Of the many traditional meat dishes, special mention must be made of the most ancient recipes handed down from generation to generation, like rabbit meat with polenta, which you can still find in restaurants or in village fêtes, especially in the inland towns of Garda Veneto like Bussolengo or Sona.
From this last area, for example, is the tradition of stewed veal jowls, coming exclusively from local farms. As an alternative, you can try tripe in the Bussolengo area, during the traditional celebrations or at the restaurant. It is a dish of the rural tradition, that is either served in broth or like a “parmigiana” (meaning with tomato sauce and parmesan).
Polenta e Bogoni (lumache di terra) – Polenta and land snails
It is a traditional dish of the Veronese cuisine, also very common in Garda Veneto’s inland. Towns like Rivoli Veronese or the Sona area celebrate this dish in particular on the third Sunday of September, during the Sagra di San Giorgio.
It’s a complex dish to prepare, particularly the snails, which must be cleaned, parboiled, then washed in cold water, with white vinegar and salt, then boiled again in water seasoned with laurel, vinegar, garlic, carrot, celery and onion, and finally removed from the shell. After this procedure, the snails are clean and ready to be baked or cooked in a non-stick pan with oil, garlic, parsley, and also a touch of lemon zest and very finely chopped onion. Once in a while, a drop of white wine and a tad of butter is added, while the snails simmer for four hours. Once they’re ready, they are served on a bed of soft polenta.
Still from the Garda Veneto inland area is another delicacy: the garronese. It is a high quality, juicy and tender meat cut coming from animals of the Garronese race which are bred in Veneto for over 8 months, and fed cereals coming mainly from the surrounding areas, following a strict production protocol. Delicate and tender, it is best appreciated if eaten raw, but its flavour is enhanced also by cooking it rare, braised or pot roasted, so it melts in your mouth.