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Emilia Romagna

The eel of the Comacchio Valleys

Echoes of the fabulous banquets of the Este family entice food lovers passing through the Ferrara area

14 December 2022

The eel is a ubiquitous fish, but there is one place in Italy, the Comacchio Valleys, where its breeding and processing are unparalleled. Comacchio is a "little Venice" in the area of Ferrara. Its old town is, so to speak, "amphibious", lying on 12 small islands surrounded by brackish lagoons, the so-called "valleys". High-quality fish, first and foremost the eel, have been bred In these "valleys" since ancient times, in accordance with their natural cycles. The eel represents the true gastronomic pride of the town: "on a spit, fried, roasted, stewed, it is widely consumed especially at Christmas Eve lunches," reads the first Italian Touring Club Gastronomic Guide in 1931. According to connoisseurs, today there are 48 recipes for the eel, starting with a risotto with a hint of nutmeg. The first in popularity, however, remains the marinated eel, which still today spreads the name of Comacchio all over Italy and the world; a delicacy for true connoisseurs, considering the taste (and also the price).

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