Travel Guide of Venetian Culinary Journey, Italy

The origin of Venetian cuisine is conceived under the long and glorious historical and cultural background of this unique city. Gourmet cuisine often comes from the surrounding environment, which also happens to be the most special place in Venetian cuisine. Geographically, there is a lack of land around the lagoon, and there are no vegetable gardens and gardens in Venice. This should have greatly restricted the space for Venetian cuisine. However, as a maritime power, Venice has frequent trade and freight transportation, bringing more ingredients and condiments to the city, thus enriching the diversity of Venice’s recipes.

The city of Venice being completely isolated from the mainland, green spaces are completely absent. Venice does not have an “out of town”, It is difficult to cultivate those basic necessities, basic for the survival of every community. The Venetians soon understood how to make up for certain shortcomings, paving the way for a very international cuisine.

The history of a city, very often also passes through its cuisine, its gastronomic traditions. The Republic of Venice had quickly become a great commercial power, this is the key to interpreting the origins of Venetian gastronomy, which helps us to understand why certain foods, some apparently culturally distant dishes are then so strongly rooted in the Lagoon: the mixture of peoples and cultures. Already, the union between completely different peoples, the interpenetration of one culture in another, Venetian cuisine was one of the first to deal with the cuisines of the world, welcoming secrets and flavors, creating an incredible fusion at that time.

Venetian cuisine was a fusion of cultures and customs of distant peoples. But Venice also has an extraordinary territory that offers products of excellence, which over time have found an incredible synergy with the international cuisines that are protagonists of the history of the Serenissima.

Rereading the history of Venetian cuisine, there is strongly characterized by the presence of spices. These particular, fragrant and colored powders came from the distant lands of the East, bringing with them the charm of unknown sensations, wrapped in an aura of mystery and myth, typical of unknown things.

So pepper, raisins, ginger, saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves began to make their way into Venetian cuisine. They were used in many dishes of the gastronomy of the time, both meat and fish, and in the exquisite sweet preparations. Spices were used in large quantities, as it was thought that these had a great beneficial power against diseases, especially those of the stomach.

The Venetians understood that the particularity of the product, the exotic origin, the high cost could transform it into a status symbol: by exclusivity of the myth was enough to make this commodity highly desirable. Venice thus assumed the monopoly of the spice trade between the Eastern and Western world.

The precious goods arrived from the East to Rialto where the spezieri made the first packaging in history, the famous “Venetian sachetes of Venetian species”, ready-to-use blends for all tastes, which were traded throughout the West. Thus was born the mythical route of spices, exotic, precious and very rich.

The fruit of the knowledge of these products so fragrant and strong on the palate, and their introduction into everyday life was a spicy cuisine, which combined the sweet flavor with the spicy one, the savory one with the sour one. Particular, international.

From the East, the Venetians brought another fundamental element of their culinary history to their homeland: rice. It was so expensive that it was sold in grains. A very small amount could be used and it was usually used to thicken soups, after being ground to powder in a mortar. It take many centuries to be able to enjoy a real dish of risotto.

The nautical trade not only brings back special products from various places, but also enriches the types of seafood. People can bring back more distant catches through pickling technology. Including the famous cod found off the coast of Norway.

It is the year 1000 when the Crusaders brought sugar to the Lagoon for the first time. The spread was immediate, thanks also to the noble Corner family who bought entire sugar cane plantations between Cyprus and Crete, making it easier to use the finished product in the city.

In the trade with the West, the Venetians brought back wine and cocktail. Venetians who replaced the water with something more robust, such as bitter and olive and a half slice of orange or lemon were added, and the spritz was served.

It was the 16th century when the merchants stopped filling the holds of their merchant ships and the Venetians turned their interest towards the mainland: the land was reclaimed and investments were made in agriculture, revolutionizing the territory and gastronomy.

The lagoon lands of Cavallino, Malamocco, Pellestrina, Lido, the islands of Torcello and Sant’Erasmo were populated with gardens and vineyards, basking in the sea breeze, kissed by the warm sun, and produced extraordinary products.

Among the best we recognize the violet artichoke of Sant’Erasmo, from which the castraure are obtained, the vegetable bases usually prepared in stews that fill the counters of all the Venetian markets.

Lands rich in wild and bruscandoli asparagus, terminal tips of the young hop plant, yellow pumpkins and tasty radicchi, white and round onions to combine with meat and fish, peas and beans.

The possibility of growing wheat then gave another exceptional product of the lagoon cuisine: polenta. Used as an accompaniment to more complex dishes, it is almost always chosen in its white version. The waters of the sea offer sardines and sardines for saor, peverasse (clams) for spaghetti, peoci (mussels) for soups, scallops and oysters; those of the Lagoon, on the other hand, are delicious schie, tiny shrimps that must be eaten in one bite, the fish ghiozz or, called gò, for the excellent risotto, up to moeche, small crabs in the moulting phase, fried and very expensive.

Type of Cuisine
True traditional Venetian cuisine today is made up of simple and nutritious dishes, rich in flavor that often combine sweet with salty, sour with spicy. The lagoon cuisine is a riot of typical dishes: a succession of pastas, risottos, fried and roasts that deserve to be tasted. Dishes and recipes, even more elaborate than a sandwich.

Some typical dishes of Venetian cuisine are:
Risi e bisi, a poor but very tasty dish: it is a simple risotto with peas cooked in a pan after wilting abundant onion, then seasoned with parsley, salt and pepper.
Sardines in saor:fried sardines, dipped in onion simmered in the same oil in which the sardines were fried, if it remained clear, raisins and pine nuts (tradition only requires them in winter to increase the calories), and washed down with abundant vinegar diluted with a little water. Cover the sardines placed in a bowl with the onions thus obtained. Everything is left to macerate for at least two days.
Mołéche: small green crabs of the Carcinus aestuarii species, when they have reached the peak of the moulting phase and therefore soft, are fried. The moéche are very precious because the moulting phase in the brackish water of the lagoon lasts a few hours, the armor immediately becomes hard and they return to be called masenete.
Risoto de gò: risotto prepared with goby (Zosterisessor ophiocephalus), called gò, a typical fish of the Venetian lagoon
Venetian liver: veal liver cooked with white onions, extra virgin olive oil and a drop of white wine towards the end of cooking.
pasta e fazioi: bean soup with pasta (typically long rough broken pasta, of the type called “signorine” or “reginelle”).
poenta e schie: small lagoon prawns (Palaemon serratus) (gray when raw, gray-brown when cooked), fried and placed on a bed of soft yellow polenta. Only recently served with a polenta so liquid that it has to be collected with a spoon, which is in full contrast with the traditional Venetian one which is cut on the cutting board with a pinch of thread.
sepe col nero: cuttlefish cooked in a pan with oil, garlic, parsley, white wine and the addition of their own ink. The variant with canned tomato paste (triple tomato concentrate) is also excellent.
pan biscoto: toasted bread, with a process that lasts 24 hours in the oven at 100 degrees, which makes it dry and crunchy, but at the same time crumbly. It goes well with cold cuts, cheese and pickles, for its long-term, if not exposed to moisture, it was once the cakes before literam Venetian sailors.
Among the desserts you can be cited fritole, the baicoli, the xaeti, the grip, the Galani, the fugassa, and “spuncioti de caramel”: dry or dried fruit with some grape stuffed into wooden skewers and dipped in caramelized sugar.

Venetian typical dishes

Bigoli in Salsa
Tradition says that they are a dish to be eaten on lean days: as soon as you taste them you actually want to reschedule the annual calendar in such a way as to overturn the relationship between days of fat and days of lean. The vulgar translation of bigoli in sauce is equivalent to ” pasta with sardines “, an equivalence that does not even come close to the typical Venetian delight.

Anara with full
Another typical dish of the Feast of the Redeemer. Consumed much more in the past, it is a stuffed duck: the “pien”, that is the filling, was made by mixing liver and entrails, with eggs, aromatic herbs, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, salt, pepper, bacon or ham, grated cheese and mixed spices. At one time the ducks used for stuffing were the wild ones from the estuary.

Rice and peas
It is a historical recipe: the risi e bisi were in fact the dish of the Doges, consumed on April 25 in honor of the feast of San Marco, patron saint of Venice. The rice was strictly that of the Veronese while the peas were those of Lumignano, in the province of Vicenza. If the preference given to Veronese rice is still valid, make a note of the peas from Colognola ai Colli (VR) and those from Baone in the Padua area.

Bussolà buraneo is a shortcrust pastry is the starting point: the secret lies in the butter (a lot), in the egg yolks and in the rum. The result is a dough whose flavor is unforgettable: never too sweet, it is a high cube pastry, with rum to entice you to the next bite.

Venetian liver
Venetian liver is,: on the one hand the intense flavor of the liver, on the other the lazy sweetness of the onion. It must be said that compared to the tradition of pork liver, with a strong taste, today we prefer to use that of veal or beef, more delicate.

Sardines in saor
Anyone who has taken notes say that we have already listed them when talking about cicchetti: the fact is that, a bit like schie and polenta, sardines also become a cicchetto, an appetizer or even a second course.

Mixed fried
In Venice it is called ” scartosso “, that is, foil: the fried foods, once drained from the boiling oil, are placed in a straw paper cone and served immediately. Then, the ingredients: shrimp, squid, sardines, crabs, cuttlefish, cod and bums but also vegetables, in particular the castraure di Sant’Erasmo, that is the first shoots of the artichoke plant, which are harvested first, around mid-April. In Venice, little flour is used, some do not even use it.

Bisato su l’ara
The bisato is the eel and the recipe, typical of the island of Murano, refers to the use of roasting it (especially the smaller specimens) on the altar, that is the stone of the glass furnaces on which the vases were slowly tempered. glass once the master blowers have worked and decorated them. It is a delicious dish, in which the meats lose their natural fat and become very soft, flavored with bay leaves.

In spring, as well as in autumn, lagoon crabs are in the moult phase: that is, they lose the old carapace to form the new one. After the capture, they are transferred in jute bags to maintain the humidity and transported to the casòni: here the selection takes place, separating the already ripe crabs from those close to moulting, which placed in wooden crates and semi-submerged in sea water wascome moeche.

Polenta and schie
Schille, schie in dialect, are very small shrimp from the lagoon. Gray in color, they turn pink when cooked. Despite their size, they have a very intense and concentrated flavor and for this reason they go hand in hand with the ubiquitous polenta. They cross the menu being proudly served both as an appetizer and as a main course.

Black cuttlefish with polenta
It is the Yin and yang of Venetian gastronomy, the duotone capable of summarizing the sense of taste. Black and white, sea and earth, savory sweetness. Contrast is everything, in this great classic of lagoon cuisine, because it is precisely from the darkness of the ink and the white of the polenta that tradition is written.

Venetian risottos
A great classic with the goby, a typical fish of the lagoon, the processing requires patience and skill: a broth is prepared with the meat of the goby which is then filtered through gauze and added to the rice. If you want to do things right, plan a trip to Burano, where there is the trattoria da Romano, a legendary place, mentioned by all the gastronomic guides. Prepared to jump, it is essential. Taste it and brag to friends that you have eaten one of the best risottos in the world.

Pasta and beans
A great classic from the Veneto region, it comes in different versions for consistency and types of pasta depending on the province of reference. The soup, in the Venetian version, becomes so thick that it supports the spoon upright, confirming that consistency is everything in Venice. Between wave risotto and thick soups, it’s all a game of balance and interpretation. Venetian pasta and beans are also eaten cold.

The full name of the dish is “castradina s’ciavona”, The custom of tasting castradina, mutton mutton, salted and smoked, coming from Dalmatia, would derive from the fact that large quantities were consumed during the plague, believing that it was less likely to transmit the virus. It is eaten accompanied by cabbage.

Spaghetti alla busara
Scampi, tomato and chilli make up a dish that is a continuous run-up between the sweetness of the fleshy scampi and the spiciness of the chilli, and an exaltation of the nuances ranging from the bright colors of red to the soft pink of shellfish meat.

Venice market
The Rialto area, although it has gradually lost its role as an international trading center and reduced to the role of a city market. Today, Rialto is still a busy shopping area, with a daily fruit and vegetable market and a fish market, although it has now also lost its role as a general market and tourism-related activities are increasing.

Under the loggias of the Pescheria the daily fish retail market still takes place, while in the immediate vicinity there are colorful fruit and vegetable stalls.

The Venetian tavern
The Venetian taverns took the place of the ancient Malvasia where wine was poured: time was spent, perhaps after work, between a shade of wine and a shot with friends. The kitchen, the food are also, perhaps above all, conviviality, sharing a good time with loved ones, friends and relatives: just a glass of wine, a good dish prepared with love, a chat with a friend to feel happy. And the Venetians knew this well, masters of good living.

Riccardo is a tough type, a determined, passionate and steadfast host who has not bowed to the rules of consumerism, fast food, commercial and commercial tourist menus, for which he defines and defines his undemocratic cuisine. His is a Venetian cuisine, traditional but very contemporary: the flavors of history and the lagoon are all there, as are the memories of his childhood in the family kitchen, but they are proposed with new combinations, modern preparation techniques, a international language that never separates from love and passion, for dishes that are remembered.

At the base of Riccardo’s dishes there is a frenzied and precise search for raw materials of excellent quality, capable of always offering an unexpected and different gastronomic experience every day: territoriality and seasonality are the watchwords for a healthy, good cuisine, refined, beautiful! It is what the market offers daily to create the à la carte menu. This is accompanied by tasting proposals for every palate: Venetian tasting menu for typical dishes, or exclusively of meat or fish, or of fish crudités, or for vegetarian customers, for a total of seven choices, each of which includes from 3 at 5 courses.

Riccardo mixes products from the land, the sea and the lagoon for a creative and suggestive cuisine: aromas and combinations of different textures that give the palate real explosions of flavors. The chef’s creations are accompanied by a selection of quality wines: the staff, prepared and welcoming, was able to advise you in the choice and in the best and most suitable combinations.

The restaurant is tastefully furnished: a modern and minimal style, with a large window overlooking the city, in a quiet and reserved area, where sober furnishings are found, never banal but with a strong personality. The floor is splendid, antique in typical Venetian style. The mise en place is young and essential, it gives a feeling of familiarity, puts you at ease.

The bacaro
The bacaro is a type of Venetian osteria with a popular character, where there is a wide choice of wines by the glass (ómbre or bianchéti) and small foods and snacks (cichéti), characterized by few places to sit and a long glass counter where the products for sale are displayed. More rare is the case of bacari that serve more elaborate dishes or that offer a real catering service.

Frequented by both tourists and locals, bacari, in addition to wine, also serve the characteristic drinks known as “spritz”, while the typical Venetian sandwiches are rarely offered to the public, intended for other types of establishments, mostly bars or clubs. specialized. The typical exercise has been transformed to assume a mixed physiognomy, halfway between the tavern and the pub.