Perhaps you’re about to book a Mediterranean cruise that lists Venice as one of your port of calls. Once there, it’ll be very difficult not to sample the local cuisine. After all, you’ll be in Italy; a country lauded by foodies as one of their favorite places to eat. Venetian delicacies though aren’t quite what you’d consider typical Italian offerings. Most of them incorporate seafood in its ingredients – due to its proximity to the sea – and are generally lighter in fare. Sample at least one of these five must try Venetian food during your day excursion and make the most of your cultural experiences while visiting Venice.
Must Try Venetian Food
Sarde en saor
Tangy with a hint of sweetness – those are the dominant flavors of sarde en saor. The literal translation, “sardines immersed in flavor,” is a definite must try Venetian food. This traditional antipasto has a consumption history going back to the Middle Ages. Its primary ingredient is fried sardine fillets or anchovies and a marinade made with vinegar, cooked onions until soft and aromatic, raisins and pine nuts. The balancing flavors of sweet and sour makes it the perfect snack especially with freshly baked bread.
If you’re craving for something more on the savory end, order a Baccala mantecato instead. This antipasto is made with dried cod fish, soaked until softened, and then blended with olive oil, garlic, and parsley until it reaches the consistency of a mousse. This staple dish, often served with a side of polenta, is a definite must try Venetian food.
Risi e bisi
Simple, yet delicious, risi e bisi is a typical Venetian-style rice dish. More common in spring, when peas are in season, it’s made with Vialone Nano rice, pancetta, onion, butter, parsley. Just like sarde in saor, Venetians have been eating risi e bisi since the 16th century. The dish also has a regal history. This rice and peas meal was served at the Ducal Palace to celebrate St. Mark’s Day, the city’s patron saint.
Crustacean dishes are also very common and beloved in Venice. The most popular of them all is Mołéche, the Venetian version of soft shell crabs. Available primarily in spring, these small crabs are best served fried as an appetizer or as a topper for salads.
Bigoli in salsa
Of course, it’s impossible not to eat at least one pasta dish while visiting Italy. In Venice, locals eat bigoli in salsa. Bigoli or bigoi, are strands of long and thick whole-wheat pasta. It comes with a savory sauce made with salt-cured fish, fennel seeds, and onions. It used to be a dish reserved for special occasions, but its popularity led many restaurants to now serve it year-round.
Bonus: Fritelle alla Veneziane
This national dessert of the Veneto province is also a must try Venetian food. Fritelle alla Veneziane are essentially bite-sized doughnuts made with flour, eggs, sugar, lemon, and raisins. Variations can include doughnuts filled with cream or fruit preserves.
Venice has a long, celebrated and tasty culinary history that dates back centuries. While on your excursion to the city from your Mediterranean cruise, make sure to sample at least one of these must try Venetian food.