PGI Melone Mantovano refers to two specific varieties of Cucumis melo melon: cantaloupe, that has a smooth, grey-green, almost yellow skin, and netted melon, the most common type, which has a net-shaped pattern on the skin.
They are both exhilaratingly good when eaten, with their intense fragrance and the sweetness of the yellow-orange flesh, bursting with vitamin C, mineral salts and potassium. A cure-all for the palate, this variety of melon owes its organoleptic properties to the microclimate and land on which it grows, which is a rather vast expanse of area that comprises various towns between the provinces of Mantova, Cremona, Modena, Ferrara and Bologna. These lands afford medium-high temperatures and very fertile alluvial soil.
Originating from Central and Western Asia, melon cultivation was first introduced in Italy during the Christian age, and was adopted by the Mantova area during Renaissance times. A document dating back to the end of the fifth century attests to the “esteem for the melon from these lands”, the lands of Gonzaga.
Today, the Mantova melon is field-ripened, following the nature's natural rhythms and without the use of ripening agents. The harvest takes place between June and August and yields a compact, juicy fruit.
Traditionally paired with cured prosciutto ham, the PGI Melone Mantovano works beautifully as an ingredient in sweet and savoury dishes alike. The Consorzio del Melone Mantovano consortium portal provides a wide array of melon-based dishes to try, from risottos to ratatouille to quinoa to cheesecake.