Venice isn't really known for wonderful food, and apparently the rest of Italy thinks it the country cousin on the gourmet front but either we hit lucky or it's more stereotype than truth because everything we had was wonderful.
(four cheese pizza for lunch with a slice of brie on top)
Every evening we headed down to the seafront at Zattere and tried out the restaurants there. I had turbot and aubergine, spaghetti and clams, fusilli with scallops and courgette, and a gorgeous aubergine pizza. H found a wonderful steak which I think he had at least twice, and a series of pizzas and Kitty tried mouthfuls of our meals (minus the seafood) and laid waste to a bowl of veggie and the bread basket each night.
And one night we sat next to an American couple who were very taken by Kitty (who was in full-on flirt and charm mode), and while we were talking to them their pudding arrived, and well, it was inevitable that we would follow suit:
Creme Brulee, made with a slightly lemony custard that was one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten.
The source of all the lovely seafood became clear when Kitty and I explored the Rialto markets one morning.
Coming from the Rialto bridge you meet the fruit and veg stalls first; heaving with ripe fruit and smelling sweet and clear.
I think these were described as Sicilian tomatoes. Whatever they were we bought a kilo (after my request for one was slightly misunderstood) and they were fantastic, sweet and juicy and perfect for Kitty who loves her tomatoes.
From the fruit market you come around the corner to two tall stone buildings with giant canvas awnings over the arches.
And inside is deep sea treasure
It was amazing, and huge. If we ever go to Venice again I want to rent an apartment so that I can cook all sorts of wonderful fish every night. Although given that I can identify only about half of what was there, perhaps it is better to let the restaurants do it.
All our wandering fully justified some extensive sampling of gellato. Our favourite came from a shop called Grund (no idea what it means) which did the best pink grapefruit sorbet, although a combination of tutti fruiti and pistachio from another shop on the seafront ran a close second.
Pistachio seemed to be one of my food of the trip. Apart from the ice-cream, on our first morning out we bought a pan pistacchio,
which while deliciously almondy and chocolate chippy
perhaps spent a little too much time communing with the green food colouring, and if pistachios came near the mixture they went through on stilts.
And then we found what came to be my regular cake shop, with giant meringues in the window (seriously they're the size of a ball of sock yarn)
These little sweets only just lasted long enough to be photographed, we have a ricotta custard slice on the left and a chocolate dipped fruit tart on the right.
One our final trip they hadn't put the little signs out saying what each cake was so I picked the most adventurous looking.
This was the nicer of the two, chocolate, sponge soaked in some sort of booze and cream. Perfect for eating on the Vaperetto in pouring rain.
And last but not least, my last cake in Venice, essentially a coconut macaroon on top of a chocolate tart. Bizarre but quite nice.