Provence:fresh fruit and Veg

It is finally here, Spring has finally reached us! And surrounded by blooming flowers, buzzing bees and sunny days, we decided to offer you the chance to enter a give-away and win a wonderful cooking experience in Provence whilst Kathy from Food Lover’s Odyssey will offer you the chance to win one of our cooking classes! Super chance not to be missed!

Why in Provence, you might ask? But because this is where our dearest friend and amazing chef Kathy Ayer offers amazing cooking courses!

 We had the pleasure of cooking a variety of sweet Carnival desserts last February here in Mira, in between enjoying a lot of Cicchetti and wine stops and dressing up in fancy costumes and walking around Venice, having a great fun time, snapping lots of photos and acting like real tourists!

 And as we prepared Frittelle and Galani, Kathy told us about her wonderful cooking classes in Aix-en-Provence. Aix en Provence is the typical place in France where you can “enjoy a holiday” in all its aspects. It ‘s a small town in the heart of Provence, described by some as a kind of small Parisienne rive gauche. Aix en Provence is the ideal place in which to go and act as tourists (meaning “seeing things” and go shopping) without getting too much stress, running around all day. The city is surrounded by the typical rural landscape of Provence, with traditional houses and French-style gardens. City of art and historical capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence, has an architectural heritage among the richest in the south of France. And there is no more beautiful epithet than “the cuisine of the sun” to define the cuisine of Aix en Provence and Provence in general. The dishes and typical recipes of this land are based on products that find in the sun the secret of their taste. Olive oil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme and other herbs are indeed a hallmark of the cuisine of this place. But do not worry: Aix en Provence is the ideal place for gourmets. In all the restaurants you can try delicious meat and fish dishes, accompanied by vegetables and strictly good wine. It is simple and tasty food very similar to the neighbouring cuisine of Italy. But it is not only Italy that influence the cuisine of Provence: in this French region you can find typical Spanish traits.

Cheese in Provence

Joining one of Kathy’s cooking classes you will be able to sample some amazing menus and take part in the ritual of going to the market first thing in the morning to collect all the fresh ingredients which then will be used during the class. During her classes she teaches typical French cooking, preparing dishes like Mille Feuille of Tomatoes, Mousselline of Chevre Frais and Herbs with a Basil Vinaigrette, Veal à la Provencale, Moelleux of Chocolate and Cherries with two sauces and much much more. You can view all the range of cooking classes on offer on her website Food Lover’s Odyssey. Kathy’s cooking groups are very small, maximum 8 people, so you will be able to have a real hands-on experience with a fantastic chef!

By entering our give-away you could have the chance to win 1 market tour and full-meal cooking lesson with Kathy Ayer, to be taken from April to October 2014. Simply place a comment telling us what you would like to cook with Kathy in Provence by 9am Monday 14th April 2014 and then we will randomly draw a number. The number which will be drawn will win a 1 market tour and full-meal cooking lesson with Kathy.

Selection of food


To win The Provence Market Tour & Full Meal Class (class details here): To win, leave a comment telling us what your ideal meal in Provence would be.

To win a One-Day Hands-On Cooking Class in Venice for one (class details here) – To win, visit Kathy’s blog post today announcing the giveaway and leave a comment on her post.

Simple: Leave two comments, one on each blog post, and get two chances to win. Make sure to leave your comments by Monday, April 14, 2014 by 9am Venice & Provence time (Midnight Pacific Standard Time) when the giveaway closes. I’ll pick a winner for the Food Lover’s Odyssey’s class and Kathy will pick a winner for our Venice cooking class. Winners will be chosen randomly using and we’ll announce the winner in a post the next day.

NOTE: The contest is open to anyone worldwide!

So, what are you waiting for? Get in there and tell us what your favourite dish is and win a cooking class in Provence!

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you everyone for participating in this giveaway and in Food Lover’s Odyssey’s giveaway. And the winner is…… Steve McEnroe (that is comment #3)!  You can now make your way to Aix-en-Provence and join Kathy in her Provence Market Tour & Full Meal Class!  Bon appetit!




A unique opportunity in a unique setting: traditional Venetian cooking classes in a beautiful island of the lagoon of Venice held by experienced Venetian cooks.

From April 1st to Arpil 3rd, 2014 come and join at the Venice Certosa Hotel on the Certosa Island of Venice our Venetian cooking lessons in English and discover all the secrets and traditions of Venetian recipes.

Come to Venice alone or with your family and friends: experience and enjoy the real city, taste its amazing food and its lively wines.

Ada (the famous historic cook from Osteria La Vedova), Arianna and Monica will hold a demonstration of traditional Venetian recipes. Some of the dishes which they will prepare will include: traditional Venetian gnocchi, the original Tiramisu recipe, cicchetti, risotto and much more.


You can take part in one day lesson, two days lessons or to a three-day course.

The event is divided as follows:

1st April 2014: MEAT MENU – pick up point in Rialto Market at 15.30, shopping and transfer vaporetto bus to the Certosa Island. 4 hours coking demonstration, followed by food and wine tasting. Return to San Zaccaria by vaporetto at 8-9 pm.

2nd April 2014: FISH MENU – pick up point in Rialto Market at 8.30, shopping and transfer by boat to the Certosa Island. 4 hours coking demonstration, followed by food and wine tasting. Return to San Zaccaria by vaporetto at 3-4 pm.

3rd April 2014: VEGETABLE MENU – pick up point in Rialto Market at 8.30, shopping and transfer by boat to the Certosa Island. 4 hours coking demonstration, followed by food and wine tasting. Return to San Zaccaria by vaporetto at 3-4 pm.

  The offer includes:

- Shopping trip to Rialto Market with the cooks from Cook in Venice

Demonstration of 4 hours of a different menu for each cooking lesson (one meat based menu, one fish based mnu, one vegetable basd menu)

- Transportation by private boat from the Rialto Market on the 11th and 12th March (not on the 10th March – on 10th March we must use a vaporetto bus and pay for it)

Tasting of prepared dishes with matching wines

Recipe booklet

Each full menu includes:

-          1 starter

-          1 first course

-          1 main course with side dish

-          1 dessert

During the meal a selection of local wines will be available included in the price.

The cost is:

 1 lesson: Euro 150.00 per person

2 lessons: Euro 300.00 per person

3 day course: Euro 450.00 per person

Booking must be received by March 30th 2014.

We require the payment of a deposit of 50%, non-refundable in case of cancellation, subject to the entry of a substitute participant. Classes will be held with a minimum number of participants. You are required to report any food intolerances.



Please note this course can be booked combined with hotel accommodation – contact Venice Certosa Hotel for costs and bookings.


Venetian Style Fish Soup 

A hearty, flavorful dish that’s perfect as comfort food



In the late 1800s, Italian fish wholesaler in San Francisco and “Fish King” Achille Paladini developed the cioppino, a fish stew made from leftover fish and Dungeness crabs. As Italian restaurants proliferated in the area, cioppino became a staple. Today, we show you how to add a Venetian twist on traditional cioppino, and prepare it right in the comfort of your own kitchen. 

Cioppino can be quite messy to eat, due to the inclusion of different shellfish in the stew. This recipe for Venetian Style fish soup eliminates this mess, because instead of leftovers, we’re using beautiful, firm fish fillets and shelled shrimp as the protein in the dish. Adding some Sauvignon white wine to this dish also enhances its flavors, as M&S sommelier Chris Murphy says “fish always benefits from a light, racy, and refreshing Sauvignon. White wine is also always a winner when added to a delicate, tangy tomato sauce”. 

When selecting the fish for this dish, make sure you get a firm or moderately firm fish like cod, halibut, or ocean perch. Picking several kinds of fish will also add a depth of flavor to your stew, so don’t overthink what kind of fish you’re going to use. As for the shrimp, make sure you get whole shrimp from the market and peel them yourself, because the shells will be used to add flavor to the stew. 

· ½ lbs of large shrimp, peeled, with shells reserved 
· 2 cups of water 
· 3 tbsp of olive oil 
· 2 chopped carrots 
· 2 chopped onions 
· 1 chopped fennel bulb 
· 2 chopped celery ribs 
· 6 cloves of minced garlic 
· ½ cup of Sauvignon Blanc
· 3 ½ cups of bottled clam juice 
· 2 ½ cups of crushed tomatoes in a thick puree 
· ¼ tsp of dried red pepper flakes 
· 5 tbsp of fresh parsley 
· ½ tsp of dried thyme 
· 2 bay leaves 
· 2 lbs of firm fish fillets 
· Salt and pepper to taste 

Like any stew, this dish pretty much cooks itself. Boil the shrimp shells in the 2 cups of water in a large pot, and simmer for 15 minutes to create a shrimp stock. Then, remove the shells and discard, and keep the fresh shrimp stock in a bowl. 

preparingfishIn a large pot, heat up the olive oil and sauté the carrots, onions, fennel, celery, and garlic, and cook until tender. This should take about 5 minutes. You can then add the wine to deglaze the pan, and cook until the wine has almost evaporated. Add in the shrimp stock, clam juice, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, 4 tbsp of the chopped parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Allow the stew to cook and reduce on a low simmer for 25 minutes. Taste for salt and season accordingly. 

Remove the bay leaves, and add the fish and shrimp to the pot, cooking for 2 minutes until the seafood is just about done. Sprinkle on the rest of the parsley and serve. 




The team of Cook in Venice (that is Arianna and Monica) are finally going North!

We will be in London from 14th March till 18th March 2014 and we are organizing cooking lessons!  So if you want to learn how to make some traditional recipes from Venice and its mamas, book now!  We will come to your house and hold a 2 hour cooking lesson, teaching you hands on the most delicious dishes from our 1000 year long tradition of cooking!

Minimum 4 people. Cost £ 30.00 per person, including all ingredients. 

For more information contact us via email



Venice Cicchetti go to London!


Have you just come back from Venice and you are already missing the lovely food you tasted during your unforgettable visit to the most amazing city in the world?

Well, stop yearning! Caffè Caldesi in London has the solution for you!

On Sunday  2nd February 2014 Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi, back from a recent trip to Venice where they carried out an intensive research for their next cookery book which is due out this Autumn, have decided to delight their customers with some of the most delicious dishes they had the chance to taste while they were in the city of water! 


For their Street Food Sundays series and only for this Sunday, Venice will be once again the Queen of spices and food in the UK. Giancarlo and his staff will be preparing some of Venice’s famous cicchetti, including: pesce e verdure fritte (a selection of deep fried fish and winter vegetables), polpette di carne e sugo di pomodoro (meat patties with tomato dipping sauce), tagliere di affettati e formaggio con mostarda e giardiniera (a wooden platter of Venetian salumi and cheeses with pickled vegetables and mostarda), bigoli in salsa (whole wheat spaghetti with anchovies and onion) and much more. And all will be served with Venetian and Italian wines, just like we do here in Venice in all the little osterias and wine bars, just like they do at Vineria all’Amarone.

So, if you want to recapture that holiday feeling, transport yourself back in time and space in the beautiful city of gondolas and little alleys, 

Venice Cicchetti

 breathing in the delicious Venetian smell of good quality food and wine, pop in at Caffè Caldesi for a Sunday brunch or a quick snack – you won’t regret it!

Castradina – Venetian Stewed Mutton

Original Venetian Castradina

Original Venetian Castradina

Today is Santa Maria Della Salute in Venice, a celebration dating back to the 17th century and probably the least “touristy” one, still evoking strong religious feelings among the local Venetians.

Everything started with the plague in 1630, when Venice was devastated by the outbreak of the disease. The Republic of Venice pledged to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health, in Italian “Salute”, as a votive offering for the city’s deliverance from the pestilence. The design of the church was entrusted to Baldassare Longhena, who designed it in the typical Palladian style of the time. The Church stands at the top of the Canal Grande in the area of Punta della Dogana and it is clearly visible from San Marco.


Santa Maria della Salute


Every year on November 21 , the day which was appointed by the Council of Venice over 400 year ago as the day of the celebration, on the Feast of the Madonna della Salute the Venetian pilgrims can cross a bridge made of boats, which runs from St. Mark’s Basilica, and go to the Church to pray. People go there to pay their respect and to pray as early as 5 o’clock in the morning, before going off to work. Later whole families (parents, children, grandchildren) make their way to the church to attend the various masses which are celebrated all throughout the day. The local tradition calls for everyone to buy and lit a candle and to spend a few minutes praying to the Holy Mary.

And as soon as the families come out of church, they go to the little stalls which have been set up by the church and all the children patiently wait to get a balloon, a frittella (a flat fried donught like sweet) and a candy apple, just like their parents, and their grandparents and all past young Venetian children have been doing for centuries (actually in the old days they used to get a zaeto – typical Venetian cake, a little crown and a little saint picture, but things obviously have evolved a bit).

Soon after that, Venetians make their way home for lunch, when they will eat “castradina“, a dish made of mutton and cabbage, a simple dish which is eaten in Venice only on this particular day.

Following the suggestion of a dear friend, Lee Laurino of Home To Italy and thanks to the kindness of another Venetian friend, I had the pleasure of meeting the queen of Venetian cooks yesterday, Ada Catto, the historic cook of Trattoria La Vedova, one of the oldest osterie in Venice, who was so kind as to let me have and reproduce her original recipe for Castradina, a dish which she has been cooking for more than 40 years in the famous Venetian restaurant.

Castradina alla S’ciavona

According to tradition, the mutton meat (salted, smoked and dried in the air) was imported into Venice from Dalmatia, which used to be part of the Venetian Republic in the old days and was also called Slavonia (slave land). The name of the recipe “alla s’ciavona” comes from the fact that the meat was downloaded by the Dalmatian merchants in Riva Degli Schiavoni, which in Venetian means The Riverbank of the Slaves and which was called exactly like that because for the Venetians the Dalmatians were considered a bit like slaves, since they were under the dominion of the Republic of Venice.


Castradina from the shop by Marco Secchi


Ingredient for 6 people

1,5 Kg of spiced mutton meat

1 savoy cabbage

2 onions


salt and pepper

Put the meat in a bowl with cold water and leave to stand for 24 hours (this helps to realise all the spices, the salt and to make the meat tender).

Take the meat and with a cleaning brush and running cold water clear away all the salt and the spices, until the meat is nice and clean.

Place the meat in a deep pot and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the meat, rinse with cold water, place it again in the pot and bring again to boil with clean water. Remove the meat again and repeat the operation for 4 times.

Now cut the meat into small pieces, add some water, salt, pepper, add some onion, the shredded cabbage and some thyme. Cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat is tender.

Serve with polenta slices.


Castradina by EatVenice



Buona Festa Della Salute!




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Pizza Margherita by Sami Keinänen

Pizza Margherita by Sami Keinänen

Raised, Neapolitan style, or flat, Roman style. Simple, with tomato and oregano, or overloaded with ingredients, from eggs to ham, from vegetables to seafood. Cooked in a traditional wood oven or in the oven at home. In slices or round, to take away or eaten in old historical places with paper tablecloths. Italian par excellence. So much so that it kept its name in the world with no translation. From America to Japan, there is only one way to say it: Pizza.

Pizza is definitely one of the most loved dishes, not only in Italy, but all over the world. Pizza is a delicacy that has its basis in a mixture of water, flour and yeast, worked up to get a flat shape, baked and seasoned with different various ingredients.

Although pizza is considered a “modern” food because nowadays it is consumed at such large extent, its origins sink the roots in the mists of time.

Pizza throwing by Daveybot

Pizza throwing by Daveybot

The history of pizza began when primitive men learned to extract flour from wheat, as a kind of rough flour, made by crushing the beans, mix it with water to get a loaf and bake it on the fire. The true origin of pizza is still very uncertain: as well as Naples, other cities claim its paternity but the first written records of the word “pizza” dates back to the vulgar Latin of Gaeta in 997.

Even in antiquity, however, flat breads, leavened or not, were used by the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans. The etymology of the name “pizza” seems to go back to the Latin verb pinsere, meaning crushing or from the Greek word “pita”. Pizza is a kind of bread and it comes in countless variations and derivations, changing name and characteristics according to different traditions. In particular, in some areas of Central Italy, it is called “pizza” any kind of baked cake, sweet or savory, tall or flat.

It seems certain, however, that the word “pizza” comes from Naples. Pizza was born by the inspiration of Naples, when they decided they wanted to make their flat bread more tasteful, adding garlic, lard and salt, or, in the most “rich” version, cheese and basil. But the real breakthrough came with the introduction in Europe of the tomato, which is essential in modern pizza.

Pizza Margherita by jillmotts

Pizza Margherita by jillmotts

Imported from Peru in Europe by the Spanish colonizers after the discovery of America, the tomato was first used in cooking as a sauce cooked with salt and basil and only later the Neapolitans used it to fill their bread making it more tasty. The history of pizza as we know it, began in the second half of 1800 with the birth of the classic pizza “tomato and mozzarella” that immediately became famous, not only in the Neapolitan capital, but also in America thanks to the multitude of Italian emigrants. The moment of greatest splendor for the pizza was in 1889 on the occasion of the visit in Naples of the then rulers of Italy, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita.

Legend has it that the best pizza maker in Naples, Raffaele Esposito created for this special event three different type of pizzas: the pizza mastunicola, with lard, cheese and basil, the pizza Marinara with tomato, garlic, olive oil, oregano and the pizza “tomato and mozzarella”, with tomato, olive oil, mozzarella and oregano, whose colors intentionally recalled the Italian flag. After tasting all three, the Queen remained entranced by the last one and wanted to praise the pizza maker in writing for what he had created. Grateful, in return he decided to call the pizza as his beloved queen: Margherita.

For many years the pizza was purely a southern food but after the end of World War II and with the thousands of immigrants who moved to the new economic triangle Rome-Milan-Genoa, customs, traditions and gastronomy from southern Italy mingled with those of the North. In the period from the 60s onwards, the north became aware of the great potential of pizza and pizzerias started to bloom in all cities and in all regions like Lombardy, Trentino, Veneto and Tuscany, so that over time, there began to be more pizzerias in the north than in the south. The first pizzeria opened in Venice in 1947, just behind Piazza San Marco.

Today, the pizza, the most widely known food, consumed in every country in the world without distinction, and envied by all, has become undoubtedly one of the most famous symbol of Italian cuisine abroad.

Spreading the dough in the form of a disc can be done with the use of the rolling pin or, preferably, by hand turning and pulling the balls of leavened dough on a work surface or with air maneuvers. Specialists of the latter method are the acrobatic pizzaioli.


Some considerations for the choice of the main ingredients: flour shall be to type 00, because it is more workable and the dough is softer and more elastic. The water must have a constant temperature of between 6 and 12 degrees. The secret to a good pizza is the high cooking temperature.

Pizza dough by joshbouse

Pizza dough by joshbouse

- 1/2 litre of water

- 1 kg of flour 00

- 10 g of fresh yeast (4 gr dry one)

- 25 g of sea salt

Dissolve half of the water with the salt. Dissolve the other half with the yeast (use two separate containers). Pour half of the flour in the container with salt and water and the other half in the one with the yeast. Mix separately until the two doughs are soft, then mix the two dough until they are well mixed, elastic. Avoid always to put in close contact salt and yeast because the first prevents the second from performing its raising function. Divide the dough in small balls (one for each pizza you wish to make). Leave to rest the small balls for 3 hours in a warm place (23 degrees).

Take one of the balls, spread out with your hand to form a disk. Spread with tomato sauce, and leave to rest for 1 hour. Cook at 250 degree (maximum temp) for 15 minutes without cheese, then add the mozzarella and all the ingredients you want to add to the pizza. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

We offer pizza cooking classes, even though it is not a typical Venetian dish, but we love it so much!!!! Just send us an email and we will send you all the information.

Rice and Risotto

riso (1)

Riso Vialone nano by Regione Veneto

In the Po valley rice paddies enjoy homogeneous climatic and environmental conditions, but only around the City of Verona a particular quality of rice has developed: the Vialone Nano Veronese, who obtained the IGP first in Italy and then in Europe. This particular variety, which is characterized by semi-long round grain, grows in the spring areas between Bovolone, Buttapietra, Erbè, Isola della Scala, Nogarole Rocca, Sanguinetto, Sorgà and Vigasio, where you can still see the canals – built in the sixteenth century – the old rice factories, the barns and the granaries.

In Vicenza, following the land reclamation of the twentieth century in which the areas, rich in water, were greatly reduced, the rice crop is present in small quantities in small areas and the varieties grown in this area are the Vialone nano and the Carnaroli.

In Polesine (the valley of the Po, in the province of Rovigo) there is also a long tradition of rice cultivation, once concentrated in the irrigation areas and in the valleys of the Delta del Po, including Ariano, Loreo and Porto Tolle. Today the production is concentrated in the Lower Polesine, where, however, the process of husking is not executed. The cultivated varieties are the Vialone and Carnaroli.


Brown rice by Dietaland

After harvesting, the rice undergoes a series of operations before being sold: the unripe grains are discarded and the rice is shelled (husking), in other words, the outer covering of the grain is removed. What remains is called brown rice (or semi-raw). The grains of brown rice appear dark as they are coated with a thin layer which, in the operation of refining, is eliminated. The rice is whitened so that it is more attractive to the consumer. With the elimination of the outer layer, unfortunately, rice loses most of its nutritional value: proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats. Brown rice is very nutritious and healthy, and much more digestible than other grains. But white rice remains still the most popular rice.

In Venetian cuisine rice is proposed and combined in dozens of different ways, especially in risotto and soups. 

Among the most typical dishes of Italian cuisine and especially the Venetian one, the risotto – thanks to the spread of rice cultivation in the Pianura Padana – has carved itself a leading role and it is traditionally served as a recipe for the holidays.

The reason is not hard to imagine: its preparation requires care, but the result is a refined and tasty first course, which can exalt the capacity of cook and entertain the guests. The risotto, also enhances the versatility of rice that can be matched to an extreme variety of flavors: vegetables, cheeses, meats and fish. The extreme variety of recipes is linked to the availability in the pantry and natural resources, rather than the desire for an ever-changing menu.

Here are two simple but delicious typical recipes from Veneto.

Risi e Bisi

(rice soup with peas)


Risi e Bisi


250 gr. Small peas, 200 gr. Vialone nano Rice, 60 gr. Pancetta, 60 gr. Butter, olive oil, 1 onion, 1 glove garlic, broth

Fry onion gently in a pan with some olive oil and butter, then add the peas. Cook gently with some broth and then add the pancetta. Cook at high flame. Cook until the peas are cooked. Aside bring some broth to boil, add the rice and as at half way through cooking add the peas and pancetta. Cook for another 10 minutes, this is a soup not a risotto, so it must be very liquid. At the end of cooking, add the chopped parsley , salt, pepper and lots of Parmisan cheese.

Risotto di Zucca


500 gr rice, Arborio or Vialone Nano, 400 gr. Pumpkin, 1 sliced white onion, 100 gr butter, 80 gr. Parmisan cheese, 1 litre of broth, oil, salt



Risotto di zucca

Cut the pumpkin in small cubes after you have taken off the seeds and the shell. Fry gently in half the butter the chopped onion and then add the pumpkin and leave to cook for 10 minutes adding 2 large spoons of broth.Then add the rice and keep adding the broth each time it is absorbed by the rice. Once the rice is well cooked, take the pan off the stove and add the remaining butter, the grated cheese and then serve.

Sarde in Saor by our reader Rosalba

We got to know Rosalba through Facebook: we have got a few friends in common and as time went by we started to exchange comments, recipes and photos!  She told us she loved our Sarde in Saor recipe so much so that we asked her to be the first of our readers to recount her experience on trying out one of our recipes. We love to hear from students (people who took our cooking classes) and our readers on how our recipes can be reproduced outside of Venice! If you want to show us your photos and comments about any of our recipes which you have tried out, please just send us an email to and we will be happy to publish it, not matter what the results were: success or fail! Nobody is born a perfect cook!

This is what Rosalba Masi-Clark had to say:

Sarde in Saor by Rosalba Masi-Clark

Sarde in Saor by Rosalba Masi-Clark

I am a Fish Wholesaler in the UK and a food lover. I especially love fish and shellfish and I never tire of finding new ways of preparing and cooking my own produce. Having already tried one of the recipes in your blog, namely the Baccalà Mantecato, and found it easy and delicious, it was about time to venture on another recipe. I was receiving that evening a sample consignment of Cornish sardines, so the Sarde in Saòr was the obvious choice. It all seemed so simple, and I had all the ingredients bar the white onions, and decided to give it a go anyway.

Sarde in saor while they marinate by Rosalba Masi-Clark

Sarde in saor while they marinate by Rosalba Masi-Clark

I left them to marinade for 48 hours and they were delicious and wonderfully delicate. I will be preparing this recipe again and again. Thank you Monica. I am not usually a blog follower, but I have come to love your blog.



Thank you so much Rosalba, it was very nice to hear that such an old recipe can be so easily reproduced even if you are not here in Venice, since the ingredients are virtually available worldwide: sardines, onions and vinegar!  Can’t wait for you to try out some more!

Arianna and Monica

Cook in Venice

The most famous top 10 Venetian dishes



Veneto is a pretty rich region under many aspects, above all the gastronomic one. It is easy to see why, given that it is a region that for centuries had commercial relations with distant lands, such as the East (land in which the Venetians learned the use of spices) and Northern Europe. The four key points of Venetian cuisine are: polenta, cod, rice and beans.

Let’s see now the top 10 most famous and delicious Venetian dishes, known all over the world.



Sarde in Saor

Sarde in Saor

1- We start with the notorious Sarde in Saor, sweet and sour sardines. The Saor is the preparation of a dish that sees the mixing of sweet, sour and salty, usually achieved with a combination of a main ingredient, onions and vinegar.

2- Local expression of pasta are bigoli, very thick and coarse spaghetti, usually seasoned with fish or game sauces. The most famous combination is Bigoli in Salsa, a salted sardine and onion sauce, one of the oldest recipes of Venice.

Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi

3- Rice and risotto are one of the main staples of Venice and Veneto and the first dish that comes to mind in this case is the famous Risi e bisi (rice and peas), the consistency being a mix between a soup and a risotto. Risotto in Veneto is also prepared with bruscandoli and radicchio from Treviso. The Veneto is a land of radicchio, with many different delicious varieties.


Baccalà mantecato

Baccalà mantecato

4- Cod was introduced to Venice in 1431, when a Venetian captain brought it back to the city after a long stay in Norway. Venetian fell immediately in love with the dried cod and found many ways to cook it, the most international known is Baccalà Mantecato, a creamy soft mousse like dish, mainly served with polenta. All Osterie in Venice offer their version of this very old recipe.

5- The beans of Lamon, in the province of Belluno in the Dolomites is the main ingredient for another world-known recipe, Pasta e Fasioi or Pasta e Fagioli. The Venetian version is not spicy at all, rather more like a creamy pudding, more than a soup and it is usually served with ditalini, which means “little thimbles” in Italian, a small soup pasta.

6- The Fegato alla Veneziana is a second course of Venetian origin, also popular in the rest of Italy for its intense flavor and its unique aroma of onion. At the time of the ancient Romans, the liver was cooked with figs in an attempt to conceal its distinctive odor then later the Venetians replaced the figs with onions, managing to achieve a really delicious dish. The Venetian liver is one of the best known and appreciated preparations of Venetian cuisine, a recipe which is easy to reproduce back home and it is also very economical. Traditionally the liver in question is of beef, in particular of veal.



7- Polenta was introduced in Venice after the discovery of America, but it soon became the main staple of the Republic, very often substituting bread on Venetian tables. Polenta e osei is one of the most typical Venetian dishes, even if a bit unusual for most: the little birds (such as larks and throstles) are cooked on a spit over a fire in the fireplace or in a pan with bacon and sage and served with their sauce on a bed of hot freshly made polenta

8- And with polenta flour you can also make the Zaleti, the most famous and traditional of all Venetian cakes. These cookies. recognizable by the warm yellow color and the coarse look, due to the maize flour, were typical of the Carnival in Venice, but now they can be found in all the pastry shops and bakeries all year round and are also considered as bringing good luck.



9- The most famous traditional Carnival sweet is for sure Frittelle, little sweet fried dumplings, which used to be fried and sold on the streets of Venice by the fritoleri since the Middle ages. they can be prepared with raisins or as soft bignè and filled with creme patissere or zabaione.





10- Last but not least, the most famous of all cakes (maybe in the world??): Tiramisù. Tiramisù finds its origins in Treviso, only few decades ago, in the ’80s, when it was invented by Ada Campeol of the restaurant “alle Beccherie” in Treviso, who created a fresh energy dessert to sustain her while she was nursing her son. She used ladyfingers, coffee, mascarpone cheese and the beaten eggs with the sugar to make the “tiramesù”, later translated by the Venetian dialect in Italian with “tiramisù”. The cake was a huge success, so much so that every year we celebrate the day of Tiramisu, on January 17th, and chefs from all over the world will compete in the recipe.

And now all you have to do is coming over to Venice and sample all of these delicacies!