One of our favorite things to do is cook together, but we equally love eating out!
When I was in Italy, Bear introduced me to some typical Venetian food & drink I probably never would have tried otherwise. If you’re in Venice, these are five typical food & drink you must try!
1. Fritto Misto – Fried Seafood
G: We were on the Island of Torcello when Bear insisted I tried fritti misti. I love calamari, but a BABY OCTOPUS! A WHOLE LITTLE FISH! (I never did work up the nerve to eat that one…). Fried food in Italy is completely different than American fried food. It’s light and delicate, rather than greasy and heavy.
2. Aperol Spritz – Cocktail with Prosecco and Aperol
G: If I had to choose a favorite alcoholic beverage, it would hands down be Prosecco…so no wonder I also love Spritz, which is mostly Prosecco with a dash of Aperol (a bright orange bitter liqueur).
I can’t believe that the first time I heard of this ubiquitous drink (it is ALL over social media these days) was during my trip to Venice last summer. I mean, I have been visiting Italy since 2003 and this is the first time I’ve heard of it. Where have I been…living under a rock?? Even though spritz originated in Venice, it seems to be enjoyed all over Italy these days.
There’s also the sweeter sister of the Aperol Spritz….called the Hugo Spritz (OO-go…don’t say the H, English-speakers!). It also has a Prosecco base, but with a dash of Elderflower syrup and sparkling water, and usually topped off with a sprig of mint. I can’t decide if I prefer the Aperol Spritz or the Hugo Spritz…I’ll have to do plenty of taste test during my upcoming trip to Italy! 😉
B: FYI, I talked extensively about spritz here.
3. Tramezzini – Venetian SandwichesG: What makes tramezzini special to me is the bread. Oh no, this isn’t some crustless dry American Wonder Bread (although Bear tells me I can make it with American white bread…but NO, I refuse. To me that would ruin the whole point of this sandwich). This bread is so soft and pillowy and melts in your mouth.
B: While goldilocks makes this bread something esoteric, it’s just a bread made with butter and milk to keep it soft and humid. You can find tramezzini all around italy but the best ones are here in veneto. Here the bread is just supposed to be there to wrap the filling, which usually makes a big belly in the center (the “belly” is typical of tramezzini here in veneto, everywhere else in italy they’re just like sandwiches). I know in the US that bread does not exist, but when Goldilocks will come here we’ll try to make it at home, and then post the recipe here, whith some filling ideas. It’s perfect for canapés and quick meals to calm down hunger.
4. Zaeti – Venetian biscotti
G: If I hadn’t been with Bear, I would have walked right past these cookies. Four Euros a pop??? They are the size of your palm, but nothing about these cookies really said “try me!” (Those pancioccolato con nocciola ones spoke to me though, chocolate always does.)
When I found out that they are the traditional cookie of Venice, I decided that I had to try ALL of them from every pasticceria in Venice to find the best one. I tried about two of them until my stomach was full and my coins were gone, so mission to be continued.
They are made from corn flour, and some of them had raisins, while the one pictured had chocolate chips. Even though I have a sweet tooth, I prefer things not to be TOO sweet, and these were just right.
B: Zaeto, from venetian dialect zaeo, (in Italian giallo, yellow) are dark yellow cookies that seems very hard to bite but instead are very soft inside. They’re not originary from Venice, but it’s where they became famous and where you can usually buy them (almost everywhere). I love their scent of vanilla, intense enough to make an entire room to smell of it.
5. Cicchetti (not to be confused with Cecchetti ballet)
G: When I first heart about cicchetti, I immediately thought…ballet? Only to realize that one little vowel can make a huge difference. (I did a style of ballet called Cecchetti growing up).
These are actually Venetian finger foods, and I’ll let Bear tell you more about them…
B: Well, it’s not really easy to talk about cicchetti, especially if you want to be exaustive. There are so many that a book wouldn’t be probably enough, but the secret is to limit ingredients to two, maybe three at max, to be able to taste all of them. The best way to understand them is to come here in Venice and look for a bacaro to spend the evening. Don’t be shy and try everything you can, they’re not expensive and really tasty. Since Goldilocks will come back next month, we’ll try to go back to Venice and dedicate a post to them.
Stay tuned for what to eat in Venice Part 2 coming up soon! We’ll try some other typical Venetian dishes like Bacala’ mantecato con crostini di polenta, linguine al nero di sepia, peace Rombo, fragoline di bosco con zabaglione! And maybe a few restaurants too. I like to find restaurants by word of mouth…and here are some of the recommendations from Instagram:
- Osteria Bentigodi in Cannareggio
- La Zucca
- Local (lunch)
- Do Forni (dinner)
Or these recommendations from locals on Huffington Post.
Let us know what other food/drink or restaurants we should try for “What to eat in Venice” part 2!