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The day I ate a horse…

Just a quick post about a fairly unusual local dish of Verona which is the use of horse and donkey meat in several dishes, (although donkey meat is less common). I read that it’s actually a tradition which dates back to barbaric invasions.  At the end of the Roman Empire, northern European tribes settled in Verona and used to eat horse meat and it is a custom which has continued to the present day. (I don’t know how true this is but I haven’t heard any other explanations so I’ll have to go with this…)

It is not unusual to find horse meat on the menu in a restaurant and is actually used in several dishes. It is used in a stew called pastissada, served as horse or colt steaks, as carpaccio, or made into bresaola (air-dried and salted meat). Horse fat is used in recipes such as “pezzetti di cavallo” (pieces of horsemeat) and another favourite dish is horse on a bed of rocket, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Eating horse meat has always been quite a touchy subject and there have apparently been several campaigns in Italy to ban its consumption. However many argue that it is a part of the culinary tradition of Italy, especially in the Northern Veneto region. When I was in Verona I got the chance to try a pasta dish which contained a horse meat ragù and I have to admit it was incredibly tasty.

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