The band is playing, the seagull is watching……it must be market day in Venice!
In May we spent a month in Italy, and I’ve finally sorted most of the photos ready for a few posts on Italian gardens, and some markets.
Paul and I are interested in growing food, and we enjoy seeing food at local markets when we are travelling.
The Rialto markets of Venice (a fish market and a produce market) were built long before the Rialto Bridge was in place.
These Markets keep up the tradition of all good markets; that food is much better grown locally, and eaten fresh and in season.
The fruit and vegetables are carefully displayed and clearly marked, a perfect opportunity to learn the names of vegetables in Italian, at the same time as buying the produce!
Much of the fresh food is grown on the island of Sant’Erasmo…look at the amazing white Bassano asparagus.
The purple Sant ‘Erasmo artichokes are very popular too.
Our guide, Francesca, explains that only the white inner part of this artichoke is used for cooking.
This happy market worker is cutting the artichokes up, and putting the white part into water, for later sales.
There are not many Venetians still living in Venice itself, and so locals all seem to know each other. In the Italian way, there is plenty of talk and laughter and good humour. Francesca has lived in Venice most of her life and considers herself very lucky. As she says, she can walk everywhere and never has a traffic jam going to work! (she says she knows how to dodge the crowds)
The Piscaria (fish market) was re-built in 1907, and we had heard that sustainable fishing is an old tradition in Venice. The marble plaques show regulations set centuries ago for minimum allowed size for lagoon fish.
The fish is glistening with sea water it is so fresh..
This was our first food tour in Italy, and Francesca guided us towards a tiny bar, full of delicious cicheti (small snacks like mini Panini), and of course, a glass of Prosecco.
I had some small artichoke balls, seen on the top of the counter, and they were delicious!
At our next stop we were offered Panini with some traditional serving of Baccala ( a dried salted cod mixture) and a variety of meats, artichoke, olives, anchovy, chilli, mixed vegetables, and beans.
The shop window had an intriguing array of herbs and spices, all artistically arranged on the plates.
We went to a restaurant for lunch and had black pasta made with the ink from squid.
It is testimony to the lovely food and good company on the tour, that I was too busy eating and talking to take photos of this!
The charm of Venice is not just the water and canals, but the small tempting restaurants, often tucked down alleyways, away from the crowds.
One thing we learnt quickly in Italy, Italians love to eat, socialise, and celebrate life…
….salute to that!
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