Venetian recipes:
a blend of tastes from Veneto, Italy,
Mid-East and Northern Europe

Venetian recipes are mainly based in fish. Not surprisingly as Venice, Italy, is a maritime town.

A typical Veneto dish is risotto with fish and there are many great variants on this recipe.
It can be made with seafood like lobster, prawns or shrimp or you can try risotto with mussels. Italians love the mussels and they are referred to as peoci in the Venetian dialect.

If you like risotto then, one of the yummiest Venetian recipes you will find is likely to be the risotto al nero di seppia. This means risotto with cuttlefish ink and the risotto made this way has an unmistakable black color that can’t be missed.
Cuttlefish ink can also be served with spaghetti.

The fish in Venetian cuisine is generally grilled or fried in oil and, as an appetizer, I recommend you taste the sardine in saor. This is a cold dish of sardines that is marinated in onion, oil and vinegar, then spiced with raisins and pine nuts. The flavors are a pleasant blend of sweet, sour and salted taste, passed down from the Levantine tradition.

You can really step back in time when you try the baccalà, which is a salted, dried codfish which turns into stockfish.
The cod is not from a Mediterranean species but comes from the North Sea.
In the 1400’s, seamen from the Venice Republic wrecked on Norway‘s Lofoten Island. They came into contact with the local tribes and experienced the wonderful foods of those Nordic people. Since then, they have imported and cooked codfish in a similar style but added their own unique twist, the Venetian version being creamier and absolutely delicious.

Other well known Venetian recipes include the risi e bisi, or rice with peas and onion, as well as pasta with sardines.

In Venice, you’ll always have a wide choice at any of the typical bacari which are the traditional Venetian wine bars or hostarias.
If you want to go where real Venetians spend their dine time, this is the best way to see the real culture and avoid going broke!

The Venice Republic has been deeply influenced by Middle East but also by its connection to the Veneto mainland which was once a part of the Most Serene Repubblica.
Because of this, you will find Venetian recipes are often based on mainland products like meat and cheese. One of these meat based recipes is the fegato alla veneziana which is Venetian style liver made with onion, oil and vinegar. It presents a wonderful blend of sour and spicy flavors that are extremely mouth watering.

The vegetables are also traditionally grown in the local islands which are blessed with a very mild climate.
Peas, radish, artichokes, salad, and potatoes all decorate the Veneto dishes along with a healthy assortment of beans to complement many dishes.

One of the most celebrated Venetian recipes, originating on the Veneto’s mainland is the pasta e fagioli or pasta and beans. It’s a heavy mixture that is very filling. Often eaten cold, it’s a great meal for the summertime.

Last but not least, there are the very typical Venetian cicchetti which are various finger foods that are often tasted while standing up at the local bar with a glass of white Prosecco wine or any of the local aperitifs, like the Spritz.
Cicchetti are ideal if you don’t want to sit at a regular table and are just looking for a quick snack and dash out the door. Enjoy these small pieces of grilled bread covered with oil and pepper. They can include seafood, cold cuts, and many different vegetables. Enjoy a spicy meatball or a fisball and then get back to your business in another part of town!

A more modern food that is just as fast and easy is the panino veneziano or Venetian sandwich, which has spread all over Italy with the name of tramezzino.
It’s just two slices of soft white bread filled with mayonnaise. Then they add a wide variety of ingredients like eggs, tomatoes, mozzarella, tuna, vegetables, olives, raw ham, artichokes, and mushrooms.

There are many great foods to choose from in the modern city of Venice and visitors are only beginning to appreciate a rich tradition that is making many new discoveries each day.
So, if you visit Venice, please do not miss the authentic culinary tradition of the capital of Veneto!

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