Cook like a lo­cal: Venice

Take a tip from the cognoscenti in Italy’s most ro­man­tic city, and graze on fresh crab, meat­balls and ri­cotta tart

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Spaghetti with clams, Vene­tian cros­toli and more

Ital­ian cui­sine in gen­eral is well-known and well-loved, but its in­fi­nite lo­cal vari­a­tions are less cel­e­brated be­cause recipes tend to change ev­ery 30km – and ev­ery­one be­lieves their ver­sion is the best. For this rea­son, the best Vene­tian cui­sine will sur­prise you. Based on lo­cal prod­ucts, us­ing in­gre­di­ents that come from is­lands in the city’s la­goon, its wealth and va­ri­ety re­flect the re­la­tion­ships that Venice has de­vel­oped with dif­fer­ent cul­tures over the cen­turies. A visit to the city’s Rialto mar­ket will con­vince you that Vene­tian vegetables are dif­fer­ent: the slightly saline land on which they’re grown gives them an un­beat­able flavour. Lo­cal fish is, un­sur­pris­ingly, good, per­fect with just a driz­zle of olive oil and le­mon juice. Less ex­pected is the va­ri­ety of poul­try you’ll find on the city’s menus – the re­sult of Vene­tian aris­to­crats start­ing to farm in­land after the fall of the repub­lic in the late 18th cen­tury. Eat­ing out has al­ways been a Vene­tian tra­di­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the fa­mous Vene­tian bà­cari. Pre­de­ces­sors to the con­cepts of fast food and happy hour, th­ese work­ers’ wine bars date back to the mid-19th cen­tury. The at­mos­phere is al­ways warm and so­cia­ble. They’re where peo­ple meet to in­dulge in cic­chetti –Vene­tian-style ta­pas – at any time of day.

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