Food In Venice

Feasting in Venice: A Food Lover’s Guide to La Serenissima

Welcome, foodies and wanderers! Venice, Italy, or as locals know it, La Serenissima, is a dream come true for all food lovers. This city, built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, has more to offer than its winding canals, exquisite architecture, and expressive artwork. It’s a culinary paradise waiting to be explored. Get ready for a mouth-watering adventure!

The Essence of Venetian Cuisine

Venetian cuisine is a gastronomic reflection of Venice’s unique cultural history and geographical position. Influences from East and West blend harmoniously, creating a delightful array of dishes that you will not find elsewhere in Italy. With its close proximity to the Adriatic Sea, expect a fantastic variety of seafood. Risottos and polentas dominate the menu instead of the traditional pasta you might be accustomed to elsewhere in Italy.

Breakfast in Venice

Let’s start our day like a Venetian. Breakfast is often a quick and simple affair, consisting of a cappuccino and cornetto (Italian croissant) at a local café. Do like the locals: stand at the bar, gulp down your coffee, and savor the sweet pastry. You’re now ready to start your day!

A Guide to Venetian Cicchetti

No visit to Venice is complete without indulging in Cicchetti – the Venetian version of Spanish tapas. These small bites are usually served with a small glass of wine known as an “ombra.” There’s no specific time for Cicchetti, but late mornings and early evenings are particularly popular. Venture into a traditional “bacaro” (Venetian tavern) and enjoy everything from fried olives to marinated seafood and bite-sized sandwiches known as “tramezzini.”

Seafood Extravaganza

Being a city of islands, Venice has a love affair with seafood. When visiting, you must try dishes like “Sarde in Saor” (sweet and sour sardines), “Baccalà Mantecato” (creamed cod), and “Fritto Misto” (mixed fried seafood). Seafood risotto and black squid ink pasta are also must-try dishes.

The Famous Venetian Spritz

When it comes to drinks, Venice has its own signature – the Spritz. This aperitif is a blend of prosecco, bitter liqueur (like Aperol, Campari, or Select), and a splash of soda. It’s usually garnished with a slice of orange and an olive, and it’s an absolute delight when enjoyed at a sunny canal-side café. The Spritz is more than a drink; it’s a Venetian way of life!

Dining Etiquette in Venice

In Venice, like the rest of Italy, dining is a leisurely affair. Don’t rush your meal; take time to savour each bite and enjoy the conversation. Remember, service might be slower compared to what you’re used to back home. It’s not poor service, it’s the Italian way. Also, do note that bread and cover charges are customary in Italian restaurants.

Venice’s Sweet Delights

For those with a sweet tooth, Venice won’t disappoint. Try “Tiramisu,” a heavenly concoction of coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cream, dusted with cocoa. It’s said to have originated in the Veneto region. Also, don’t miss “Frittelle,” traditional Venetian doughnuts often filled with cream or raisins, which are particularly popular during the Carnevale season.

Delightful Dining Locations

Where you eat can be as important as what you eat, especially in a city as scenic as Venice. Enjoy a picturesque sunset over the lagoon in restaurants like ‘Ristorante da Ivo,’ dine with the locals in family-owned ‘Trattoria Alla Madonna,’ or experience luxury in the world-famous ‘Quadri.’ Each offers unique Venetian dishes and a wonderful ambience. You can also enjoy a scenic picnic in the public gardens of ‘Giardini della Biennale’ with a selection of cicchetti and local cheeses picked up from the Rialto market.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

If you are vegetarian or vegan, fear not! Venice has been adapting to cater to different dietary needs. ‘La Tecia Vegana’ is an entirely vegan restaurant offering plant-based versions of traditional Venetian dishes. Many regular restaurants also offer vegetarian versions of classic dishes, so you won’t miss out on the Venetian culinary experience.

Unforgettable Gelato

Visiting Italy without indulging in gelato would be a sin. This Italian version of ice cream is denser, smoother, and packed with flavor. Venice has many ‘gelaterias,’ but be sure to avoid the tourist traps. Look for shops where the gelato is stored in covered, metal containers – a sign of freshness. ‘Gelateria Nico’ on the Zattere promenade and ‘Suso Gelatoteca’ near Rialto Bridge come highly recommended.

Coffee Culture

Italians love their coffee, and Venetians are no different. Espresso is king, but you can also find a variety of coffee drinks. Visit historical coffee houses like ‘Café Florian’ in Piazza San Marco, which has been serving coffee since 1720. ‘Caffè del Doge’ is another local favorite. Remember, standing at the bar is cheaper than sitting at a table.

Traditional Venetian Desserts

Round off your meals with some traditional Venetian desserts. ‘Baicoli’ are dry, oval-shaped biscuits, perfect with a cup of coffee or a dessert wine. ‘Pandoro,’ a star-shaped sweet bread, is usually dusted with vanilla-scented icing sugar. It’s especially popular during Christmas. ‘Pinza,’ a cake made with cornmeal, dried figs, and raisins, is a traditional Epiphany dessert.

Cooking Classes

If you want to take the taste of Venice home, consider enrolling in a cooking class. Schools like ‘Cooking with Lella’ and ‘Enrica Rocca Cooking School’ will teach you how to recreate the flavors of Venetian cuisine in your own kitchen. You will not only learn about Venetian food but also about the city’s history, culture, and traditions.

Exploring the cuisine of Venice can be as captivating as gliding down its famous canals in a gondola. It’s a city that’s truly a feast for all senses. So, embark on this delicious adventure and discover the delightful intricacies of Venetian food.