Borettane onions of Veneto
With its sweet taste and crunchy texture, it is a very popular ingredient in cooking: often served with cold cuts or fried gnocchi, it is also much loved as a side dish and often paired with balsamic vinegar sauces. It is the Borettana Onion, a vegetable with a long history, and an excellent Italian market-garden product.
The Borettana onion probably gets its name from Boretto, a village in the province of Reggio Emilia, where it was grown back in the 1400s. Today, it is also grown in the provinces of Parma, in the north of Emilia and in the south of Veneto.
The art of growing
The Borettana onion loves deep, dry nutrient-rich soils and requires long-standing experience for its preparation, especially for sowing: in fact, this phase affects the size of the bulb, therefore the distances between the seeds must be accurately measured so that each plant has enough space to grow.
Irrigation also requires much care and attention: the onion plant has a large number of roots that remain in the surface layers of the soil. Therefore, the plant is very sensitive to water stress and so it needs to be irrigated carefully and constantly, adding the right amount of water to the soil. When the leaves become yellow and bend towards the ground, this means that the onion is ripe. In the past, harvesting was done by hand. Now it is done by cutting-edge machinery that allows the plants to be picked without ruining the soil. The onions are then washed and peeled by large rollers and prepared to be preserved in jars.
Our Borettane onions
At Valbona, we love Borettane onions, in all their different versions. For over 50 years, we have been preserving them in jars, according to different traditional recipes: Sweet and Sour Borettane Onions, Flavoured Grilled Borettane Onions and Borettane Onions in Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI.