Veneto family food traditions


 In this blog, Diana Panazzolo nee Santin writes about the Veneto food traditions that have been passed down to her from her mother and grandmothers and which she is passing onto her daughter and granddaughters.

The photo above shows the Santin family, Caselle di Altivole, 1973.
Front: Diana, Clara, Alan, Romildo. Front: nonno Olivo Oliviero and

nonna Maria Oliviero with Lisa.

Following her mother
Diana Panazzolo nee Santin says, “My Mum loved her traditional cooking. I use her recipes all the time – baccalà, gnocchi, biscuits and of course, crostoli.”

Diana grew up on Frogmore Road with her parents, Romildo (Nugget) Santin and Clara Oliviero, and her brother, Alan and sister, Lisa. Her parents worked the market gardens of 12.5 acres with Romildo’s brothers and their wives: Lui and Rosina (nee Tonellato) and Vito and Anna (nee Mattiazzo. The Santin families grew tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, letttuces on their land.

Romildo and Clara married in 1950 in Caselle di Altivole where Romildo had been born. After they married they lived in Adelaide at Lockleys – on the Berno brothers’ property at Valetta Road until they moved to Frogmore Road in 1952. Diana was born in 1951.

The Santin family: Romildo, Clara, Alan and Diana with nonna Costantina, Frogmore Road, 1962.


Diana was at school when she first started cooking for the family. Her mother worked in the Santin families’ market gardens and sometimes when Diana came home from school, she’d follow instructions and prepare the family meal. Diana still makes her nonna Tina’s tasty sardine dish that her children and grandchildren love to eat.



Making crostoli
Diana speaks with fondness about making crostoli which were always a special sweet food that her mother made. “It’s a thin white fried pastry, so light and crispy that when you have one, you just want more.”

Deni, Sandra, Diana, Danielle, Lisa. The end of the day and crostoli is ready. West Beach, c 2018.


Making the crostoli is now a three-generation gathering held at the home of Diana’s cousin, Sandra, and Sandra’s husband, Deni Conci. They are joined by their daughters, Amanda and Danielle and Diana’s granddaughters, Ava and Lea, and Diana’s sister, Lisa, on a date close to Christmas. Sometimes, Sandra’s sister, Denise is another cook.

It’s a big day that usually begins at 10:00 am and finishes about 4:00 or 5:00 pm.


The process of making crostoli

Ava, Lea and Diana – rolling out the dough for crostoli, 2018.

After mixing the dough, there are four main steps to make crostoli – rolling, cutting frying and sprinkling sugar on them. The whole process could take up to two hours. Diana takes her dough to Sandra’s home and rolls it through the pasta machine at least 12 times to make it as thin as possible.

Diana says that you have to feel the texture and make sure it is not too sticky.The thin dough is cut into strips before they are fried in a pot of oil for about 15 seconds.  After taking them out, it is often the children’s task to sprinkle sugar on the crostoli.


And the recipe…
Families pass the recipe for crostoli down to daughters although it is often adapted by the next generation. Diana has modified her mother’s recipe by using Prosecco – and has generously shared it.

Ingredients for crostoli

  • 6 eggs
  • 300 mls of cream
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • Vanilla sugar or essence
  • 4 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 cup of prosecco or wine
  • ½ cup of melted butter
  • Rind of a lemon and an orange
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 liqueur glass of grappa
  • Essence – anise, lemon, orange – or anise liqueur or strega
  • Pinch of salt
  • Plain flour to roll the dough
Crostoli ready to eat.
The results of a crostoli day organised by Diana and Sandra!








Easter traditions
Many years ago, Diana’s auntie, zia Giannina who lives in Caselle di Altivole sent her two moulds for making the pascal lamb at Easter. Diana makes the pascal lamb and marshmallow rabbits as part of the Easter feast for the family.

Pascal lambs and marshmallow rabbits, 2018.
Diana’s fugussa made for Easter, 2022.








Another tradition is making the Veneto fugussa – a sweet bread made with yeast. Diana remembers that when she was in Italy in 1962, her nonna made the fugussa, put them on a cart under a tablecloth and took them to a neighbour who had a large oven and cooked them there.

Other foods that Diana cooks and that are part of her family Easter customs include baccalà made from stockfish and polenta.

Baccala and polenta, 2022.

Carrying on the traditions
Another tradition that Diana and her family follow is having roasted chestnuts in autumn. Diana makes brue to go with the chestnuts.

Clara and Romildo Santin, roasting chestnuts, Frogmore Road, late 1990s.

To make brue, you boil wine, sugar, cloves, chopped apple and pear, orange peel and cinnamon sticks. Once it is boiled, you set fire to the brew and the alcohol evaporates.




Diana also sometimes makes sbattuletto, a mixture of egg yolk, sugar, and marsala. This is added to black coffee as a pick-me-up.

Two of her mother’s traditions that Diana does not follow are cooking tripe and snails. When her nonna was alive, she would feed them with bran for several days, a process that “cleaned” them before cooking them. Diana’s Mum used to collect snails from the artichoke plants at Bolivar where the Santin families also had land. Then she would use the same process to clean the snails. When one of the Oliviero aunties came from Caselle to stay with her parents, she collected snails from Diana’s garden to prepare for a meal.

A family visit to Caselle di Altivole in 2019
Diana and her husband Roberto and two of their children and their young children visited Caselle di Altivole. Diana and Roberto stayed with one of Diana’s auntie and enjoyed spending time with relatives and renewing their knowledge of the area. Roberto’s family came San Vito di Altivole, about 6 kilometres from Caselle. Diana feels very close to her two aunties there – she says “they’re part of the connection to my Mum.”

Zia Nene, zia Giannina, Ivano, Diana, Roberto, Caselle di Altivole, 2019.

Pride in the family food traditions
Diana loves passing on her food traditions to her family. Her daughter and granddaughters, Ava and Lea have learned how to make gnocchi and biscuits.

Ava and Lea after making biscotti and gnocchi with Diana, 2022.



 Diana says, “I think my parents would be very proud that we carry on the traditions. I’m very proud of my daughter, Amanda, who is also cooking lots of her nonna’s recipes.”




Diana Panazzolo nee Santin and Madeleine Regan
10 September 2023

All photos provided by Diana.



Paolo Mazzocato and Alda Trinca – Part 1

Paola Squires nee Mazzocato lives in Melbourne and writes here about her family history in village of Barcon di Vedelago in the province of Treviso  in two parts. This blog is the story of her father and Part 2 will be about her mother.

In the image above, Paolo is on his Vespa in the courtyard of the family home in Barcon di Vedelago, c 1961.

Part 1 – Early life in Italy and initial emigration to Australia

My father, Paolino Mazzocato was born in 1933 in the small rural town of Barcon di Vedelago, approximately 23km from Treviso. He was one of seven living children (one had passed away at six years after an accident and one only survived for five months).

My mother, Alda Trinca was born in 1936 in Treviso but grew up from the age of three years in Barcon di Vedelago as an only child.

Barcon, in those days, and for generations prior, indeed, since the 1200s was a small rural agricultural village where the main crops harvested were grapes and maize. It is still only a small town of around 1400 residents.

Most farmers were mezzadri (sharecroppers) as a lot of the land was owned by the family Pola who had owned Villa Pola (since the 1500s) in the centre of Barcon. Therefore, any profits from crops grown or livestock, were divided equally between the landowners and the farmers. The overseer, hired by the family Pola, would organise for all crops to be weighed at harvest, and livestock to be counted and examined, and profits divided.  This was how generations of both sides of my ancestors subsisted. My mother lived just outside the villa walls. The villa has now been turned into a Birreria (brewery and bar) and a wedding/function venue.

Paolo, before migrating, Barcon, early 1950s.

After completing the first few years of high school Dad completed a Certificate in Agriculture and worked on the family farm.  He was very involved in playing soccer with his local team and he also told me he was a good sprinter. He liked to go out to dances, sagre, (town festivals) and socialise at home with his friends, often in the stable behind the house in winter where he would play the harmonica and also pretended he could play the piano accordion in order to impress the girls.

Despite growing up in the same small village, Dad first “noticed” Mum when she was about 16 and he was 19. She wasn’t interested in boys at all at that stage.  She was busy with her schoolwork and later, her work as a seamstress, singing in the choir at church, acting with the local amateur theatre group and doing charity work with her friends.

Theatre group at Barcon, Alda Trinca, aged 21 years on left, 1957.

When she was 16, her father bought her a red Vespa and she enjoyed riding to Castelfranco Veneto on a Saturday, with her friend riding pillion, buying a newspaper or magazine and doing a passeggiata (a formal kind of walk) around town.

However, he persevered. He had a plan.

Alda’s father, Nonno Albino used to regularly spend time at the Osteria Trinca (the village bar with a bocce court) near Dad’s home. Often Dad would secretly follow him home, to make sure he didn’t fall into one of the agricultural ditches which ran alongside most road, and which were full of water.

His modus operandi– look after the father in order to impress the daughter. 😊 I asked him if he was secretly hoping Albino would fall into the ditch, so that he could fish him out and look like the hero!  He just gave me a wink.

However, Mum still took no notice.

Paolo’s landing document – disembarkation in Australia, 7 May 1956.

Money was tight at home and Australia was actively recruiting workers, with promises of a good income and assisted passage.  The ads were posted on the doors of the Church and caused a lot of chatter among the young men. Dad was the second eldest in the family, his elder brother having already left for the priesthood and he decided to leave for Australia in 1956 when he was 23 years old. Mum was 20 and she still had no idea he was in love with her.

Unfortunately, before he passed away, I didn’t ask Dad how he made his final decision to leave for Australia, how long he intended to stay, or who he worked for in Queensland, but I do remember a few things he told me …


The “Aurelia.”

He left Italy from Genoa on the ship “Aurelia” with a couple of friends from Barcon, and landed in Cairns, Australia, on May 17, 1956, after stopping at various ports on the subcontinent, experiencing some cultures that he would never have dreamed in his wildest dreams.



He worked on the cane fields in Ingham for 7 months. He said it was brutal work – using scythes to cut the cane after burning it – he couldn’t believe the snakes, and rats that ran out of the cane. He couldn’t get the black soot off his hands or legs.

Paolo, canefields, Ingham, c 1956.
Paolo, canefields, Ingham , 1956.

One day the owner of the plantation came to them and asked if anyone knew how to cook as their cook had fallen ill. Dad put up his hand and was therefore given the job – the problem was, the only things he knew how to cook were spaghetti and fried eggs! I don’t know if he ever expanded his repertoire. 😊

He left Queensland for Melbourne in 1957.

Paola, beside the monument to honour Italian cane workers, Innisfail, 2022.

Last year my husband and I went to Cairns and followed the sugar cane trail to Ingham and Innisfail in order to experience some of the landscape that Dad may have seen during his time there. We visited a few museums and tried to learn a little about what the workers living in that region may have experienced in the ’50s. I had already started a FaceBook group “Italian Canecutters in Queensland” so I was hoping to be able to glean a little more information to add to the group’s archives.


Memorial to Italian canecutters, Ingham.

I don’t know why, but it seems there are a lot more records and photos of the first wave of immigrants to the region in the 1920s than there are of those in the ‘50s. In any case, there is obvious dedication of many people still in those areas to preserve the history of the sugar cane industry and emigration, and paying homage to those young men and women who sustained the industry for so many years.



Paolo and Alda at the Mazzocato farmhouse in Barcon 2011.

Paola Squires nee Mazzocato
27 August 2023

All photos supplied by Paola.

For more information about Barcon di Vedelago, (And wonderful historic photos) see the following websites:

A new life begins with a journey

In the portrait above, Francesco and Margherita Marchioro pose with their elder two daughters, Lina and Mary, Adelaide, 1927-1928.
Photo, courtesy Connie Legovich nee Marchioro.

Between March 1926 and January 1928, nineteen adults and a baby arrived in Adelaide from the Veneto region to begin a new life as migrants in a country that was facing difficult economic times. All but three became market gardeners during the 1930s in the area the veneti called Lockleys. They formed a close community and created a paese or village within about three kilometres of each other. Today, the Veneto market gardener community has many descendants and links that have spread across Australia, to Italy and Canada. In this blog, the individuals who arrived in the late 1920s are listed in order of their arrival.

The National Archives of Australia holds some passport photos, and other photos used in the blog have been provided by family members.

The first of the Veneto market gardener group arrived in Adelaide in 1926. Francesco Marchioro and Margherita Marchioro, were the only married couple in the group. They left Malo in the province of Vicenza with their baby daughter, Mary. Francesco was 25 years old, Margherita, 21 years and Mary was about 18 months. Lina was born the year after their arrival, and Connie, eleven years later. The couple had been sponsored by Margherita’s brother, Florindo.

Domenico Rossetto, Adelaide, early 1940s. Photo, courtesy, Christine Rebellato nee Mattiazzo.


Domenico Rossetto, aged 32 years, arrived on 31 May 1926 from Bigolino. Domenico’s wife, Carmela and daughter, Anna, arrived in 1929. A son, Modesto was born in 1931. He was the first of eight Rossetto siblings to emigrate to Australia while just one son remained in Bigolino with his parents. Domenico sponsored three brothers and a brother-in-law in 1927. Domenico and Carmela owned a grocery shop in the east end of the city and served the Italian community.


Alberto Berno, Adelaide, c 1940. Photo, courtesy Christine Rebellato nee Mattiazzo.


Alberto Berno arrived in Adelaide in January 1927 from Riese and joined his brother, Fedele who had been in Australia since 1925. Fedele returned to Italy in about 1935. Alberto was 17 years old and worked in partnership with his brother, Pietro. In 1950 married Elvira Carraro in 1950 and they had two children, Johnny and Marisa. The family returned to Riese Pio X in 1969.  A fourth Berno brother, Albino, arrived in 1938, married Norma Gallina in Italy after the war and they had three children in Adelaide, Pia, Mary and Lino. A sister, Maria, also migrated to Australia and lived with her husband in Queensland.


Eugenio Zalunardo c 1942. Photo supplied by Sandra Conci nee Santin.


In April 1927, Eugenio Zalunardo arrived as 17 year old from Fansolo. He was the only member of his family to migrate to Australia. He married Luigia Ballestrin in 1943 and they had two children, Noemi and Renato.



Brunone Rebuli, marriage photo, Bigolino 1921. Photo, courtesy, Elena Rebuli.

On 31 July 1927 Brunone Rebuli was 34 years when he arrived with three Rossetto brothers-in-law from Bigolino. In 1931 Brunone sent for his wife, Giovanna Rossetto and their three children, Dorina, Albino and Elvio. The fourth child, Guido was born in Adelaide in 1938. Albino (Vito) married Antonietta Danieli and they had two children, Elena and Nello. Elvio (Shorty) married Milva Zampin and they had eight children, Bruna, Linda, Andrea, Stephanie, Bruno, David, Jenny and Tanya . Guido married Pam Vining and they had three daughters, Joanne, Leonie and Deanna.


(Giovanni) Gelindo Rossetto, passport photo, 1927. NAA: A659, 1939/1/2012.


(Giovanni) Gelindo Rossetto was the eldest in the family and 32 years old on arrival. He had left his fiancée, Adele (Lina) Bordin in Italy. They married by proxy and Lina arrived in Adelaide in 1930. They had six children, three of whom died very young. Lena, Aldo and Silvano were born in Adelaide.




Atto (Adeodato Rossetto), Adelaide, c 1930. Photo, courtesy Maria Rosa Tormena.
Angelo Rossetto, Adelaide, c 1930. Photo, courtesy Maria Rosa Tormena.







Adeodato (Atto) Rossetto was 27 years old when he arrived with his brothers and brother-in-law. Atto did not marry and worked on the wharves for most of his life and was part of the large Rossetto network in Adelaide.

Angelo Rossetto was 23 years old when he arrived with his brothers and brother-in-law. He returned to Bigolino for some years, married Maria Bolzonin and had three children, Luciana, Anita, John.  Vivian was born in Australia. The family migrated to Australia in 1948 and moved to Melbourne were Angelo worked in hosiery manufacturing.

Giovanni Santin, passport photo – entry into Canada 1910. Courtesy, Diana Panazzolo nee Santin.

Giovanni Santin, from Caselle di Altivole arrived on 2 September 1927. He was the eldest of the Veneto men who arrived between 1926 and 1928. He was joined by his wife Costantina Visentin and children, Luigi, Vito, Romildo and Virginia in December 1935. Giovanni’s first wife, Maria Tessari died young and they had a daughter, Angelina. She came to Australia and joined her husband, Pietro Compostella with their three children, Giuseppe, Maria and Gino in 1947.

Luigi (Lui) married Rosina Tonellato and their children were Sandra,Denis, Johnny and Denise. Vito married Anna Mattiazzo and their son was Dean. Romildo (Nugget) married Clara Oliviero and they had three children, Diana, Allan and Lisa. Virginia married Oscar Mattiazzo and had three daughters, Christine, Helen and Vicki.

Secondo Tonellato Adelaide c 1947. Photo supplied by Assunta Giovannini nee Tonellato.


Secondo Tonellato, 34 years old, disembarked in Adelaide on 2 September 1927. He arrived with Giovanni Santin and records show that they lived on the same road in Caselle di Altivole. Secondo’s wife, Elisabetta and their five children, Lui, Rosina, Alberto, Lino and Orlando were reunited with him in June 1935. Assunta, niece of Secondo, joined the family in 1937 after her mother died soon after giving birth.

Lui married Italia Bergamin and had two children, Adrian and Luciana. Rosina married Lui Santin and their children were Sandra, Denis, Johnny and Denise. Albert married Mary Zoanetti and had four children, Linda, Raymond, Janet and Diana. Lino (Nino) married Rosanna Accatino and had two children, Terry and Steven. Orlando (Nano) married Lea Griguol and their children are Pauline, Sue, Chris, Paul and Leanne. Assunta married Angelo Giovannini.

Angelo Piovesan, c 1927. Photo, courtesy, Bruno Piovesan.


Angelo Piovesan, aged 22 years, from Ponzano Veneto arrived also on 2 September 1927 with Secondo and Giovanni and was known to the Tonellato family. Angelo married Rosalia Zanatta, his girlfriend, by proxy and she joined him in September 1934. Angelo’s brothers, Attilio and Mario also migrated to Adelaide. Attilio first arrived in 1937 and after returning to Ponzano Veneto, he married Claudina Mattiazzo and they arrived with their daughter, Edda in 1947 and spent some years in Adelaide. Mario and his wife Vittoria nee Teso migrated in January 1950 and their sons, Angelo, Renzo and John were born in Adelaide.

Two Ballestrin brothers and a cousin, from Vallà arrived together on 15 September 1927. Antonio was 25 years old.

Antonio Ballestrin Passport photo. NAA: A435, 1945/4/6540.
Isidoro Ballestrin, passport photo. NAA: A435, 1947/4/2012.

Isidoro was 22 years and their cousin, Giuseppe was just 17 years old. In 1934 they returned to Italy and married women who were adventurous enough to make their life in Australia. Antonio married Romilda Minato, Isidoro married Maria Gina Andreazza and they had three children, Santin, Frankie and Dolfina.


Giuseppe married Cesira Tieppo and their three children, Lino, Norma and Louis, were born in Adelaide.

Giuseppe Ballestrin, passport photo 1927. NAA: A435, 1947/4/2013.

Other members of the Ballestrin families emigrated to Australia before World War II including Antonio and Isidoro’s mother, Santa Agata, their sister, Luigia. Their brother, Narciso arrived before his wife, Maria nee Dotto  and son Egidio.  Narciso and Maria’s three other children, Lina, Silvano and Norina were born in Adelaide.


Giusepppe’s brother Ermenegildo and sister Ida Maddalena also emigrated to Australia. Ermenegildo married Norina Berti and their sons, Ric and Angelo were born in Adelaide.

Eighteen-year-old cousins, Pietro and Gino Berno from Riese disembarked in Adelaide on 12 October 1927. Pietro worked in partnerhips with his brother, Albert. Pietro married Antonietta Pastro in Italy in 1948 and in Adelaide, they had three children, Roberto, Remo and Diana. The family returned to Riese Pio X in 1969. Gino Berno married Jean Dyson in 1933 and they had two children, Max and Lance. After divorcing, he married Irma Gomeriato.

(Vittorio) Pietro Berno, passport photo, 1927. NAA: A435, 1946/4/510.
Gino Berno, Adelaide, c 1953. Photo supplied by the Zampin family.



Vittorio Marchioro, Adelaide c 1938. Photo, courtesy Johnny Marchioro.


Vittorio Marchioro was 21 years old when he arrived in Adelaide from Malo on 17 December 1927. He was sponsored by his brother Francesco. He married Angelina Marchioro from Monte di Malo by proxy in 1937 and she joined him in January 1938. They had two children, Johnny and Romano.


Silvano Zampin, c 1950s. Photo supplied by the Zampin family.


Silvano Zampin was 17 years old when he arrived from Riese on 17 January 1928. He had been sponsored by his brother Pietro who had arrived about two years earlier but was killed in an accident in 1930. Silvano married Amelia Katherine Shaw in 1931 and they had nine children, Milva, Bruna, Roma, Angela, Christina, Virginia, Sandra, Cynthia and Peter.


Australia is richer because of this group, and other migrants, who had the courage, vision and perseverance to begin a new life and raise families. The Veneto market gardener families and their community have made a significant contribution for many years.


Madeleine Regan
13 August 2023

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