I Cicchetti Veneziani

Tavern Nibblers in Venice (I Cicheti Venessiani)

Custom of the Venetian Tavern


This is not a real Venetian recipe but only some advice and indications to better understand Venetian dishes and customs.

Most Venetian Taverns, like elsewhere in Europe, serve wines by quart, half, whole liter or by the glasses.

These osterias or taverns offer the possibility of tasting a variety of morsels and samples on toothpicks. These 'cicheti' are eaten standing up or at the counter in small plates. The taverns have 'cicheti' on display to whet the curiosity and palates of visitors. These cicheti are tastes of both land and sea.

Many of these businesses are struggling with the tightening of health laws, but this local tradition still endures.

In addition to these, you'll often see other local dishes, such as Risi e Bisi, Risotti al Nero di Seppia, Risotti alla marinara, Pasta e Fasioi (pasta and bean soup). The most common and the oldest are:

Nibbler Dish Description
Mesi Vovi (Halved Eggs) Boiled eggs cut in halves, seasoned with oil salt and pepper
Folpeti Boiled octopus seasoned with various sauces of oil, celery, parsley, salt and pepper; often served in symmetrical halves.
Spiensa Thin slices of beef spleen, stewed and seasoned with oil and spices
Sepoine Young and very small cuttlefish roasted or fried.
Rumegal Chunks of boiled beef rumen seasoned with salt and oil
Patatine Roasted, stewed or fried potatoes
Canoce Boiled sea onion seasoned with oil, salt, pepper and parsley
Masanete Small lagoon crabs stewed in their shells
Moeche Same as crabs, but in the ecdysis period, an embryonic stage where the shell is missing, they are fried.
Museto Thick slices of cotechino (Italian pork sausage) stewed on a bed of polenta
Bacala Dried salted cod on toast or small dish, mantecato (creamed), Vicenza’s way, and conso, seasoned in similar manner to that called Capuchin’s way. You’ll rarely still find it in fried fillets, similar to the mannor alla Giudia (Jewish’s way).
Frito de Minuagia Fried fish: anguee (clams), marsioni (similar small fish), totanetti (small squid).
Peoci Gratinai Baked gratinated mussels.
Polpete Fried croquettes of meat and bread, softened in milk, with parsley and sometimes garlic.
Garusoi Murex murex shells, those used in antiquity to extract the purple dye. In the 1970s the native species of this shell were mostly replaced by more vigorous, but less delicate, invasive species from tropical seas. The Garusoi of this new species are also called Noni (grandparents).
Capesante Large, fan-shaped shells, usually au gratin.