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Parco Del Sile

Germogli di Primavera – Discovering Parco Del Sile & the Badoere Asparagus IGP

Whilst during the last weekend everybody was debating if the new turnstile gates, installed at the foot of the main accesses of the historic center of Venice, would work or not, or, even better, if they should be there in the first place, I decided that it would be simply better to spend the day away from the city!

So, on Sunday, I accepted to take part in a blog tour in the province of Treviso, another beautiful city of the Veneto region, more precisely, a cycling tour of the area of Badoere and Morgano.

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La Rotonda di Badoere

To be honest, I knew these two little towns quite well, because in my teenage years I used to spend a lot of Sundays there, with a large group of friends. We used to ride by bike from my hometown of Spinea (the birth place of Federica Pellegrini, the great Italian champion swimmer) to Morgano, and simply have lazy summer picnics! A ride of about 20 km each way, but when done with friends, it felt like only a couple of kms.

The blog tour was organized by the  Consorzio di tutela dell’Asparago di Badoere IGP, the Comitato Provinciale Unpli Treviso and ZetaGroup Press and was organised inside Germogli Di Primavera, a series of event to promote Asparagus, one of the primary produce of this area.

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51 Mostra dellAsparago

Amongst the other participants there were my fellow bloggers  Paola Sartori of Prelibata, Erica Zampieri of Sapori e Dissapori, Laura Teso of My Corner of Italy, Giorgia Carlig and Nensi Coseani of Sister x Caso and a large group of local instagrammers:

@Bice987

@Silvia_rizzo_

@cadorin_alessandro

@abiabi85

@micpascu

@abe_ghiro88

@igerstreviso

The aim of the tour was for us, not to only sample & enjoy the world famous White and Green Asparagus of Badoere, but also to discover the territory where this delicious vegetable is grown.

Badoere, part of Morgano, in the province of Treviso

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Badoere

The meeting place was in the famous La Rotonda di Badoere, the main square of this little town.

There we were met by Valentina  Carcasso, from ZetaGroup Press, by the president of the ProLoco of Morgano (of which Badoere is part of)  and by Claudio Zennaro, our guide for the morning.

After a quick introduction, Claudio quickly presented the town of Badoere and its history.

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Claudio Zennaro, our guide and Laura Teso from My Corner of Italy

The original name of this area was Zeruol di Sopra, taking the name from the nearby river Zero.

The name was changed in the 17th century once a noble family from Venice, the Badoere, decided to build a proper location to house the big stock and agricultural market, which took place every Monday in the town and which was under the control of the Republic of Venice.

“La Rotonda, as the main square is known, was created thanks to the famiglia Badoere, a noble Venetian family which owned the ground where the Rotonda was built (called Zeruol di Sopra), according to a project of the Massaris’ school.

The family built both the small church dedicated to Anthony of Padua in 1645 and the Rotonda, whose function was to house the Monday market authorized by the Republic of Venice in 1689.

Particularly original is the western “barchessa” consisting of 41 arcades corresponding to as much shops owned by artisans and merchants. The shops under the porticoes had an entrance situated within the Rotonda and a balcony that could be opened upwards and functioned as a shop window, which has been enhanced by the recent renovation works.  from Comune di Morgano

We then went to collect our bicycles and started our morning ride through the green land of Morgano and Badoere.

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Monica on her bike by My Corner of Italy

The city of Morgano organizes a rental of bikes to explore their territory. Over 50 bicycles are available to tourists and residents to travel the eco-tourist routes in the territory of Morgano and along the high course of the river Sile.

The daily rental service is available for school groups and single groups on request with one week’s advance.

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Laura from My Corner of Italy

On booking it is also possible to take advantage of an expert guide, who will guide you along the two paths identified by the Pro Loco and proposed in a practical guide that you can find in their offices.

Riding through the countryside of Veneto

As we rode along the dirt and gravel roads, as well as proper bike lanes, we enjoyed a beautiful ride to the springs where Europe’s most important resurgence river, the Sile, is born.

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Canals

This is the Protected Natural Park of the Sile river, which covers an area of 4.159,00 hectares and flows among the towns of Casale sul Sile, Casier, Istrana, Morgano, Piombino Dese, Quarto D’Altino, Quinto di Treviso, Roncade, Silea, Treviso and Vedelago.

We pedaled along easy country lanes and cycle paths, immersed in a landscape rich in springs, small lakes, marshes and woods, all the way to the “fontanasso della Coa Longa”, the spring where the Sile begins its journey to the lagoon.

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The spring where the Sile starts

The Sile is the longest wellspring river in Europe with a length of 95 km. The area of resurgences, despite having undergone significant changes over time, includes typical natural elements inside such fontanili “fontanassi”, ponds and wetlands, bogs, and a dense network of waterways. In addition to the typical vegetation of wet meadows and risorgiva polle, there are poplars, willows, alders, oaks, elms and maples.

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The panorama is also full of windmills (in fact Treviso is referred to as the ‘Granary of the Republic’) and furnaces, witnesses to the presence of the hydraulic works realized by the Venetian Republic between the 15th and 18th centuries.

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Mill

Great lunch in Badoere

After about a 2 and half hour ride, Claudio and Valentina took us back to Badoere, where we went to have lunch in the stands of the 51° Mostra dell’Asparago di Badoere IGP.

Here of course the main menu is all about asparagus and that is exactly what we had.

Together with Laura Teso of My Corner of Italy, we chose Crepes with White Asparagus, Green Asparagus risotto, White Asparagus and boiled Eggs and Baked Green Asparagus with Speck.

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Crepes with Asparagus

Just two words: simply delicious!

And the service at the stand was unique: we sat down and within 5 minute all the food came out, piping hot, perfectly cooked….and this is the service in general, not just because of our blog tour!  Hats off to the organizers!

The Asparago di Badoere IGP

After a well-deserved rest and a delightful asparagus based meal, it was now time to discover all about the world of The Asparago di Badoere IGP and to do so we drove to Azienda Agricola Fantin Benvenuto, only a few minutes drive from the center of Badoere.

Here we were welcomed by the owner himself, Benvenuto Fantin, who took away precious time from his work to talk to us about asparagus, showing us how it is cleaned and prepared for sale.

But let’ start from the beginning!

First of all did you know in Italy we have two main types of asparagus: white and green?

Actually Benvenuto showed us 4 types: white, green, brighter green and purple! But people usually purchase the first two types.

There is a big difference in the way the white and green asparagus are grown!

The white asparagus is the product of the work of man, who shades it from light. It is white because it is not exposed to the sun, therefore is it grown under large mounds of earth and protected from sunlight with black plastic sheets.

In April and May, white shoots develop, pleasant and delicate in taste. The processing is strictly manual, from the collection to the selection of the calibres, from the cut to the binding of the bouquets with raffia, up to the packaging. The length of the shoots is between 14 and 22 cm, the caliber between 10 and 20 mm.

The green asparagus is green due to the action of chlorophyll. Green asparagus grows in sunlight, has a marked taste with a sweetish sprout. It is the only asparagus that does not need to be peeled. The length of the shoots is between 16 and 27 cm, the caliber between 8 and 22 mm

The Asparagus of Badoere, both green or white, is a IGP product of Italy, Indicazione Geografica Protetta, meaning it is controlled origin.

We were very lucky because Benvenuto took us to visit two of his main fields, one where he grows white asparagus and one where he grows the green one.

Here is a quick video where he explains how are it is to pick asparagus…remember next time you moan about the cost of this wonderful shoot – it is all hand picked!

The white asparagus field is a row of large mounds of earth covered by black plastic sheets.

Under the heat, the picking of the white asparagus is all done by hand, and it is quite a skill to pick the right shoot (in size, colour etc) and to actually carefully pick it without damaging it. Benvenuto very kindly showed us how it is done and made it look so simple…which, trust me, it is not.  This made me truly appreciate the cost of the asparagus on the market!

We then moved to the other field where he grows the green vegetable. Here the asparagus grows in a wildish sort of way: still on straight lines, but with no control, surrounded by weeds and grass. Standing tall towards the sun!

We got to see also how the asparagus are selected, cleaned, divided into bunches and then tied with raffia.

It was particularly nice of Benvenuto and his wife Silvia to show us around during their busiest time of the year: the farm was in full swings, with lots of people involved in the cleaning, selecting and bundling of the shoots!

Benvenuto told us also that this is also a particular year, due to the sudden heat: the asparagus are all coming out at once, from morning to evening…..and they must be picked quickly otherwise they will be damaged and not sellable.

He was also so kind and offered us a bottle of his Asparagus beer, which I am really forward to try out!

So, if you want to discover what Veneto has to offer, this is a good place to start!

The Parco del Sile with its great bikes rides, its great IGP Asparagus and its wonderful people!

Thanks you again Consorzio di tutela dell’Asparago di Badoere IGP, the Comitato Provinciale Unpli Treviso and ZetaGroup Press for organizing this wonderful tour of discovery of our beautiful land!

 

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About The Author

Pretending to be a food & travel blogger, giving it a go as a cooking instructor and culinary guide. Venice loving daughter and wanna-be guru. #aphotoofveniceaday Offering cooking lessons at http://www.cookinvenice.com As a friend once said: A Fire Cracker full of energy, writing a book on Cicchetti!

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