23 septembre 2015 § 5 Commentaires
Finding an authentic restaurant is the biggest challenge when you are visiting Venice and its surroundings. By « authentic » I mean a place without overpriced dishes and aimed only for hungry tourists.
On the menu, typical italian dishes such as Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), seafood plate and if available an excellent risotto. Despite the absence of any particular decor, I appreciated eating comfort food in a family run osteria after over indulging myself with gelati.
Where? Campo San Bernado 1, Murano
18 septembre 2015 § 1 commentaire
When you order a coffee in Italy, you will be served an espresso, in those small cup. Italians take coffee very seriously, and there is a way to enjoy it appropriately. A good espresso should not be bitter and prepared with fresh beans. Also, « espresso » means fast, they usually drink it at the bar. One essential rule to know before you order: capuccino or other variations of coffee with milk should never be ordered after 11am. They are considered as a “meal” in themselves and only for breakfast with a pastry. A journalist from the Guardian asked Italians how they felt about Italian food in New York, and New Yorkers but also French are doing it all wrong, particularly for the capuccino which is often ordered during lunch or dinner. In Venice, locals were having for breakfast an espresso with a pastry standing at the bar. A caffé you have to go for mingling with locals and hear Italians chatting – definitely the most beautiful language – is Caffé del Doge. They have beans from everywhere around the world and propose a large selection of drinks and pastries. If you are with friends who do not drink coffee, they can choose between hot chocolate prepared with real cocoa, or tea.
I went for an espresso and a « mandorle torte », which is almond tart. Italy is the country of Hazelnuts and Almonds, so eat them all while you are here! There were also my favorite pain au chocolat but it did not look as good as my delicious slice of mandorle pie. For a good start every morning, I would definitely adopt the Italian breakfast!
Where? Really close to the Rialto bridge, Calle Cinque, San Paolo
15 septembre 2015 § 1 commentaire
Venice has always appeared in my imagination as a city where couples gather for a romantic ride on the beautiful gondola. For sure tourists presence is pervasive, although I did not find it very different from Paris, which is as you know the most visited destination in the world. If you get away from the Rialto and the historic Piazza San Marco, an intimate view of the City on Water will appear. Narrow, short streets leading to dead ends, Venice will become more and more mysterious as you will keep on trying to shed lights on its secrets. Before your journey, I recommend you to read Death in Venice, a classic novella written by the German author Thomas Mann to help you familiarize with its history and architecture.
It was a challenge to find decent places. Literally all the restaurants have menus written in 5 different languages, and owners changing like musical chairs do not help maintain Venice as a destination for quality food. Addresses indicated in city guides are often out-of-date at the time you will visit them. Fortunately some places have still kept their authenticity and will remind you how italian food can be delicious. You can book in advance and head to Michelin star restaurants for a unique culinary experience or choose like I did to nibble on cicchetti with « Spritz e Ombre de vin ».
I visited Palazzo Grassi and Peggy Guggenheim’s collection located inside Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, both presenting contemporary artists work. An article on Museeum.net can be found soon about the Palazzo Grassi café.
- Other islands: Murano and Burano
These two little gems should not be forgotten if you have time to visit these islands. They can be easily reached by Vaporetto and will require a full day visit. Murano, only 1,5km distant from Venice is reknown for glass making. If you want to bring back quality hand crafted gifts, Murano is full of shops selling various items made of glass.
Burano, further in the north to Venice is the most colorful and liveliest island in Italy. The colors of the houses are not randomly chosen as the owners must ask for permission to the government who checks if the colors are matching with the neighbours’ houses.
And some other pictures.. :
15 septembre 2015 § Poster un commentaire
I have eaten in 48hours more Gelati than I ever did before, because Italians do it better than anyone else. In the City on Water, gelaterias are everywhere and the majority of them are tourist traps. One place that stood out and was often mentioned in the city guides was Gelateria Nico.
Two options for this spot: take away or have a seat on their terrass overlooking the Gran Canal. You have to be warned that the seating menu is different with higher prices. We wanted to enjoy the sunny terrass and try gelati à la carte, which are not available for take away. Trying to be adventurous I randomly chose a cookie sandwich gelato. When the server brought it, it looked really good: thin biscuit with a scoop of creamy yet unknown gelato flavor. I was all wrong: it was plain ice « panna », whipped cream in ice version. It had no particular taste and was too rich for me. I just ate one bite, and was sadly unable to finish it.
For giving another chance to Nico and catch up, I chose two classic flavors and this time nothing exotic: pistaccio and tiramisu scoops. They were extremely flavorful, and helped me forget my previous order.
I returned there the next day before heading to the airport and tried a « Gianduiotto », as I saw the locals ordering it. Served in a more longer cup than the usual one, it looks like a dense cloud topped with a bloc of chocolate gelato. The « panna » seems to contain more eggs than the french version and is sugar free. The consistency and the taste are like stiffly beaten eggs white. I usually do not like Chantilly – the french version of whipped cream, the italian version did not convince me either. You have to give a try to Gianduiotto, to discover how the italian whipped cream tastes. Maybe you will appreciate it more than I did!
Grom should not be overlooked on your Gelato quest because it is a chain. The first Grom has opened in 2003 in Turin and has expanded worldwide since then. Their gelati can be appreciated in Paris, New York and Osaka.
Grom proposes gelati made « come una volta » – « like in the old days ». They have the particularity to melt fastly: it means that they are prepared with high quality fresh milk and most importantly that no thickener were added.