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Bella & Brava

Bella & Brava pizzeria

 

Rather like England’s New Forest, which received that name almost 1,000 years ago, Venice is full of things labeled novo, whose novelty is relative to the age of the city. The most important of these is the Strada Nova (New Street) which since its completion in 1871 has been the main thoroughfare from Venezia Santa Lucia train station (construction began in 1861) to the Rialto area.

Appropriately for a maritime city, the foot traffic on the Strada Nova comes in waves as tourists exit from the trains arriving at the station, and changes direction in the evening as the visitors ebb away.

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An Italian croissant?

April 13, 2017 — 11 Comments
Campo de la Bragora

Campo de la Bragora

 

It has become one of my fundamental beliefs that you cannot find croissants in Italy. There are things that look like croissants, usually called brioche or cornetti, served up and down the country for breakfast in bars, but buy one and you will soon discover the difference between these sweetmeats and the traditional salt-and-butter French classics. And by croissant, I mean the full-fat, full-French version.

Italian brioche are sweet, with sugar in the pastry and usually a glaze of apricot jam on top. To satisfy the Italian sweet tooth they often come with crema pasticcera or apricot jam inside: to have a plain one you need to ask for an empty one, or una vuota. French croissants are slightly salty and made with lashings of fresh butter which means that they melt in your mouth and don’t stick to the roof of it. Having spent two years living in Paris, for me the Italian ones just don’t cut the butter and croissants are one of the very few things I miss.

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melanzane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aubergine, eggplant, melanzane: they sound good in any language and, in my opinion, taste even better. These have been my favourite vegetables since I was a child and my mother used to prepare melanzane al funghetto alla veneziana, a kind of cold salad of marinated aubergine. Heaven. Italy is the largest european producer of aubergine and produces more than the whole of the USA. Another reason why it plays such a large role in Italian cuisine. And it’s in season all throughout the summer.

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Gelato malaga: recipe

July 22, 2016 — 17 Comments

gelato malaga

 

 

In Italy, even the flavours of gelato are custom to the whims of fashion. There are a couple of flavours, very common when I was a child in the 1980s, which you very rarely find nowadays, but which for me say still say Italian summer.

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carpaccio di zucchine

 

Until the 1960s, Carpaccio was a Venetian painter whose renaissance canvases are valued as a record of what the city looked like during his lifetime. Today, historians pore over his works extracting knowledge of the minutiae of sixteenth-century Venetian dress and architecture contained in them, including a detailed rendition of the old wooden Rialto bridge. But in 1963, Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the now almost mythical Harry’s Bar, invented a dish subtle slices of raw meat and named it for the painter—there was an exhibition of his work in the city at the time—and for future generations the name became associated more with culinary than with visual arts.

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