Our trip is winding down. We leave Canazei in Trentino with one last taste of that incredible speck for our breakfast. Up over the mountain pass, down through the Dolomites, the last row of Alps and onto the plains and finally to the city on the sea – Venice. It is hard not to be in awe by Venice. Beautiful bridges, colorful architecture influenced by its long history of extensive trade the Byzantines, Muslims, Romans and the rest civilized world. An ancient city with more history than we could possibly hope to even scratch the surface of in one short day. So we decide – why stray too far from our mission – the culinary exploration of Northeastern Italy. After our bus (boat) ride into the city, we begin to wander aimlessly, taking in the sights and looking for interesting foods and a restaurant where we can have our last dinner.
Coming from an incredible sandwich city like Philadelphia, we sometimes take for granted how good we have it. Travelling across the US and abroad can really make you appreciate the quality of our breads and meats as well as the great variety. In fact, my brother and I have a running argument of Philly sandwiches vs. Roman – but that is the subject of another blog. Venice is also a formidable sandwich city. I was amazed at the variety of selections you could find all over the city. Wraps – rolls – breads with anything you could think of on them. Prosciutto & artichokes, cheese & mushrooms, grilled vegetables, grilled breads, flat breads, long rolls, various spreads – all attractively displayed in a way that made we want to try each of them. A difficult decision, but I try a prosciutto and artichoke – it is as good as it looks (I am starting to worry about my Philly vs Rome dispute).
For dinner we want to try a true Venetian style restaurant. Being right on the Adriatic, Venice has a bountiful selection of seafood on display around the city. The decision is tough because there are just so many cool looking places. We wander down alleyways in search of just the right spot.
We finally find a small restaurant that looked perfect. It is a small place in a dimly lit alleyway. It looks like it could have been there for the last 100 years. The waiter/owner recommended the menu and the wine. A very good meal. The squid entrée with squid ink may have possibly been the least appetizing looking dish I have ever ordered – however the taste told another story.
The meal ended with a classic Venetian dessert of profiteroles, which are chocolate covered crème balls. After dinner we finished off the evening with a last glass of cold glass of Prosecco for the hot night. And just like that…our impromptu, last minute, unplanned trip to Italy came to an end. A great culinary experience. A great historical exploration of WWI battlefields of my grandfather. Also the time spent with my son, brother, niece, and nephew has given us a bond we will talk about for a lifetime. We were able to delve deep into our culinary heritage and bring home a lot of inspiration to try all these dishes again. The pursuit of this perfecting these dishes may one day be the motivation to bring us back.
One final thank you to my brother Angelo for the planning and the passion he put into making this trip a memorable experience.