Cooking polenta (photo M. Dell'Agnola)

Polenta is a typical dish of all the Veneto region. The traditional polenta is mixed for a long time and cooked in a pot until it becomes dense and then divided into slices with a wire thread on a wood cutting board.

It is a food product served with chicken, rabbit, stew veal or any type of game. Perfect pottage for mushrooms, cod, cheese (fresh or cooked like schiz), cured meats or sausages, polenta is proposed in Belluno with typical pastìn, snails or stewed trout.

The American corn was introduced in Veneto in the early decades of the sixteenth century and spread everywhere, especially in the rural world, becoming in the eighteenth century the only food for poor. In Belluno, it replaced other cereals, like buckwheat and spelt with which since ancient times polenta was made.

The typical corn used in the territory is “sponcio corn”, a particular and scented variety of this cereal, which today has been largely recovered from several farmers.

Even today in Agordo, Cadore and Ampezzo areas, it is tradition to add a bit of buckwheat flour to the normal corn flour to get a more dark and grainy polenta, with an intense and slightly bitter flavor.

Polenta was often served with milk for simple breakfast or evening dinner. “Patugoi”, “pape”, “cavernola”, “dufeta”, “pestariei” are all local variations of fresh milk with crumbled polenta, or hot polenta of corn flour cooked in milk, food combinations of great simplicity but with surprising changes in taste, especially with the addition of fresh or melted butter, grated smoked ricotta, herbs or spices. 

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