VENICE: WHAT TO EAT AND WHERE

Below we list the Blue Guides Recommended restaurants in Blue Guide Venice.

Associazione dei Ristoranti della Buona Accoglienza

 

We have also found members of the "Buona Accoglienza" Association of Restaurants to be generally excellent for local food and a genuine desire to welcome their guests.

 

And below we list the Blue Guides Recommended restaurants in Blue Guide Venice:

(See MAP)

Alla VedovaRestaurant€€VeniceItaly
Antiche CarampaneRestaurant€€€VeniceItaly
Da Nane CantonRestaurant€€€VeniceItaly
Da RemigioRestaurant€€€VeniceItaly
Do MoriBars/CafésVeniceItaly
Locanda CiprianiRestaurant€€€VeniceItaly
Osteria Da FioreRestaurant€€€€VeniceItaly
Schiavi (or Vini al Bottegon)Bars/CafésVeniceItaly

Venetian cuisine has strong roots in the region's agricultural tradition and the dominance of the spice trade since its early history. Polenta and rice are the main starch staples, while meat is found in many guises, particularly calf's liver, and unsurprisingly seafood and fish are a popular feature.

 

First courses

Risotto is a favourite Venetian first course. The rice is often cooked with fish (risotto di pesce), or with squid in their ink (risotto nero or risotto di seppie), while risi e bisi is a risotto served in spring cooked with fresh peas, celery and ham. As in the rest of Italy, pasta is served in numerous ways in Venice. A particularly good winter dish is pasta e fagioli, a bean soup made from haricot beans and short pasta seasoned with bay leaves and dressed with olive oil. Polenta in Venice is made from a fine grained maize from the Friuli region and tends to be white, and served in a more liquid form than the yellow polenta popular in the rest of Italy. A delicate first course, only available in season, is baby grey shrimps (schie) served with polenta. Cold hors d'oeuvres include sarde in saor, fried sardines, marinated in vinegar and onions, and granseola, dressed crab in its shell

 

Second courses

Meat Probably the most famous meat dish of Venice is the fegato alla veneziana, calf's liver thinly sliced and fried with onions. Carpaccio, raw beef sliced very thinly and sometimes served with bitter green salad and parmesan cheese, was invented in Venice. Fish The chief speciality of Venetian cooking is fish even though only about 20 per cent is now caught locally. Especially good is dentice (dentex) or orata (gilthead bream), often best served grilled. A particularly Venetian dish is seppie, cuttlefish (or squid), usually cooked in their own ink and served with polenta. Eel (anguilla or bisato) is also often served: sometimes grilled, or alla Veneziana, cooked in lemon with tuna fish, or marinated in oil and vinegar (with a bay leaf) and then fried with wine and tomato. Crab is also a favourite Venetian dish: granseola is dressed crab served cold in its shell; molecche (or moeche) are soft shelled tender baby crabs, stuffed with egg and fried and served hot (they are only available in early spring). Vegetables Particularly good in spring, they include locally grown asparagus and artichokes. A vegetable found almost exclusively in Venice and the Veneto is radicchio rosso, bitter red chicory usually served grilled.

It is worth spending time looking (if not buying) at the splendid Rialto markets, open every morning except Sunday, where the local fish and vegetables can be seen in all their splendour.

 

Desserts

Venice is not famous for its desserts, although the city does have numerous cake shops (pasticcerie) which sell delicious confectionery. They include zaeti, made partly from cornmeal, and Bussai buranei, made in Burano. The Venetians are very fond of the simple biscuits (rather similar to rusks) known as baicoli, made from wheat flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Fritters (frittelle) are often served in bars in winter (especially at Carnival time), flavoured with raisins, pine nuts or lemon peel. Charming biscuits in the form of St Martin on horseback, decorated with sugar and chocolate, are widely available all over the city around the feast of San Martino (11th Nov). At this time cotognata (or persegada), a sweet jelly made from quinces, is also sold. After Christmas, for Epiphany, pinsa is made from cornmeal, fennel seeds, raisins, candied fruit and dried figs.

 

Drinks

A tradition persists in Venice and the Veneto of taking an ombra or ombreta (usually before dinner): a glass of white or red wine (or sparkling white wine, prosecco) in a bacaro or osteria. The word ombra means shadow, and comes from the stall selling wine by the glass which used to be in Piazza San Marco in the shadow of the campanile. Some people prefer a cocktail: spritz is a typical Venetian aperitif made from white wine, bitters and lemon soda, and the Bellini is a famous cocktail invented at Harry's Bar, the ingredients of which include champagne and peach juice. Ombre or cocktails are served with delicious savoury snacks (cicchetti), a great Venetian speciality, which may include fried fish, cooked or raw vegetables, a piece of tasty cheese, a creamy mixture of salt cod, olives, sarde in saor, amongst many other possibilities.

 

Wine of the Veneto

Viticulture in the modern sense of the word has been practised in the Veneto since the 7th century BC. In the Middle Ages the land under vine increased dramatically with plantations made by the monastic orders, mainly the Benedictines. The wine regions of Verona, Vicenza and Treviso developed as a result of this. The whole area around Venice, including the islands of the lagoon (though not the parts facing the open sea) were all covered in vineyards. Indigenous grape varieties include Corvina, Garganega, Raboso and Rondinella (grown chiefly around Verona) and Barbera, Riesling Italica and Renana. Cabernet and all three Pinots (Bianco, Nero and Grigio) are also popular. The best known wines of the Verona region are Valpolicella, Bardolino (red), Soave (white) and Recioto (passito).

Recioto is perhaps the region's most important wine, largely because of the unique way in which it is made. Appassimento is the most characteristic wine-making technique of the Veneto, and involves naturally drying the grapes before pressing, either on straw or by leaving them to shrivel on the vine. This latter method was widespread throughout the Mediterranean, from Spain to the Greek islands. One of the most refined examples of this ancient technique survives in the Veneto, in the hills that border Verona to the north. The results are the red Amarone (where the wine ferments to dryness) or sweet Recioto (where some residual sugar remains).

The origins of the name Recioto are not documented, though it may derive from a word denoting the 'ears' of a bunch of grapes: a protruding cluster which caught more sun and thus developed more sweetness. What is certain is that the wine known to the ancient Romans as Retico was one and the same. Virgil considered it one of the finest wines known to man, second only to the Neapolitan Falernian. Cassiodorus, minister of the Gothic emperor Theodoric, has left a description of Retico to posterity. Several centuries later, red and white wines from Verona, white Recioto from Vicenza, and Passito from Treviso, were being apostrophised as the Wine of Doges. Among the best such wines made today are Moscato and Passito di Bagnoli, Recioto di Gamberella, Torcolato Breganze and "the two most important": Recioto di Soave and Amarone della Valpolicella.

Another characteristic wine of the Veneto is the sparkling Prosecco, whose heartlands lie among the hills of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. Prosecco is a grape variety which has given its name to the wine from which it is made. It is quite a sight hanging on the vine: enormous bunches of huge, round, yellow berries, whose intoxicating, muscat-like scent fills the air at harvest time. Bottled Prosecco comes in two types: the gently fizzing frizzante, and the spumante bubble-bath. The fresh, playful, flowery character of the grape is present in both. Its qualities of youthfulness and optimism and its low alcohol content make it a drink which can be taken quite harmlessly at any time of the day or night.

 

 

source: Blue Guide Venice

 

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