Treviso Italy. The Art of Making
A food and wine tour of a top-notch destination
By Paul Shoul GoNOMAD Staff
There is a small restaurant in the corner of an old cobblestone courtyard in Treviso Italy that lays claim to being the birthplace of the dessert of all desserts, Tiramisu.
On the 24th of December, 1969, the owner of Le Beccherie, confectioner Roberto Linguanotto combined Ladyfingers dipped in coffee, mascarpone cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and egg yolks, formed into an unassuming layered cake. It floats into your mouth. A perfect combination, it is impossible to stop eating and likely to produce a smile.
Some say it was originally served at bordellos as an aphrodisiac to give their clientele a boost of energy, but that is the longer story, part of the beautiful history, lore and tradition that surrounds all food in Italy.
A Tradition of Craftsmanship
Tradition and pride of craftsmanship were what brought me to this charming town as the guest of Treviso Glocal, a branch of the local chamber of commerce. Our small group of four journalists were given a unique behind the scenes look at some of the regions finest food and wine producers, and of course we also ate at some fantastic restaurants. Here is what I found out and why you should consider Treviso in your next trip to italy.
Treviso is about a half hour north of Venice, the capital of the Vento province. It has all the charm of cobblestone streets with its share of canals and bridges over the River Sile running through the middle.
The downtown is best seen on foot with arcaded walkways and an abundance of restaurants, bars small cafes and chic stores. There are plenty of small courtyards, frescos, sculptures and small weaving streets to get lost in.
Downtown is just a short walk from the railway station. Not a bad reason to consider Treviso as a base from which to explore Venice and the surrounding area.
Since Roman times, Prosecco has been produced in this region. Although the name is attached to wines all over the world, in 2010 its meaning was changed to reinforce that true Prosecco is not the just the name of a grape, it is a geographical location, protected by a DOCG status.
In other words if it doesn’t come from here, it is not Prosecco. Offered morning noon and night at local restaurants, there is nothing better than to sit and watch the world go by with a glass at hand.
We visited and did tastings with both local producer consortiums and visited the Toffoli Winery, which is open to the public.
Ranging from Brut, the driest, to extra dry, the sweetest, (confusing but true), with hints of Green apple, Honeydew melon and pear, Prosecco is best served chilled.
Like the Tiramisu you might have had at a wedding in Boston, You may have thought it was pretty good, but it pales in comparison when you have the real deal and taste what you have been missing.
One of the cool things about travel is being exposed to food you have never had before. I thought I had eaten radicchio, but that changed after meeting Matteo Portelli at Tenuta Al Parco, one of the largest producers of Radicchio Rosso di Treviso.
Harvested in the fall. The plants are stored standing up in darkened sheds bathed in spring water for days.
The result is a plant with long thin leaves like an endive and a deep red color with a complex, sweet bitterness.
Radicchio is everywhere people eat in Treviso, and exported around Italy and the world. There are even small food stalls grilling it along the streets of the city.
Culture and tradition
In 1932 Luca Fracarro’s grandparents opened the small Faccaro Spumadoro bakery. Today they bake over 12,000 of their world famous Panettone sweet cakes a day. Luca beams with pride as he shows us around the busy bakery, but especially so when he lifts up a baby sized package wrapped with care and kept in its own refrigerator.
It is the same sourdough starter culture used by his grandparents, kept alive for generations.
A similar commitment to artisanal craftsmanship is present at the Nonno Nanni cheese factory, one of the leading producers of soft cheese in the region. Bacteria is introduced into long flowing vats of heated pasteurised milk that eventually forms into curds and is pressed.
Both of these producers have grown in size yet maintained their commitment to tradition. Like the Fracarro bakery, this is a family business. Brothers Luigi, Armando and Bruno are continuing a process originally started in 1947 by their parents. They may have more hands working now, but the product is just as fresh and delicious.
A few favorite Treviso restaurants
Locanda de Lino: Via Roma, 19, 31053 Solighetto TV, Italy
Larger than life, this vast restaurant/ inn is a maze of different rooms decorated with paintings, sculpture and over 300 brass pots hanging from the ceilings.
Thursdays is Fish day, and I had some of the best shrimp, octopus and fried crabs and fish I have ever had the pleasure of eating. This is a must eat restaurant if you are in the area.
Trattoria al Forno: Viale degli Alpini, 5, Refrontolo TV, Italy
I scribbled down a note to myself while eating here that I finally had landed in a spot worthy of this region’s reputation for food.
The risotto with mushrooms and pumpkin was illuminating. I have never been a risotto fan, often finding it mushy and bland. Their rendition still had a little bite to the rice yet was creamy and intensely flavored.
The guinea fowl and pork with truffle sauce and chestnuts was to die for. Accompanied by Toffoli wine, It was everything I had imagined and hoped I would find in a real italian restaurant.
The La Terazza restaurant in the Luxury 5-Star Hotel Albergo al Sole is located in the picturesque medieval town on of Aslo, about 40 min from Tresio. Known as the City of a 100 horizons, it is a stunning spot revered by writers and poets.
La Terazza did not disappoint. Fillet of beef with Aslo red wine sauce served with Radicchio, porcini mushroom risotto with Cassatella cheese and an autumn salad with quail breast, Lamon beans and pomegranate left me speechless. Wow.
Antico Portico: Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, 18, 31100 Treviso TV, Italy.
Located in downtown Treviso, this delightful restaurant has outdoor seating and offered a plethora of local specialties: Pumpkin gnocchi with poppy seeds, Fried ricotta with marinated radicchio, Stewed salt cod with polenta. Come on, you’re in Italy, indulge. A local favorite.
Abitue Treviso; Vicolo Pescheria, 9, 31100 Treviso TV, Italy
Very hip cool spot. The Iberico ham with mozzarella, shrimp fried in thin string potatoes and salt cod with polenta were particularly good.
Odeon alla Colonna: Vicolo Rinaldi, 3, 31100 Treviso TV, Italy
A fitting last meal in Treviso, Odeon alla Colonna is as authentic as it gets. Overlooking a canal in Treviso center, Inside is a long well stocked bar a few tables and a fantastic ambiance. Of course we drank prosecco, and ate Prosciutto cruda with marinated radicchio, Risotto with radicchio, Egg Tagliolini with black butter and truffles and braised Gilthead sea bream with Pumpkin puree and a wine glaze. This was a heck of a meal. Topped off with Grappa and finally Tiramisu.
Where to stay in Treviso:
Masion Matilda Bread and Breakfast; Via Jacopo Riccati, 44, 31100 Treviso TV, Italy
Located in the historic district with beautifully restored rooms and a great breakfast.
How to get to Treviso
Turkish Airlines website
I flew Turkish Airlines from Newyork to Venice via Istanbul. A long flight but economical. The food and service were fantastic for an economy flight.
For more info on travel to Italy
This trip was made with assistance by the Italian national tourist board and Treviso Glocal.
Paul Shoul is a Northampton, MA-based photographer who doubles as a staff writer for GoNOMAD. For thirty years he’s lived in the Pioneer Valley and chronicled life there though his work in the Valley Advocate and Preview magazines. He’s also been seen in the Boston Globe, New York Times, BBC, the Chronicle of Higher Education and many other publications. Today as well as shooting around the world for GoNOMAD he works for local nonprofits, banks and advertising agencies.