Venice (Part II): Venetian cuisine

Venice, Italy


Venetian cuisine


The city of Venice’s cuisine is best known for its seafood, since it sits right on the water and is populated by so many sailors. On our second day in Venice, Chelsea and I came across a little hole-in-the-wall seafood place. It didn’t seem too impressive at first glance–just a counter with mysterious seafood dishes to choose from. But we spotted a door deeper in, which led to a  small, delightful caffe area with seating. It had brick walls, a cozy atmosphere, a friendly chef, and a blackboard listing some very college budget-friendly prices for these  special Venetian dishes. We tried the fish lasagna and the scampi with saur. The fish lasagna was a warm dish prepared very similarly to classic lasagna (with tomato sauce, cheese and all), but it incorporated seafood. It didn’t taste fishy, though–certainly like seafood, but not overwhelmingly fishy at all. It may sound gross, but it was incredibly delicious. The scampi and saur is a shrimp and onion dish with vinegar that dates way back in the history of Venetian cuisine. As I learned in my cooking class, this dish was historically important because it provided excellent nourishment for sailors, and didn’t spoil too quickly. While I didn’t particularly favor the taste, it was interesting to try–especially after reading about it for class.

The sweets of Venice are some of the most delicious treats I've ever tasted. At our Carnevale dinner, we were served this assortment of traditional Venetian desserts--tiramisu, crapfen (fried dough ball with cream filling) and galani (flakey, crispy fried dough flats). When our group was walking to an art museum deeper in the city of Venice the next day, we passed this idyllic little sweets shop tucked away on a narrow pathway. The aroma of butter, chocolate, sugar and fried dough pervaded through the little street as we passed through. Chelsea and I were so determined to relocate this shop once we had free roaming time, that we ventured back into that maze of little streets to hunt it down. The quest was a success! I had the galani, which absolutely melted in my mouth. Molto delizioso!




For my first meal in Venice, I played it safe by sharing a quattro-formaggio pizza with friends. (With a 5am wake-up and day of traveling, some comfort food was very much desired). As I learned in my Food of Italy class, Asiago is a main cheese in Venice, and there was delicious Gorgonzola cheese on the pizza as well.


Our traditional Venetian Carnevale dinner consisted of four courses--an antipasto, a risotto, a stuffed chicken dish, and the dessert plate described in the first photo. The appetizer was a delicious warm artichoke and cheese dish, and the stuffed chicken course was like a blend of sausage and chicken. My favorite piatta (besides the dessert) was the risotto, shown here. This creamy rice dish was prepared in a special Carnevale way, with pumpkin and squash.

Check back for Venice: Parts III,  IV and V about 3) Murano glass-making, 4) Burano (“The Island of Painted Houses”) and 5) the Carnevale.