S Martin's Cake

  The Saint Martin Celebration is an old traditional popular celebration in the North East of Italy that is rooted into the territory and has very old traditions

S. Martin xe 'ndà in sofita a trovar ea nonna Rita nona Rita no ghe gera S.Martin col cùeo par tera E col nostro sachetìn cari signori xe S.Martin

San Martin's short pastry cake

This short pastry cake is made in Venice to celebrate the feast day of Saint Martin, on 11th November every year, and it is a favourite with Venetian children who receive one from their grandparents and parents. The cake is in the shape of Saint Martin on horseback with his sword and, if you come to Venice in that period, you will see it in confectioners’ windows, decorated with sugar icing or coated with plain or milk chocolate and decorated with chocolate drops and candies

 

Oven-proof paper mould Download it here Prepare the paper mould used to cut out the cake. Cut a sheet of oven-proof paper measuring about 30x40 cm. Draw the shape of Saint Martin on horseback with his sword on the paper, cut it out and set it aside.

Alternatively, in Venice, during the period of the feast day, you can buy the cake mould in shops specialised in household goods.

Ingredients for a “Saint Martin” of 20x30 cm

For the short pastry: 250 gr flour 150 gr butter 100 gr sugar 1 egg yolk + 1 whole egg ½ sachet vanillin or vanilla flavouring

For the icing and decoration: 250 – 300 gr icing sugar 1 egg white 5 drops lemon juice 100 gr mixed sweets: chocolate Smarties, sugar sweets, candies, chocolate drops Cooking time: 15/20 minutes at 180°C

Preparation Light the oven. Prepare the pastry base by putting into a bowl, in this order, the flour, the sugar, the softened butter cut into small pieces, the yolk and the whole egg. Keep the extra egg white to one side in a bowl. Start mixing the ingredients by hand, crushing together the eggs, butter and sugar. Once they are fairly well mixed, add the flour and vanilla flavouring. Knead the mixture with your fingertips until it is homogeneous as regards both consistency and colour, working into a ball. Sprinkle some flour on a sheet of oven-proof paper and roll out the pastry into a rectangular sheep measuring about 30x40 cm and cut the outline of the cake. If you like, you can use the trimmings to make a round biscuit. Put the cake in the oven and bake till golden (it will take about 15/20 minutes). When the short pastry is ready, leave it to cool and start to prepare the icing. Put the egg white in a bowl and add the icing sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the first teaspoonful has been absorbed, add the second and so on, until you have added half the sugar. At this point squeeze 5 drops of lemon juice into the icing and keep stirring and adding the icing sugar as before. At the end the mixture will be quite thick and you will have to stir it energetically for a minute until it is nice and shiny. Pour the icing into a bag with a medium star-shaped nozzle and start decorating the biscuit. Scatter the biscuit as desired with chocolate drops, sweets or candies. When you have finished decorating it, let the icing “dry” for about 12 hours at room temperature.

An extra idea If you want, you can cover Saint Martin with melted chocolate or colour the icing with food colourings, choose the sweets for decorating it with your children, or change the shape of the cake, for example making biscuits with a hole at the top that you can decorate and hang on the Christmas tree.

Baccalà Mantecato Recipe

  baccalà mantecato is one of the signature dishes of Venetian cuisine and a staple of those wonderful hidden-away Venetian bacari, or wine bars.

The name of the dish comes from the verb mantecare, which is a culinary term meaning to 'beat' or 'whip' or simply to 'stir vigorously' so as to create a creamy consistency. It is the same word used to describe the final stage of making a risotto, when you stir the rice vigorously to incorporate grated cheese and butter, to creating that luscious creamy consistency that we all know and love. The technique serves the same purpose here, but in a wholly different context.

Baccalà Mantecato 

250gr salt cod, rehydrated. I think this involves a lot of soaking and changing of water over several days – we bought ours already soaked. A pinch of salt – the salt cod once soaked isn’t super salty 1 fat clove of garlic A handful of parsley 2 tbsp milk A squeeze of lemon juice

Oil, for emulsifying (we used vegetable as that’s what we had to hand; groundnut would also work but don’t, whatever you do, use extra virgin olive oil as it will overwhelm the cod)

Simmer the cod in water for 5 minutes, then leave to cool. While warm, break into pieces as small as possible.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and parsley into a paste. Add the cod and mix vigorously. Roll back your sleeves and get pounding and smooshing as someone else dribbles the oil in, until you get a thick, smooth paste. It needs quite a bit of oil. Add just a squeeze of lemon juice, then loosen with the milk – add on tbsp at a time until it is incorporated – if you feel it’s necessary. Serve with toasted bread.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 13/20 – Eat seafood you've never seen before

Images from Venice  - Fotografie di Venezia...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi) The lagoon city has a long and glorious culinary tradition based on fresh seafood. A writhing, glistening variety of sea creatures swims from the stalls of the Rialto and Chioggia markets into local kitchens. Going with the flow of la cucina veneta requires a certain spirit of open minded experimentation. Not everybody has eaten granseola (spider crab) before, or garusoli (sea snails) or canoce (mantis shrimps), but Venice is definitely the place to try these marine curios.

Bigoli in Salsa

For this dish, the pasta is all important. Originally made with duck eggs and buckwheat flour (these days, wholewheat flour and chicken eggs), Why is the pasta so important? Every pasta in Italy is shaped to serve a purpose, and in this case the pasta has a spaghetti-like length Final Touches Are Put  To Boats And Costumes A...and shape, but with a coarse rather than smooth exterior. The texture of this pasta allows more sauce to ‘stick’ to the pasta, so the pasta is generally used when you have a pasta sauce with a gravy-like consistency. The following recipe come from Vini da Gigio ....but this is another story....

Ingredients (serves 2) 250g Bigoli pasta 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 8 anchovy fillets or Sarde 1 medium red onion, chopped finely 1 good bunch of Italian parsley, chopped finely Salt and pepper

Directions 1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta. Add a tablespoon of good salt. 2. In a large sauté pan over low-medium heat, add the olive oil, the anchovies and the onion. 3. Stir the mix, helping to break down the anchovies. This should take around 10 minutes. 4. When you have a thick gravy, the sauce is ready, so put your pasta on. 5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix through most of the parsley and serve. Add a little parsley on top to make it pretty. Season and add more olive oil if you wish and enjoy with a medium to full bodied white wine.

Vini Sfusi...Wines by the pump!

Where can I buy wine in Venice? It’s easy. You enter the store advertising Vini Sfusi with your bottles ( not always necessary!), peruse the selection, noting the alcohol and the types of grapes used, and then, if possible, taste what you think you might want to buy. After than you just hand your bottles over and the rest is done by the shopkeeper. Prices in Venice range from 1.20 to 2.50 Euros per liter. Here are a few of the shops which specialize in "vino sfuso", most of which I think are still active:

Nave de Oro: Cannaregio 1370, rio terà San Leonardo (041 719 695) recognizable by a barrel out front, usually with a model ship atop, also a good selection of reasonably priced wines selected by near by producers. They also have the following shops:

  • Nave de Oro: Castello 5786B, calle del Mondo Nuovo (041 523 3056);
  • Nave de Oro: Dorsoduro 3664, near campo Santa Margherita (041 522 2693)
  • Nave de Oro: via Lepanto 24D, Lido (041 276 0055)
  • Nave de Oro, Cannaregio 4657, rio Terrà dei SS. Apostoli, near the Giorgione Theatre

Enoteca in Fondamenta Ormesini on the corner of Calle del Forner Very nice place and good choice of wines all very nice. They have most of the time Raboso, Raboso frizzante and Prosecco Frizzante. In season they stock Fragolino

Vini Sfusi S Polo 59 Small shop under the arcades in front of the church of S Giacometto. Smallchoice of Vini Sfusi but great quality!

La Cantina  S Polo 970 (041 523 5042) My Local!!  A short walk from Rialto and Rialto Market in a side alley. Wide choice of Vini sfusi very good quality. They also sell some specialty foods oils, jams, biscuits

Al Canton del Vino: Castello 3156, Salizada San Francesco, Very good choice and lot of wines by the pump!

Enoteca Vino e...vini: Castello 3566 , Salizada del Pignater (041 521 0184, enoteca@vinoevini.it)

Fondamenta di Cannaregio (near the Guglie bridge)

Rio Terà di Cristo and Calle di Cristo (entrance on two opposite sides) also has a wide selection of bottled wines and speciality foods

P.S. the Nave de Oro is not really a "chain" as much as a sort of expansion which started out many years ago as two brothers with two shops, then a third, then one of the first ones got sold, then a cousin got into it, and then one of the brothers moved across town... ... ...

Bacari, Ombre e Cicchetti - Venice Osterie

If there is a tradition I got accustomed very quickly since relocating in Venice is the custom of the  "ombra" (a glass of wine)....and you cannot possibly have an ombra without some cicchetti...that are small snacks or side dishes. Please do not call them "tapas"! I usually end my Venice Photo Walks with my clients in one...or two of them ;-) VENICE, ITALY - JUNE 17:  Two Venetians women enjoy a drink with "cicchetti" in front of a traditional bacaro on June 17, 2011 in Venice, Italy. The bacari are the local down to earth version of wine bars, they serve  "cicheti" a sort of Tapas, traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals. ... (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Few photos form Bacari around Venice are here

The bacari, open just for lunch and dinner, are the local down to earth version of wine bars which serve 'ciccheti, a kind of snack  traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals.

May be would be a nice idea to write in the comments a list of YOUR  favourite Bacaro!

I am working on a list of Restaurants in Venice and in the Lagoon....and is here

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Cantina Azienda Agricola or Da Roberto in Rio Tera San Leonardo in Cannaregio. Very good wines and Excellent cicheti all using top products

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices ££ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Excellent

Al Volto Calle Cavalli 4081 San Marco Venezia Having  moved not even “a ponte e una calle” from them, decided to test this Bacaro Choice is really good as is the quality. The Risotto was out of this world!

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices ££+ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Excellent

Do Spade Just behind Rialto Market Sestiere San Polo 860, 30125 Venice, Italy Another bàcaro dating back to the 15th century, Do Spade offers a great selection of traditional Venetian cicchetti in a cozy if not somewhat dark atmosphere. It is a busy little place and it is full of locals. It’s on a little calle between the Rialto Bridge and Calle dei Bottieri

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money  Very Good

Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova. Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912. One of the most famous bàcari in Venice, this one’s both away from the city’s crowds and on the cheap (€1) end of things, ideal if you’re on a budget. Don’t miss the polpette, meatballs made of pork.

My review Wine 8/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 6/10 Value for Money Brilliant

Osteria Al Portego. Calle della Malvasia, Venice, Italy The place is tuck away in a quiet area near S Lio and the Ponte delle Paste. It is owned by a group of young guys. Cicchetti are nice and really fresh, wine is good and staff is very courteous. My only remark is that the prices are on the expensive side if you seat at a table, May just be me...I am used to  drink on the other side of Rialto!

My review Wine 8/10 Food 810 Prices ££ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Ok (I suppose)

Do Mori. Sestiere San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori. Myth has it that Casanova frequented this bàcaro, also near the Rialto Bridge. Even if he didn’t, it’s still thought to be the oldest in Venice, dating back to 1462. Ask for the “francobollo” (postage stamp)—a tiny sandwich with various fillings, it’s the house specialty.

My review Wine 7/10 Food 7/10 Prices £+ (Polpette are quite expensive) Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money  Good

Cantinone–già Schiavi. Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-run bàcaro, located across from a gondola workshop, boasts raw fish, meats, more than 30 wines available by the glass, and much more. Crowded with Venetians in the evening!

Al Ponte. Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina. One of the cheapest bàcari—and, therefore, places to eat—in all of Venice, Al Ponte has pasta and fish plates and a welcoming atmosphere.

Banco Giro. Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122. A Grand Canal view, a variety of cheeses, fish, and wine, and a lively atmosphere. What’s not to like?

All’Arco. Calle Arco, San Polo 436. Another one of Venice’s most-loved spots, All’Arco, near the Ponte Rialto, is packed at lunchtime with shoppers from the local fish market. Everything from calamari to liver to shrimp is on offer, and if it’s available, don’t miss the hot sandwich of boiled beef sausage and mustard.

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Excellent

Osteria La Ciurma Calle Galeazza, Venice,  this is a nice little wine bar on a quiet alleyway a short distance from the Rialto Mercato vaporetto stop. Wines are very drinkable and mostly 2 Euros per glass; some less, some a little more. Food offerings are tasty morsals from 1.30 Euros. A great place for a drink among neighborhood people.

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Very Good

Osteria Ai Osti Sestiere Cannaregio, 3849 Strada Nuova, Venice, A really welcoming ( I think family run) tiny restaurant with no frills but full of real Venetian character. Great traditional food and a good chance to meet the locals

My review Wine 7/10 Food 7/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money Very Good

Diavolo e Acquasanta San Polo 561b, Venice, Italy, Located a few steps away from the more famous restaurant "alla Madonna", this tiny Osteria is geared toward locals rather than tourists. Do not expect upscale atmosphere, or welcoming nice english-speaking waiters. But if you go beyond the unpretentious appearance and the rough manners, you'll find some genuine home-style food, priced below the Venetian average.

My review Wine 8/10 Food 8/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Very Good

Al Vecio Penasa (not even worth my proper review!)

If they think you are a tourist...they will try to hit you nicely. Been twice and will never get there again. I am Italian but from a different area so the accent is different... both times they charged me the wrong amount. First time was 2 Euros out of 5 E!!!  Today they asked me if I wanted a Tramezzino and Wine at the table and I said NO  still they tried to charge me the price of table service. NOT nice at all  Tramezzini can be nice but do not want to be taken for a ride!