Venissa: among vineyards in Venice!

28 04 2014

When thinking of vineyards, images of the hills usually pop up in your mind and the association with Venice adn its stone ground is unlikely.

Nevertheless, the Venetian islands are a fruitful environment for agriculture and in some of them this activity is still flourishing, like in the island of Sant’Erasmo, called the orchard of Venice, or Certosa.

In fact Venice, throughout the centuries, not only was a powerful maritime republic trading with the entire world but also a flowering garden with luxurious cultivation growing out of a microscopic, stingy, salt-laden area of land. Grape cultivation, in particular, dating back to the roman period, has always been conducted by the “Venetian farmers” who had to fight against the tides, salt water and buffeting wind. Historical documents talk also about vineyards  even in the area of Saint Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal.

Traces of Venice’s agricultural tradition can be found almost everywhere: in documents, in works of art, in place names, such as the islands of “San Francesco della Vigna” (Saint Francis of the Vineyards) and “Le Vignole”.  Some remains of the “walled vineyards” – vineyards enclosed among walls – can be found in different lagoon islands.

In the little  island of Mazzorbo, a few years ago one of these walled vineyard was restored and the growing of the local “Dorona” grapes was restarted. The Dorona, also known as the “Golden Grape”, is an ancient variety of Venice-native grape with yellow berries that was cultivated in the Venetian lagoon islands until 1400.
That’s part of the “Venissa” project and estate (see www.venissa.it). The estate includes the vineyard, a vegetable garden, a hostel and a top quality restaurant and the ensemble creates a real corner of peace and delight!

foto 3

Venissa restaurant & hostel

Venissa vineyards

Venissa vineyards

The restaurant cannot be defined cheap and the food portions are small compared to prices, but the quality is really high, the used ingredients are extremely fresh and their combination is really original. The result is a refined but simple cuisine, with strong aromas and lots of herbs, which pays particular attention to the products of the territory, some of which are grown in the estate. The service is also top-quality.

Venissa estate

Venissa estate

I had lunch there a couple of days ago, to celebrate my birthday, and, even if I was there with a girlfriend of mine, I found it very very romantic: eating among vineyards is really nice (and unusual for Venice) and the location is so quite and relaxing, even in the busiest and most turistic days.

In your tour there, do not miss to visit the near island of Burano, which is connected to Mazzorbo with a short bridge: it will enchant you with its colours!

Island of Burano

Island of Burano

Venissa Restaurant
Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 3
30170 Island of Mazzorbo
Venice
Ph. +39 041 5272281

Position****
Place****
Food****
Price****
Service****
(*min-****max)

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Visit my place at http://www.caamadi.it

 

 

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Bacaro Tour nr.2

23 03 2014

In my previous post titled “Bacaro Tour nr. 1“, I covered some of my favourites “bacari”, the places in Venice where you can have a wine of glass together with some “cicchetti”. As already explained, the “cicchetti” are the typical Venetian tapas, such as “polpette” (fried balls of meat/vegetable/tuna fish), crostini (small pieces of bread topped with stockfish cream or salami/cheese), “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in oil, vinegar, onion and raisins).

The first tour was mainly located in the Dorsoduro District, while this second tour is dedicated to the Rialto area, ending up at Cannaregio.

The side of Rialto bridge where the market is sited is full of bacari. At happy hour time you can find hundreds of people standing outside with a glass of wine on their hands. In this area, one of the most famous and hystorical (it was born in 1462) bacaro is “Cantina Do Mori“. Located in the homonymous street, it’s not easy to find but the research is worth it. Here you can experience a real bite of Venetian life, eating the most authentic Venetian finger food and choosing among a large variety of wines. The place style is 100% Venetian, with a long wooden counter and no tables where to sit. Lots of copper pots hanging from the ceiling make it truly characteristic.

Cantina Do Mori

Cantina Do Mori

Now cross the Rialto Bridge on the opposite side and walk straight until Campo San Bortolomio (you should see the statue of Goldoni in the middle of the square). From here, take the “Sotoportego della Bissa” covered passage and walk straight. Cross a bridge and then take the first left (a pharmacy is on the corner). Pass the bridge called “Ponte delle Paste”, walk a few steps and you will have in front of you the bacaro “Al Portego, another meeting point for young people at happy hour time. This is a very small place (there are some tables but they’re reserved for the restaurant customers), but the offered selection of cicchetti is quite wide, as well as the wine choice. The service may not be the friendliest, but the place deserves a try.

Al Portego

Al Portego

Now go right and left, cross the bridge at the back of Malibran theatre, go straight across Corte Seconda del Milion, Sotoportego del Milion and Corte Prima del Milion. At the San Grisostomo church (with pink walls), turn right, cross the brigde (Ponte dei Giocattoli) and turn right again. Walk 200 meters and you’ll find, on your right, a small but delightful bacaro: Mondo Divino. This is definitely one of my favourite bacari in Venice (that’s why I dedicated an entire post to it). It used to be a butcher until 40 years ago and so, on the outside walls, you can still see the old shop signs and decorations with bovine images. A huge variety of delicious cicchetti, the largest I’ve found in Venice, combined with the humour and kindness of the owners, Andrea and Sabina, makes the perfect mix for an unforgettable aperitive or meal.

Mondo Divino

Mondo Divino

Going back to the Ponte dei Giocattoli bridge, go right and follow the signs towards the train station (ferrovia). At the feet of the fourth bridge, on your right, there’s the bacaroVecia Carbonera“, which owes its name (that means old coal deposit) to the coal shop sited here in the past. An interesting stop in your bacaro tour.

Heading north trough the near Campo Santa Fosca, you’ll soon reach the Fondamenta della Misericordia, where you can find one of the most famous bacaro in Venice: Il Paradiso Perduto. The street where it is located is one of the most lively and frequented by Venetian residents and it’s rich in restaurants and wine bars with tables facing the characteristic canal. Il Paradiso Perduto is not my favourite place – a little too messy and crowded for me – but you cannot miss it. Along with a good glass of wine and a good cicchetto, her people can often enjoy some live music too.

Il Paradiso Perduto

Il Paradiso Perduto

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Visit my place at http://www.caamadi.it





Unusual but good: welcome Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava!

20 06 2013

When I started living in Venice, I was happy for many reasons. One of these was fish.

Yes, fish. The king of the menu in Venetian restaurants. Light and healthy. The king of the diets!

Well, after 2 years, I can say that I’m completely fed up with fish!

Yes, completely. Because Venice restaurants offer more or less the same menu: spaghetti with clams or “nero di seppia” (cuttlefish ink), “sarde in saor” (sardines cooked with onions and raisins), “fritto di pesce” (fried fish). There are only a few places where you can findsomething different and without fish! Sooner or later, one gets tired of this restricted variety, especially one comining from the mainland like me.

So, when they opened the “Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava” (“prosciutteria” means “ham store”) I couldn’t restrain my infinite joy! And the menu, based mainly on ham and meat, was not the only reason why.

The place itself  is unusual for Venice as well: no “old-fashioned” furniture and “home-like” atmosphere in small and dark rooms, but a huge open space with a modern and “fresh” style.

Prosciutteria Dok Dall'Ava - Outside

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava – Outside

My favourite feature of this restaurant is the large window which faces the church of San Luca. In the centre of Venice (you are not faraway from Saint Mark’s square), you will find any others like this.

When you reach the entrance you wonder how a place like this could have been created in Venice! It looks like an industrial loft right in the middle of a city stopped far even from pre-industrial age.

The specialty here is the delightful San Daniele ham so, as said before, the menu includes many dishes with ham (starters, salads and pasta) and other meat dishes. The quality of food is good, as well as the service.

Dok1

San daniele ham with melon, tomatoes and mozzarella

Dok2

Pasta with san Daniele ham

The price is quite fair, considering that you’re in the centre of Venice: it is one of the few places in the city where you can eat a pasta dissh that costs less than 10€!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava: Venice missed something like you!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava

San Marco 3989
Tel. 0039 041 29 60 764

Position****
Place****
Food***
Price***
Service***
(*min-****max)

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Are you in Rialto area and want to have lunch?

16 05 2013

If you are in the Rialto area, on the opposite side of Rialto market, and want to have luch, it’s not easy to avoid a rip-off (please keep away from the restaurants with pictures of dishes outside!).

Here’ s a small guide with our suggestions for lunch in places where you can sit down and have cicchetti (typical venetian tapas) or a quick lunch without spending a fortune.

Let’s start with my favourite: Osteria Al Portego. Out of the tourist mass flow, it’s not easy to find but it’s worth the effort.

To get here from Rialto, go to Campo San Bartolomio (at the feet of the bridge) and take “calle della Bissa”. Go straight, cross the bridge and then take the first left. Cross the bridge and go straight for a few meters and there you are!

It’s a very small place and courtesy is not their forte, but the variety and quality of cicchetti is high as well as the taste and freshness of food in the menu.

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

If you do not want to wait or fight for a place to sit, you’d rather go to “Osteria Alla Botte“. This a historical restaurant in Venice which moved to a new location some time ago. From Campo San Bortolomio, take the street at the corner of the Disney store (calle dei Stagneri) and then turn the first right. Walk a few steps on and you’ll find it on your left.

As said, the new location offers a lot of place to sit, considering the Venetian standards. The selection of cicchetti is good and so are the dishes of their menu, which includes typical Venetian specialities.

If you want to walk a little bit more, go along the shore on the Grand Canal (Riva del Fero e del Carbon). When you will be no more able to walk along the Canal, take the street on your left (Calle Cavalli). Soon, on your right, you’ll see the awning of the “Enoteca Al Volto“.

AlVolto2

Enoteca Al Volto

Here you can enjoy a lot of tasty cicchetti (try the delicious stuffed squids) or an authentic Venetian meal. Ask the the Venetian owner to tell you some curiosities about Venice: you’ll taste a real bite of the city!

If you feel like walking still a little bit further, you can reach the “Osteria da Alberto“. This is near the hospital of Venice and here you can find a lot of locals eating or having a glass of wine.

Osteria Da Alberto

Osteria Da Alberto

The recipe is always the same: cicchetti, good wine, Venetian dishes, some funny words in Venetian dialect and a smile!





Bacaro Tour nr.1

30 04 2013

Sooner or later, in Venice it’s almost inevitable making a “bacaro tour”, that means walking around the city and stopping at the typical “bacari” (sort of wine-bars) to have a glass of wine and some “cicchetti”. The “cicchetti” are the typical Venetian tapas and finger-food, such as “polpette” (fried balls of meat/vegetable/tuna fish), crostini (small pieces of bread topped with stockfish cream or salami/cheese), “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in oil, vinegar, onion and raisins).

A few days ago, some friends of mine came to visit me in Venice and we decided to make a “bacaro tour” in my favourite places to celebrate our birthdays, which all happen in April.

We weren’t able to reach all the places I like, so I’m going to write another post on the delicious “bacari” I will not mention in this review (by the way, I already wrote some posts exclusively dedicated to the bacari I love, like “Express cicchetti at MaiTardi Enobar” or “Not only cicchetti at Mondo DiVino“: read them!).

We started the tour from Campo Santa Margherita, which is the square where all university students gather to have an aperitif before dinner. The square is full of bars and “bacari”, but the best place for “cicchetti” is Bocon DiVino (a play on words which means both “a bite of wine” and “divine bite”). This place offers a wide variety of “cicchetti” in a very warm location with bricks on the wall and wooden barrels  used as tables.

We then moved to “Osteria Ai Pugni”, a real “institution” in Venice (if you come here at around 7.30 pm, you’ll hardly be able to walk among the mass of people crowded outside). Do not dare to ask for a glass of water or a non-alchoolic drink here! The Venetian staff will lanswer you back with the most “colorful” Venetian language!

Osteria Ai Pugni

Osteria Ai Pugni

Walking along the “Zattere” (the sunny walk along the Giudecca Canal, on the southern part of Venice, facing the Giudecca island), we then arrived at “Al Squero“, a small cosy “bacaro” sited just in front of the “Squero di San Trovaso”, the most famous “squero” inVenice (so it’s called the place where they build and repair the gondolas). Here the owner is a real expert of food and wine (ask him to explain in details what he’s serving to you) and offers an unusual selection of “cicchetti”  and wine labels. The speciality are the “crostini” (see above), which have very particular tastes (try the one with salty cheese and figs jam, you’ll fall in love with it!).

Osteria Al Squero

Osteria Al Squero

After a long walk, we reached the Rialto area, where the most famous “bacari” are sited. We chose one place which is quite isolated from the most frequented paths: Enoteca Al Volto. A large variety of “cicchetti” + an authentic Venetian owner entertaining the customers is the recipe of the success of this place. We were impressed by the delicious stuffed squids and by the curiosities about Venice the owner told us. Here you can also have a typical Venetian meal.

Enoteca Al Volto

Enoteca Al Volto





From Naples with love: also in Venice the pizza of RossoPomodoro

3 10 2012

It was 1997 when a group of friends decided to open a pizza restaurant in the city where the pizza was born: Naples. The purpose was to offer the people the traditional and genuine tastes in a cheerful place with a particular attention to the quality of used ingredients. The result was a massive success that was exported all over the world under the name of RossoPomodoro (Red Tomato).

The RossoPomodoro stores are now more than 120, but the mission is always the same: to preserve the Naples culinary tradition and the product quality and freshness. Since 2007, at least 20% of the dishes are prepared with ingredients which are protected by Slow Food Association with the aim of safeguarding rare products and traditional cooking techniques (the Association is committed to protecting traditional and sustainable quality foods, defending the biodiversity of cultivated and wild varieties as well cultivation and processing methods).

The pizza at RossoPomodoro is cooked inside a craftmade wood oven made of 340 bricks which provides the right humidity level for having the typical high and soft crust of the pizza. The ingredients are selected and come from few small producers whose handmade production is bought almost entirely by RossoPomodoro (the buffalo mozzarella, the extra-virgin olive oil, the bronze-drawn pasta, the traditional Neapolitan flour, the sauce of tomatoes coming from agro-nocerino-sarnese area).

In Venice, RossoPomodoro restaurant is placed very close to Saint Mark’s square. The place is quite big and of course reflects the style of the restaurant chain: colorful, cheerful, genuine and Italian! The service is quick and nice and the food is really good, including not only pizza, but also pasta, salads and other typical Napolitan dishes.

Rosso Pomodoro in Venice – outside

Inside the restaurant you can find also 2 bars whare you can have breakfast or a light lunch with sandwiches and other fast food and also a small shop where you can buy Neapolitan specialities.

Prices are quite fair considering the central location.

Rosso Pomodoro in Venice – inside

RossoPomodoro Venezia
San Marco 404-408, Calle Larga San Marco
Venezia
Tel. +39 041 2834989

Position****
Place****
Food***
Price***
Service***
(*min-****max)

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Visit my place at www.caamadi.it





Refresh your summer with a “granita” at Il Doge

25 08 2012

Summer of 2012 will be remembered as one of the hottest in the last 100 years. This year, high temperatures matched with high umidity made all Italy, and Venice,  a real oven!

While in Rome tourists find a bit of relief plunging in one of the numerous fountains, in Venice there are not many ways to refresh yourself. Apart from entering the big stores, air-conditioned at freezing levels (god save the environment!), one can enjoy some refreshment from the hot wave  eating a good ice-cream or granita (a kind of sherbet).

Il Doge ice-cream corner

I’ve already talked about my favourite ice-cream in Venice (see the post “Icecream? Yes, but with a green soul“), and my heart is totally devoted to Grom icecream, but my favourite granita in Venice is at Il Doge.

The granita you eat here is not like the hundreds you can find all over the city, made of ice and industrial fruit juice, but it is made with fresh fruit and it is much more similar to the renowned Sicilian granita: a real refreshing and sweet bite of fruit!

The icecream is also good here, their specialty is the Crema del Doge, a rich mixture of eggs, cream and bits of oranges.

So, what are you waiting for? Just choose your flavour and sit on one of the benches of Campo Santa Margherita, where a lot of local young people and students gather to talk, drink and also play music.

Gelateria Il Doge
Dorsoduro 3058, Campo Santa Margherita
Venezia

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