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Venetian Recipes

All recipes were collected by Lucia Fanton, a thoughtful housewife who, among the veniceXplorer users first responded to our request for help.

A special thanks to Luigi Zanon or "nono" (Granddad), a restaurateur and repository of a great deal of ancient Venetian gastronomic knowledge, and to Gianfranco Ballarin for his witty reflections.

It is very well known that in cooking, there are many versions of the same recipe, especially the popular ones. Examples are family recipes that are handed down from generation to generation and family members use the same specific condiments, fragrances and spices. The collection of recipes here are published without any pretension to establish that these recipes might be the best nor the most widespread between the average ancient or modern Venetians.

Other interesting information is also given in some recipes which show how ancient Venetians made use of the dishes or its relation to Venetian life and history. It can be seen in the recipe, Sardee in Saor, which reflects the seafaring life and the exchanges with other Mediterranean people. The Zaleti, on the other hand, is inspired by the Piave River’s Zattieri (trunk-Raft transporters) and the Ghetto’s Beans, a reminder of the city’s ancient Jewish community.

It is hard to say with certainty that all Venetian recepies are original with Venice. Venice has been, for more than 1000 years, a world centre for business, military and religious traffics, driven by a ruling class that was cultured, if not Apollonian, and enterprising in every sense. The Venetians have even placed a man like Andrea Gritti very near the Sultan.

Soon after the wearying and spartan beginnings, just when the lone resources of the boggy Lagoon were employed, the fast growing population turned toward imports, transformation and trade, filtering and adopting the good and the better from all the different cultures and places reached. Through time, a cuisine was obtained which has transformed and adapted to the Venetian taste. This eventually led to the development of many foods around the world that are variegated and fabled cookery with names lie in all the Mediterranean Languages such as those of the Near, Middle and Far East, of the North, of the West Regions.

more information for Venetian Recipes

Rice & Peas

Rice & Peas
Place the flavored peas in a risotto baking tin and add the rice. Cook well and slowly add the hot bouillon, continuously stir the risotto using a holed ladle that is used for creams.
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Rice, Peas and Strawberries

Rice, Peas and Strawberries
In the 800’s Venetia, risi, bisi e fragoe (white, green and red), was the gastronomic equivalent of the cry, Viva Verdi, against the Austro-Ungarian Occupants. It came from VERDI, the name of the composer, but is also an acronym for Vittorio Emanuele Re d’Italia or Vittorio Emanuele (Savoia), King of Italy.
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Fig a la Venessiana

Fig a la Venessiana
Wash and chop the liver, cleaning it from any shred of skin or internal gristle. In a pan, wilt the onions in hot oil, until they are soft then add the chopped liver.
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Fried Creams

Fried Creams
Fried Creams (Creme Frite) Contributor: Lucia Fanton Introduction Any Venetian over 30 years of age remembers fried creams. They were purchased in the same shops dealing with fresh pasta and there were quite many of these shops in Venice even before the age of Mr. Giovanni Rana, the trade mark of industrial fresh pastas, N.d.E. Some of shops that offer these creams are located in: front ...
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Mushroomed Aubergines

Mushroomed Aubergines
"Mushroomed" Aubergines (Melansane al Fungheto) Contributor: Lucia Fanton Ingredients long, glossy and dark aubergines extra virgin olive oil parsley garlic salt Method Wash and dry the aubergines. Only the peels are needed which is cut into thin slices. Size them like dried what dried mushrooms used to be and use only the most external 2-3 millimetres of the vegetable. Lightly brown...
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Toni Trolese's Doughnuts

Toni Trolese's Doughnuts
Along with the Galani or Crostoli, the Fritoe are the most typical Carnival sweets in Venezia. This recipe was passed to me by Toni Trolese, one of my father’s friends who is actually 95 years old and lives in fondamenta di Cannaregio.
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Savoury Pilchards

Savoury Pilchards
This classic Venetian dish can be done with both opened pilchards, without the fish bones, and with closed pilchards, well cleaned from head and bowels. In both cases, they must be thoroughly washed to remove all of the fish scales.
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Beans, Ghetto’s Way

Beans, Ghetto’s Way
It is best to cook the beans for around six hours by putting them on the cooker at around 6 pm and then turning off the fire after midnight. If the fire is kept right down to the minimum, the dish will not become dry, nor stick to the bottom, or burn, while the broth slowly extracts the marvelous jelly from the bean. THAT WOULD NEVER APPEAR with faster cooking times. Thus, it is better to control at a glance from time to time.
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Venetian Caramel

Venetian Caramel
To make the franfraniche was quite a heavy job. Zanmaria, one of the franfraniche in Santa Margherita, near "Vecchio" cinema, used to give to those kids who helped him in pulling the sugar a generous slice of gardo or chestnut cake. He was the grandchild of the famous Zanmaria de le fritole (Johnmary of the Doughnuts) and was carrying on the family tradition.
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Baked Pear and Tavern Biscuits

Baked Pear and Tavern Biscuits
Venice ancestors came to Venice centuries ago, carrying wood from the Alpago in rafts down the Piave River. They were dealing trunks of a coppice they owned in Carpineto, a village in the circumdary of Chies, before the Italians came and requisitioned the wood to become property of the State. Nice people!
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The Raisin Breads of D’Amato Bakers

The Raisin Breads of D’Amato Bakers
This recipe was collected from Michele D’Amato, last of a series of generations, which was personally seen in the shop that his Grandfather and Father worked, to practice bakery in the area between San Barnaba and the Salute. Now, he runs a pizza shop near campo San Vio.
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Cuttles in Casserole with Their Ink

Cuttles in Casserole with Their Ink
Cuttles in Casserole with Their Ink (Sepe in Tecia col Nero) Contributed by Lucia Fanton Ingredients very fresh cuttlefishes, not too small extra virgin olive oil dry, white wine minced parsley garlic salt and pepper tomato puree (canned in tubes, optional) butter (optional) white or yellow maize porridge Method First remove the cuttlebones, heads, eyes and skins. Save 2 or 3 of the...
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The Baicoli

The Baicoli
They are the most famous Venetian Biscuits, wide spread in the World by the "Colussi" Trade Mark. Thin, crisp, and slightly sweet, they are perfect for a sober tea or used instead as a spoon to taste whipped cream, or dunked into warm chocolate. To offer chocolate at the guest was a sign of distinction in the Ancient Venezia, at less from the 17th-18th century, telling by the comedies of those times. The Baicoli are also served as a support with sweet or liqueur-like wines.
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Halved-peas Soup

Halved-peas Soup
Halved-peas Soup (Sopa de Spessati) Zuppa di Mezzi Piselli Contributed by Lucia Fanton Introduction This course, together with the Sarde in Saor, the Sepe col Nero and some others, can really be taken as an icon of the popular Venetian Cuisine, or at least of that of the 900’s. Ingredients "halved-peas" or dry peas onion rosemary salt and pepper butter grated parmesan cheese Meth...
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Grilled Mullets

Grilled Mullets
The Mullet Family is the richest of the subspecies in the fish fauna from the Venetian Lagoon. Among these, the causteli, the lotragani, the botoli, the verzelate, the baicoli (quite similar to basses), the batauri, the varioli varieties can be found. These varieties are distinguishable by the color of their backs and skin of their belly, the more or less flattening of the muzzle, the tail, the tightness of the scales, and the head color.
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Tavern Nibblers in Venice

Tavern Nibblers in Venice
What is really typical is to offer in sale to the patrons a wide variety of tidbits stuck on toothpicks, to be eaten standing at the bar or on small dishes at the tables. Bars are often surrounded by a showcase of a lot nibbler dishes that are both in seafaring taste and not.
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Bussolai and Eses

Bussolai and Eses
This food, giving high energy and long life, also comes from the seafaring tradition. The ring shape (bussolà) served the purpose of preserving the biscuits from mice by keeping the biscuits threaded on horizontal ropes.
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Eel Glass Kiln’s Way

Eel Glass Kiln’s Way
In the modern version of the course, it can be found in some specialized restaurants that the eel is cooked together with other aromas such as grains of pepper. This unlikely fit the budget of the lagoon popular cuisine in ages when that spice was traded against its weight in gold, and employed just for the necessity in food conservation.
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Pinza

Pinza
This sweet mush was once shaped in a thick and flat bar, to be sliced. The cake was kept wrapped in a soft, moistened canvas to preserve its fragrance for several days. Today, it is more often sold and produced in serving portions.
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