here are the links
Venice has always been a culinary center. Banquets during the times of the Republic were legendary, but …95% of the thousand-year old knowledge on food and cooking, healthy recipes based on herbs and spices is not available to the public any more. It’s “stored away” in convents, public and private libraries.</blockquote>
This is our primary motivation to start a very special project of “unearthing” Venetian culinary secrets stacked away in books on forgotten library shelves. Currently, I’m going through books I was given by family and friends and a few convents here in Venice. Fantastic know-how of the Venetian spice merchants and pharmacies.
Via La Venessiana, we would like to pass on this knowledge to anybody caring for a delicious healthy diet even able to prevent disease.
Il caffé per iniziare bene la prima giornata di ottobre: In October, you notice the onset of autumn in Venice. With morning haze taking longer to dissolve. This makes for mother-of-pearl shimmer. Sun rays filtering through. Chances are there’s a soft grey fog cover, high above, strong enough to block out the sun. Only at noon can you make out a strange halo on the other side of the foggy roof.
Crisp mornings make you long for a pick-me-up when you leave the house early. The International Coffee Day is an opportunity, coming at the right time. It could have been invented in Venice – the luxury of drinking finest coffee is taken for granted here, every day. On the wholesale level, coffee producers are supported by various sustainability initiatives like you find in other parts of the world. On the retail level, it’s the Venetian baristi that are capable of working wonders with coffee.
It’s part of your way to work or before shopping for groceries. I have three favorites where you could try your October morning coffee. As a gift for you, I’m preparing an e-folder on how to prepare coffee the Venetian manner. If done in the right way, there are many health benefits too – enhanced by spice ingredients.
The secrets of making good coffee are choosing the right tostatura (roast), acqua (water quality) and pressione (pressure) of your caffettiera (coffee maker). You can see a range of caffettiere, as they are used in Venetian households, in the picture above. In autumn, my grandmother loves flavoring her coffee with a sapient mix of spices. They work like a natural booster of the immune system.
You can read more about it in my new ebooklet, which you can download as a free gift by clicking on the book cover on the left. With 3 coffee recipes from Venice, a little coffee dictionary, and a few more surprises.
Venetians also make coffee liquor liquore al caffé – also the famous liquor you can buy at Caffé Florian, is based on it. And torta soffice al caffé – a soft ricotta cheese cake, flavored with vanilla, coffee and star anise.
For now, celebrate the International Coffee Day virtually by looking at the pictures I took in three different, favorite pastry stores in Venice.
Pasticceria Chiusso’s, practically ALL clients enjoy their morning cappuccino in a leisurely manner, in the newly styled – that is, restored – pastry store. You are served cornetti filled and glazed with the staple apricot jam. There’s the specialty of the house, though: Cornettto ripieno di marzapane e marmellata di mele – Apple jam-marzipan filled cornetti. You can see mine in the picture to the right.
Pasticceria Bonifacio as many Venetians, disembarking from the vaporetti, take that little calle leading from Riva degli Schiavoni to Campo SS Filipo e Giacomo. At the same time, grandfathers will stop here for a strawberry-jam filled butter cornetto – and a cappuccino as well. In my case, I tried the almond-pistachio-pine nut biscuit you can see below. I guess this is the Venetian style sweet muesli bar.
When the weather is hazy like today, with exactly the foggy mood you can see below, it’s fine to go out for a walk. You could also sit outside for breakfast, for sure. In Venice, there’s a chic place connected to celebrating Coffee Days – it’s Caffé della Serra. Here, you can engage in the beautiful custom of Caffé Sospeso. From Naples, this tradition soon spread to other parts of Italy and the world. In Venice, when you pay at the counter of Caffé della Serra, simply say what you ate and drank, and add, “più un caffé sospeso”.
That means, whenever a person comes in who can’t afford coffee for whatever reason, they can claim that coffee. In that manner, a bit of “quality in life” can be given by pre-paying a coffee for another person. By the way – the pastries served here come from the oldest bakery on Burano – Palmisano – very delicious.
Built on a handful of islands around Rialto (118 islands later on), Venice was first a hamlet amongst terre a fior’d’acqua and barene (stretches of mud that are regularly under water, depending on the tides)
Le barene (terra anfibia) seen from above, green in summer but brown in autumn and wnter
Starting with salt gardens amongst nothing else but water and a few islands permanently above water, as part of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, it developed close commercial relatioships with Bisanzio and the Middle East, trading everything for what it had – fine and coarse salt.
By aptly marketing itself (–> the word furbizia developed from here, being able to arrange oneself with the world and sometimes dire circumstances in one’s life), the merchants of Venice traded and intermediated all kinds of goods, luxury and not; and they collected a lot of know-how from the east and its ever-traveling merchants. This know-how helped build a commercial empire and political clout that was even strenghtened at the times of the first crociate – the crusades, when Venice provided in its arsenal – the Venetian word became a mainstream expression – the ships the European monarchs needed to get their troups across to the Holy Land.
Il Leone di San Marco with open book, that means Venice is not engaged in a war
In any case, Venice cuisine developed from the local garden herbs, vegetables, fish and ducks from the lagoon, and on the other hand, from the sophisticated spices that Venetian merchants brought back from their voyages. But Venetians not only re-sold these spices – they elaborated on them, creating their own mixtures (i sacchetti veneziani spice mixtures). In some noble and merchant families, we can find libraries full of these treasures.
The Canal Grande where many of these nobles and merchants trading in spice lived
Venice soon opened embassies and trade posts all over the World know then. For this reason, and because Venice people have always been open and curious, many people who could or would not find home elsewhere, settled in the lagoon. Many minority population groups flourished in the lagoon, such as the Greek, Albanian, Armenian and Jewish communities. Many countries held trading posts and opened embassies in Venice, like the Germans and the Turks.
The Church of the Greek Community in Venice: San Giorgio dei Greci Campo Ghetto Vecchio – here lives the Jewish community Fondaco dei Turchi – trading post of the Turks on the Canal Grande
The foreign guests in the Lagoon also brought with them their culinary treasures, with the result that curious Venetians integrated these traditions into their own cooking habits.
What has come out is a melting pot and bridge of tastes and scents of the East, unique in Europe, but mostly unknown to most of us nowadays.
Le barene and the island of Torcello on the left
On this website, we aim to gradually explore and divulge bits and pieces of this rich culinary heritage, by providing some hints on the ingredients, cooking recommendations and by indicating where one can taste these unique recipes when visiting Venice and its lagoon.
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This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind. This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like.
This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind.
This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind. This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind.