It is the second-largest culinary event in Europe and Italy’s first rice-themed festival. Every year, half a million people visit the Rice Fair in Isola della Scala, in the province of Verona. Large crowds are predicted for the 2023 edition, also thanks to the return of Taste of Earth, the program that brings rice producers from all over the world to Verona.
The rice fair will be held this year from September 13 to October 8. For 26 days, all will revolve around the Palariso, a building shaped like a grain of rice where rice producers will display their goods in food stands. The fair, however, does not end at the Palariso. The trade fair will extend all the way to the ancient heart of Isola della Scala, with over 100 exhibitors and a route that includes crafts, leisure, gas items, gardening, and much more.
The rice festival provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture and traditions of the many regions through cuisine and enology. Another significant presence at the 55th edition will be that of the popular Valpolicella wine, which will be the protagonist of the “Risotto all’Amarone” event on September 21, an evening dedicated to the iconic dish that cannot be missed on the Veronese tables.
However, there are various events scheduled in addition to the gastronomic experiences. These include parades in period costumes, concerts, guided tours of rice fields, and rice exhibitions, as well as typical children’s activities such as the educational animal farm and the Sunday market in the center of town.
The rice fair repeats “Taste of Earth”, a trip around the world with a focus on sustainability
Following the success of last year’s event, the organization will once again offer an opportunity to travel around the world through rice dishes from September 28 to October 8, when the Taste of Earth program will take place. On Saturday, October 7, for example, the Rice Fair will host ” Rice and Sake”, which will be joined by the Hashi Cultural Association of Verona. Participants will try three traditional sakes on a day dedicated to Japanese food and culture.
JRE-Jeunes Restaurateurs, an association of young restaurateurs and chefs from all around Europe, will also be returning with their menus to Verona for a gourmet dinner by reservation.
Aside from international exhibitors, there will be a specific emphasis on sustainability, defined both as sensitivity to environmental impact and as an incentive for healthy eating. There will be a number of gastronomic, cultural, and economic events, as well as seminars and conferences.
Of course, there will be no shortage of producers from Verona who will propose the typical Nano Vialone rice, which is well known internationally. In fact, it was the first rice, in Europe, to receive the IGP (protected geographical indication) mark in 1996, and is now produced by just 24 Verona municipalities. Its key feature is its capacity to absorb seasoning flavours, which is why it is considered the king of risotto rice prepared with meat, vegetables, and fish.