Author: Alice

15 December

There are so many things to tell you about our life here in Venice. The things we’ve done, the things we do, the thing’s we’re planning. The wonderful food we’ve eaten, and the gentle rhythms of Venetian life. I could begin by telling you about how on a Friday we sometimes buy a bottle of red wine and stow away plastic cups in my bag, then head out into the night, refilling the cups in the darkness of an empty calle. Then about the pizza (tuna and onion, always) that we eat in the silent Campo Bandiera e Moro, before walking along the belly of the fish towards the gilded midnight light of St Mark’s Square. And a few weeks ago I meant to write about the Festa della Salute – a celebration of the end of a 17th century plague, that today is marked with a pilgrimage to the Salute church and a steaming bowl of castradina. On that bright Tuesday in November, I crossed the purpose-made pontoon to the basilica, lit a candle, said Read More

Sarde in Saor

Sarde in Saor is a hard dish to sell. Made, as it is, of marinated sardines, vinegar, onions and sultanas – all served cold alongside polenta. If there was a marmite of the fish dish world, this would be it. It’s the type of food made for eating in a dark Venetian restaurant, mist rising from the canal, the sky a heavy grey. Its ingredients sweet, acidic, unapologetic; brought together out of necessity. But I love it. Sarde in saor first made its appearance when I worked as an au pair in Venice. The mother explained how it was cooked, emphasising the impossibly long cooking of the onions. And it really is long and slow – by the end you want onions that are soft and and slick with oil and vinegar, melting into the pan. In Venetian, ‘saor’ means ‘flavour’, but these vinegary onions do more than that. They also preserve the fish, making this the kind of dish that is cooked days in advance of eating: perfect if you find yourself with a Read More

al merca rialto

Hidden Venice with The Roman Guy

In Venice, it’s never too early for an aperitivo. Especially at the weekend, when spritz o’clock chimes at around 10am, and the campi fill with locals drinking and putting the world to rights. So it was without any qualms that Dom and I knocked back a prosecco at 11am last Saturday, in a cichetteria tucked away just off Rialto. We were on the first stop of the Hidden Venice Food Tour from The Roman Guy – a tour company that specialises in taking visitors off the beaten track, and feeding them pretty well while they’re at it. And in Venice, that’s an honourable challenge. You see, in a city with the highest ratio of restaurants to people in Italy, it can be tricky to sort the wheat from the chaff. Faced with so much choice, skipping the gloomy bacaro in favour of a well-lit restaurant a few steps from St Mark’s Square is a tempting option. But of course, it’s almost always the wrong one. Instead, just as our tour guide Rossella advised us, follow Read More