What do we mean when we speak of «Venetian cuisine»? We all know the classic seafood recipes found on the menus of restaurants throughout the city. What visitors often ignore is that Venice in the times of the Venetian Republic was linked to a vast agricultural hinterland no less than it was linked to its possessions in the Mediterranean, in a perfect blend of East and West, land and sea. So, in addition to Eastern influences into his dishes (E.g. the raisins in the Sarde in saor, of undoubted Ottoman origin), in Venetian food there are many meat-based peasant dishes typical of the Venetian mainland. These are cheap foods, often residuals of butchery, served in the traditional bacari as cicheti (the finger food used to “dry off” the wine drunk at midmorning – who later became our aperitif). Some homogenisation made these dishes less common than once they were, but many bars and bacari continue in part to serve them. We will list three in particular, hoping to entice you to try them.
First of all we must remember the tasty museto kind of sausage made with pig’s snout. (As you know, WHO has practically banned all sausages, a decision elderly venetians in top shape greeted with a sarcastic grin…). Turning to beef, the nerveti (veal cartilage) prepared with onion and vinegar, evidently considered uncool and thus in danger of disappearing from the menus of the youngest – and that would be a real shame! For the same reason, the spleen (venetian: spiensa, made with oil, salt, pepper and lemon), maybe the cheapest meat dish ever, has virtually disappeared in town. Anyway, it’s not too late: you Venice Lovers and gourmets can help us to save these traditional recipe, asking for them!