FEEDING THE PLANET, ENERGY FOR LIFE
TYPICAL PRODUCTS OF THE ASIAGO HIGHLAND
Celery cultivation is one of Rubbio’s small community’s flagships. Celery has been cultivated since the first years of 1900, and its success is due to the typicality of soils and of climate which alternates cold winters to dry and windy summers. Next to the well-known diuretic and digestive qualities, celery also tones up the nervous system and stimulates endocrine glands. Thanks to its high content in sodium, potassium and calcium it has a remineralising action. Finally, celery helps blood depuration and is advised against rheumatism, gout and kidney colics. This vegetable is used in the cosmetic field as it helps the skin re-gain its brightness and has a cicatrizing action. Celery is also used in cooking to make soups, accompany salads and together with lemons and carrots to make tasty cocktail juices.
ASIAGO HIGHLAND’S HONEY:
Honey has been produced in this area for decades. Varieties include Dandelion Honey, hay-flowers Honey also known as Millefiori (Thousand flowers) and high-mountain honey.
Dandelion Honey comes from the first seasonal flowering of Dandelions, during which bees collect flowers’ nectar. It has an intense smell and a straw-yellow colour, just like the flower it is produced from. Right after in the season comes the production of Millefiori Honey, which is obtained from hay-flowers, and has a delicate taste and amber colour. It is a refined quality of honey, as its flavour depends on the characteristics of the seasonal flowering of the plateau, and because its production is limited. High Mountain honey, is of a darker shade of gold, with a more intense flavour as it contains a percentage of fir honey, and represents the last seasonal honey production.
CHEESE ASIAGO OF ASIAGO:
Pressed Asiago – fresh – A sweet, delicate taste with a hint of acidity due to its short ripening but never bitter. Its 20 days aging gives it a straw-yellow colour, and a soft paste, a bit sticky, but extremely soluble.
Lo Stravecchio d’Allevo obtained from partially skimmed milk is especially produced to be ripened. Its paste is tasty and compact, of golden-yellow colour. Of the 300.000 wheels produced each year, only a small amount is produced in high mountain, in the 27 alpine huts still existing in Asiago. Allevo can be consumed “mezzano”, after 4/8 months, ripened after 8/18 months or “stravecchio” after at least 19 months. This is the cheese that the international food association “Slow Food” has chosen to safeguard. In the Alpine huts called “malghe”, are breeded different races of cows: Bruno Alpine, Frisone and Rendene. This last is the race of the traditional cows of these mountains, perfect to be left grazing and which give the best quality milk.
Asiago d’allevo – ripened – it is a cheese of a more heavy-bodied taste. Compared to the pressed cheese , It has a richer smell, which recalls hints of yeast, shell fruits, and sometimes boiled chestnut. It feels compact, lightly elastic to the touch and has a straw-yellow colour when shortly aged, harder and of a gold-amber colour when ripened. It requires a longer chewing, but is at the same time rather soluble. its sweet taste can become more savoury, almost spicy, depending on ripening times.
Dolcezza d’Asiago Is a newly invented product, of just two years of age, but already well sought-after. It is a non-ripened cheese, made with full-cream milk only, of circular shape, with a soft thin crust and a compact paste. It has a straw-yellow colour and a sweet taste. It reaches complete ripening in just 20 days, in an environment between 8-10 degrees.
Acidino Fresh cheese, made with goat milk, left to naturally become sour with the adding of herbs and flavours.
Arrived in Europe after America’s discovery, potatoes entered families’ daily nutrition from the end of 1700, and found their natural environment in mountainous areas, where corn grew with difficulty. Thanks to their versatility, and the possibility of being stored for long periods of time, it became one of the most important sustenance sources. The ancient variety of this vegetable, which had a violet-black skin is no more cultivated, but nevertheless the actual production is still widely appreciated. The exceptional good taste of these potatoes comes from a combination of environmental conditions: ideally structured soils, harsh winters which prevent from diseases, fresh and dry summers, which best suit its growth and the higher concentration of starches which gives the product unique qualities. The actual potatoes Of Rotzo are characterized by a white or reddish skin, and are cultivated in soils at a height ranging between 700 mt and 1000mt. Storage takes place in fresh and dark basements.
Who has ever been to Asiago, surely knows it. This is a very simple cake that during the years has earned a prominent role among the delicious gastronomic specialities of the place. Nonetheless of its apparent simplicity (wheat flour, butter, eggs, sugar, almonds, flavours), the secret of this cake hides in its softness and fragrance, given by the generous amount of Asiago butter and by the freshness of the ingredients of its dough. Mount Ortigara was the place of the harshest battle fought on the Asiago highland, during World War 1st. In 1920, to commemorate this sad event, sisters Susanna and Caterina Carli decided to name “Ortigara” to the cake they had been producing since 1909. With the outbreak of World War 1st, their family was compelled to flee from Asiago, but during the conflict years the two sisters continued their activity and periodically reached the front to provide soldiers with cakes and chocolate. At the end of the war, the sisters returned to Asiago where, in a wooden hut they re- opened their activity. Today, the bakery continues to be a family-run by the descendants of the founders, and still maintains unchanged the prestige and reputation acquired during the years.
Asiago speck is a lightly smoked raw ham, aged for at least 22 weeks. It has a more delicate and balanced taste than the heavy smoked, savoury and slightly seasoned raw hams of North Europe, and a more characteristic and sharp taste than the sweet raw ham of the Mediterranean area. This characteristic taste comes from the traditional processing method applied to Asiago Speck. This raw ham respects the tradition as for being a modern food, particularly nutritious, low in calories, and with a high proteins content. For its characteristics it represents a valid substitute of meat, eggs and cheese. And that is not all, removing its “fat” part it can also become suitable for strict dietary regimes. Its traditional production follows “eight golden rules”, thus identifying the processing method attributed to Asiago Speck.
This beer is produced in partnership with a small brewery in Carinthia, Austria. This choice has been made for three reasons: first of all, for both a territorial and historical matter due to the migration of the Cimbri populations, which find their origins in the Austro-germanic territories. Secondly, for a time factor, as this brewery has been producing beer since 1200, right in the middle of the cimbric epoch. Finally, for the quality and freshness of products and raw materials, such as spring water, and malt coming from the barley grown in the brewery fields. The usual pasteurization process applied to industrial beers, represents a heat treatment method which also entails an alteration of the chemical, physical and organoleptic qualities of the product itself. Cimbra beer is a non-pasteurized but filtered lager beer, produced using only the water coming from the natural springs of the park located in the surroundings of the Brewery, first-quality malt, German and Bohemian hops. All ingredients are completely Ogm –Free, thus allowing a natural production process which keeps scents and flavours unchanged. This beer is also low in Co2, thus allowing a better digestion.
DISTILLED SPIRIT KRANEBET
Kranebet is a Juniper distilled spirit produced by the distillery Rossi D’Asiago. The spirit is obtained from the distillation of juniper berries, gentian and other alpine herbs and its alcohol content is 40 % vol . The name “Kranebet” comes from the Cimbro ” Kraneweta “, literally ” bitter grains ” , ancient German name of juniper. Once harvested, juniper berries are dried in the sun. As for their properties (tonic , astringent, antiseptic and diuretic) juniper berries are used in many recipes. The berries’characteristic aroma is also ideal for the preparation of alcoholic beverages. This is why juniper represents the first raw material from which this spirit that has been representing the historical emblem of Rossi D’asiago, the highest distillery of Europe. Totally natural , free from artificial colours and flavour, it is consumed as a digestif and can be drunk neat , with ice or used as base for cocktails and long drinks. Kranebet is also used in cooking to flavour stews and roasts.
WINES OF ASIAGO’S FOOTHILLS
With over 600 acres of vineyards, Breganze is a small Doc (Denomination Origin Controlled) in the Veneto Region. Its wines are widely known around the world thanks to the quality of its wine experience, knowledges and attention to the area’s soil and climate peculiarities. 10% of the area is used to grow Vespaiola, 60 acres from which Breganze’s viticulture is able to extract its flagship wine, Torcolato, a sweet wine which represents the essence of this land.
Wine Torcolato is obtained from grapes particularly loved by wasps for their high content in sugar. Once picked, the grapes are left to dry for several months. The drying process is a very important step, as it takes place in dry and well-aired rooms, where clusters are tied to wooden beams and twisted, “torcolati” as in the area dialect. During this time grapes loose a good part of their water thus favoring sugar concentration.
Subsequently grapes undergo a slow pressing from which is obtained a golden must. Slow is also the stage of fermentation after which the wine is racked into small oak barrels where it remains for a time ranging from one year to 24 months for the wines of excellent quality . It ‘s worth noting that from 100 kilograms of grapes are obtained only about 25 litres of wine.
“Torcolato” shows a warm golden-yellow colour with amber highlights . Its scent is delicate and complex with intense aromas of ripe and exotic fruits, and dried apricot. You can recognize hints of acacia honey and vanilla . The taste is sweet but not cloying, its acidity tempers the sweetness and the tannins obtained from wood blend perfectly with the wine alcohol, which can range between 11 and 13 ° . This wine goes very well with dry pastries, but it is also good with foie gras paté, and blue, seasoned and tasty cheeses.
This vine is native of the foothills of Vicenza highlands, especially in the area of Breganze. The name Vespaiolo, refers to the wasps attraction for ripe and sugary berries in the periods close to harvest. Vespaiolo is a dry and drinkable wine. it has a straw yellow color with golden reflections. The scent is not too intense or complex, but very delicate, slightly fruity and herbaceous. The taste is fresh and fruity. If fermented after being dried it takes the name of Torcolato.
TYPICAL PRODUCTS OF BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
Its white color is due to the fact that this type of asparagus is harvested when still in the ground. Not taking any sunlight it does not carry out photosynthesis which usually gives the green color. As Protected by the “Consortium Asparagus of Bassano” from 1982, asparagus must meet strict requirements concerning its characteristics such as color, diameter, freshness and appearance. A typical tasting of asparagus of the Bassano area is: Asparagus and eggs, in which asparagus are boiled and enjoyed with a egg based.
The Spirit “Grappa Nardini” has been brewed and bottled in Bassano del Grappa since 1779. In that year Bortolo Nardini bought the premises of ‘”Tavern on the bridge” at the entrance of the famous Bassano bridge on Brenta River. The tavern would later become “Grapperia Nardini”, located in a strategic position both for water supply, essential for distillation, and for the ease with which it was possible, sailing on the river, to reach the main markets of the region, primarily Venice.
Bortolo Nardini’s company is the owner of two distilleries of Veneto region, located in Bassano del Grappa and Monastier. As for the quality of the raw materials used in its production, consumers consider this spirit a genuine product which also entails digestive functions. It is usually drunk after dinner with family and friends, at restaurants, during holidays; or offered as a quality gift.
Cherries of Marostica have recently been awarded the IGP brand by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The cherries varieties grown in the Astico and Brenta Area are almost sixteen, grouped into three major types: early cherries (like Sandra and Bigaeraux), early-medium cherries (most notably the Roman and the cornea), late cherries (including the beautiful Italy, Giorgia, rail etc. varieties).
CHEESE MORLACCO DEL GRAPPA
This cheese finds its origins in the Balkans region between Istria and Dalmatia, and arrived in italy carried by shepherds who settled in the area of Mount Grappa. In the past, this cheese was derived from goat’s milk, but today it has become a meal cheese made from whole cow’s milk, remarked for the very special taste that, according to some food critics, goes with Malvasia. In fact, Morlacco has a very salty taste, with an intense fragrance accentuated by time. Produced only during the summer the cheese acquires its extraordinary richness of aromas and flavors thanks to the variety of alpine environments which provide cows a very rich and varied flora. It is still produced using traditional methods. This cheese goes very well with grilled polenta, slices of sopressa, used as a filling for gnocchi or simply alone.
CHEESE BASTARDO DEL GRAPPA
This cheese called “bastard” has a yellow paste which varies its colour tone depending seasoning times, that changes the dough consistency progressively becoming more grainy but still quite compact. For its production is used pasteurized cow’s milk, and its average seasoning time is one year. The “bastard” is a traditional product coming from Grappa’s grazing lands, produced in the time going from June to September. It seems likely that the spreading of this dairy product took place after the Second World War thanks to the establishment of less precarious economic and social conditions.
RADICCHIO OF CASTELFRANCO VENETO
It is an extremely special variety of radicchio, with a delicate flavour and a crunchy texture, which can add a tasty flavour to even the most simple salad. Its appearance and soft colours make it look like a flower. In 1996, the European Community recognized this variety of radicchio with the Protected Geographical Indication brand. The variegated radicchio of Castelfranco is produced in a geographical area including part of the territory of the provinces of Padua, Treviso and Venice.
In the Vicenza area still lingers the tradition of killing pigs between November and February, with the purpose of obtaining pork sausages, bacon, and “sopresse”. Among the various “sopresse” of Veneto, a level of excellence has been earned by those of Vicenza’s foothills area. Sopressa’s paste is produced by grinding the best quality pork meat (thigh, back neck, loin, bacon and shoulder) to which is added salt as a preservative and black pepper as flavoring. This custom of not adding any other ingredients is perhaps the most significant peculiarity of Vicenza’s area that has been handed down to present, together with the choice of the more rustic pigs’ race and the pigs’ feeding method, not including by-products.
CHEESE RICOTTA (Puìna) del GRAPPA
Ricotta also called “puina” as in Bassano dialect, is a dairy product obtained from the cheese serum. It is used as filling for ravioli and cannelloni, in many dishes to make the sauce denser, and in cakes to soften the dough and adding taste. The salted, dried and smoked ricotta is instead grated on pasta. A quick and easy recipe is one in which are mixed 400 g of shredded cheese with sugar, cinnamon and half a glass of brandy, served in small plates with biscuits.