Italy is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide variety of dishes to tantalise your taste buds. Still, when many think of Italian cuisine, they think of spaghetti Bolognese, margherita pizza and not much else – but this country has far more to offer, especially if you venture to Venice.
Each region boasts a distinct style and signature flavours. As a city on the water, Venice prides itself on its seafood. Read on for some of the best meals you can try while exploring the floating city.
Risotto al Nero di Seppia
Our culinary tour begins with a Venetian twist on a familiar favourite. Risotto comes in many shapes and sizes, of course, but this one’s dark black colour makes it stand out.
Get past its appearance and you’re in for a treat. The dark tint comes from squid ink, which is also used to braise it, giving it a distinct fishy flavour. Tomato, onion and wine round out the list of ingredients in this balanced, unique starter.
Did You Know?
Although rice is often thought of as an Asian food, Veneto’s wetlands make the region perfect for growing it, and it’s been used as a staple there for centuries.
Bigoli in Salsa
This dish offers another variation on an Italian classic. It might look like a standard spaghetti-with-sauce, but it’s the little distinctions that really make it stand out. Firstly, the pasta is not spaghetti but bigoli – long, thicker strands made from whole wheat. Secondly, you won’t find any Bolognese here. The sauce (which is really more of a salsa) is made with salty fish, usually sardines or anchovies which give it a distinct kick.
Top Tip: Immerse yourself further in the culture by using the local dialect and asking for ‘bigoi’ (bigoli).
It’s bad enough to enjoy good food without an accompanying wine but to do so in Italy is downright disgraceful. Most waiters will be happy to advise you on a pairing, and the following tips should steer you right when it comes to Venetian vino:
- Begin with Prosecco. It may be widely available, but some of the very best still comes from this region.
- Don’t feel the need to stick to one colour: Veneto’s variety of microclimates makes it perfect for both red and white.
- Go local. Many dishes are developed with wine from a particular region in mind – be as specific as possible for the best results.
Of course, these recommendations barely scratch the surface of all the great food Venice has to offer – book a holiday now to explore it for yourself.