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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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focaccia pugliese

My friends Claudio and Filippo tucking into the focaccia.

 

This weekend, my friend Claudio was visiting from Venice. As you may have remember from this post, Claudio was born and has lived in Venice all his life, but his parents are from Puglia in the south of Italy. Claudio’s nonne are therefore a great source of typical recipes from the south of Italy, which always end up being delicious.

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sarde in saor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came to this dish very late, which is a suprise since it is one of the classic dishes of Venetian cuisine, and a pity since I have been missing it all my life. From just before my teenage years until adulthood, I wouldn’t touch fish on principle since I knew I didn’t like it, despite evidence to the contrary. For example, I remember at the age of about ten being fed what my parents told me was prosciutto di parma. It was delicious, but turned out to be smoked salmon.

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Bigoli in salsa

Bigoli in salsa

 

Bigoli in salsa is one of the most classic Venetian dishes which is found mostly in the city of Venice itself, but in variations in other parts of the Veneto. It consists of a kind of pasta made with semolina flour and eggs, served in an anchovy and onion sauce. The bigoli themselves are like very thick spaghetti, and similar to Tuscan pici or bringoli except that those are made without eggs. The name is also used for a kind of wholewheat spaghetti typical to the town of Bassano del Grappa in the north of the Veneto and so these are also sometimes used. Normal spaghetti would work well if it’s all that you can find.

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VENETO

This article is about the Veneto.

Gondolier

A gondolier doing what gondoliers do.

 

It’s been four months since I wrote my article about my return to my poor neglected Venice, and I’m happy to report that since then I’ve been a regular visitor. And it’s been really interesting to see the way in which the mood of the city changes with the seasons as the light moves from watery winter to sandy-coloured spring. This weekend was noticeably warmer than my last visit, back in February, and some intrepid tourists had even begun stripping down to t-shirts, even though my Italian blood was more comfortable with a t-shirt, shirt, pullover, and jacket!

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