When in Venice…

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - When in Venice -

Ihave lived in Venice for longer than I can re­mem­ber. My fam­ily moved here from Eng­land when I was still small, in­tend­ing to stay only for a year. But some­how we never left: Venice, with its wind­ing canals and crum­bling old build­ings, has a way of tak­ing hold of peo­ple’s hearts. Twenty-fve years on, af­ter spend­ing my univer­sity years in Eng­land, I am still here. I di­vide my time be­tween Lon­don, where my hus­band works, and our lit­tle house in the sleepy district of Castello, which to me will al­ways be home. This is where I write my blog, From My Din­ing Table, shar­ing recipes and tales from my Vene­tian kitchen.

The food of Venice doesn’t boast the same glit­ter­ing rep­u­ta­tion as that of other Ital­ian re­gions. Gen­er­a­tions of tourists, fed bland pasta in trat­to­rie cater­ing to a tran­sient trade, have pro­mul­gated the myth of Venice as the kind of place you go to see art but not to eat. Vene­tian food, and by this I mean the food eaten by Vene­tians, re­mains the city’s most pre­cious and closely guarded se­cret: the canocce – sweet­tast­ing, if some­what pe­cu­liar-look­ing, crus­taceans – served raw with noth­ing but a driz­zle of olive oil; the br­us­can­doli – wild hops – which come into sea­son for only a few weeks of each year; the pil­lowy Veneziana fo­cac­cia, which un­like its more widely recog­nised Ge­noese coun­ter­part is but­tery and sweet, and comes topped with al­monds and su­gar; the way we use spices, pine nuts and bay leaves when cook­ing fsh dishes and pud­dings alike; and the fne, faky al­mond pas­tries, kiefer, which like the spritz and the strudel are a legacy that lingers on from the days when Aus­trian sol­diers oc­cu­pied the city. It is a unique cui­sine born from a city like no other, im­bued with a com­plex his­tory. It is the food of my child­hood, laden with nos­tal­gia and, as child­hood food is wont to be, syn­ony­mous with com­fort. Right Fresh fsh at Venice’s Ri­alto mar­ket; Skye McAlpine with Ben Tish, chef di­rec­tor of the Salt Yard res­tau­rant group, who was wel­comed into her kitchen; en­joy­ing a Vene­tian-style fsh stew

Vene­tian food, and by this I mean the food eaten by Vene­tians, is the city’s most pre­cious se­cret: the canocce – sweet-tasting, if pe­cu­liar-look­ing, crus­taceans – served raw with olive oil; the br­us­can­doli – wild hops – in sea­son for only a few weeks of each year…

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