in onto padovana is a dish made of boneless goose meat, salted and preserved in the fat of the goose itself, or of the pig or in the oil.
    To the slaughtered goose the meat is removed in whole pieces, the bones and skin are removed, and placed for two days in salt, dried by the fireplace and placed in enameled earthenware containers, immersed in superimposed layers in the melted goose fat. itself, either from the pig or with oil, so that no air remains inside the crock which is hermetically sealed; the meat must be aged for at least one month before consumption. A variant involves cooking the meat in the oven, which is then prepared in earthenware or dark glass containers as per the traditional recipe. Recipe of ancient typical Paduan cuisine, of Jewish origin, handed down for generations.

    Goose breast ham (Falso parsuto) is produced in the Po Valley and is composed of goose breasts complete with skin, salt, natural flavors. Goose breasts are salted, flavored and sewn together two by two, pressed for a few days and then smoked and seasoned for about 3 months. The production has been active since the nineteenth century and derives from Paduan cuisine of Jewish origin.

    The Venetians have always been skilled horse breeders and the tradition of the consumption of horse meat remains as one of the most typical of the area. In addition to products recognized as "traditional", others of wide diffusion and ancient preparation can be found such as horse bresaola, musso salami, stew, both horse and donkey, "straécca", a thin steak of foal wide and very tender or the steaks and the ribs of horse.

    Typical preparations are also the Sfilacci di cavallo, the Sopressa di cavallo and the  Carne di Musso (donkey). In many families, trattorias and restaurants in the city and in the province of Padua, the use of donkey meat in particular cooked in stew is common. All the elaborates with horse meat, foal and donkey are an integral part of the typical Paduan cuisine, since time immemorial. The use and preparation of horse meat began by using the meat of killed animals (horses and donkeys) in the numerous medieval battles particularly bloody in the plains south and southeast of Padua.

    If fish is the master in Venetian dishes, in the most typical Paduan tradition it is the meats, not only horse or court, that are the queens of the table. For the appetizer or for a snack, the cured meats cannot be forgotten, among which the delicious  Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo Dop , made in the areas of the Lower Padovana and Lower Vicentina, protected by the homonymous Consortium and the "local products from Padua " recognized by the Ministry of Agricultural Policies such as "traditional" such as  salami ,  sopressa, (a large sausage of minced meat, similar to a large soft salami, which is served sliced ​​quite often, both raw and cooked, sometimes accompanied by polenta),  luganega  (long and thin sausage that is cooked whole or in chunks), the  coeghin  (cotechino).

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    Massimo Brombin

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