A taste of Venice

Bound to the water that envelops it, the cuisine and wine from these lagoon islands is some of Italy's best

Published 27 Sept 2017, 09:00 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 11:40 BST
Voilet artichoke
Voilet artichoke

Venetian cuisine has always relied on the freshness and quality of local ingredients. Cuttlefish, musky octopus, grey shrimp, sardines and bivalves are staples in the fish market. On the islands of Sant'Erasmo and Vignole, often referred to as 'the gardens of Venice', farmers and gardeners grow prized carciofo violetto (violet artichoke) and herbs in the salt-rich soil, while wine and wild honey are produced on Mazzorbo.

Island escape

Pellestrina offers respite from Venice's crowds. For dinner, head to Da Celeste for the freshest seafood and a panoramic view across the lagoon. The host will suggest what's best, but don't miss the schie (grey shrimp) with polenta, and the fritto misto (mixed fried fish).

On the waterfront

Pensione WildnerTuck into fresh seafood along the Giudecca Canal — some ingredients even bear the Slow Food stamp.

BancogiroSample crostini — the baccalà mantecato is divine — on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.

Ai ArtistiAt this canalside restaurant, imaginative dishes remain true to their Venetian roots.

Snack happy

A lively wine bar set in quiet Cannaregio, Vino Vero offers by-the-glass wines from small-scale local producers, to pair with tasty cicchetti (Venetian small plates).

Make it at home

Razor clams with garlic and parsley

INGREDIENTS (serves four)
1kg razor clams, soaked in salted water
and rinsed
80ml dry white wine
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves,
very finely chopped
2tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place a large frying pan over high heat. Add the clams and wine. Cover and steam for two minutes, until the clams have opened. Transfer them to a plate. Using a pair of scissors, remove the siphon, foot and stomach (the dark meat). Put the white meat back in the shells and keep warm. Strain the juices and whisk them with the oil and lemon juice. Reduce the liquid over a gentle heat for five minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the clams. Serve.

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Published in the October 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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