What’s the most intimate way to discover Venice’s food culture? “Spend the day with one of the city’s top chefs for a hands-on cooking adventure that’ll take you from market to kitchen to dining room,” recommends Andrew Sessa at the New York Post. Along the way, he says, “you’ll meet with the farmers and fisherman who feed the city, learn to prepare Venetian dishes the way the experts do, and then have the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labor.” Here are Sessa’s three Venetian foodie learning experiences:
Gritti Epicurean School: Opened in 2013, as part of the $55 million renovation and restoration of The Gritti Palace, which has had a cooking school since the 1970s.
Al Covo: Venetian chef Cesare Benelli takes you into the kitchens of al Covo, his Slow Food-affiliated, 30-year-old eatery, which today is a local institution.
Enrico Rocca: The flamboyant Rocca runs her cooking school in her loft-like residence, once a laundry for the centuries-old palazzo in which she grew up.
If you really want to understand Venetian culinary culture, writes Hannah Frances at Suitcase magazine, there’s no better short cut than taking a cookery course with Enrica Rocca. “An aristocratic Venetian born and raised, Enrica runs one of the best cookery schools in the world from her grandiose loft apartment in the heart of Dorsoduro,” says Frances. Or splash out on the Stirred cookery school at Villa Casagrande, a “beautifully restored” 16th-century building in Cison di Valmarino, an elegant town an hour north of Venice, recommends Sophie Butler at The Telegraph. It creates “a house-party atmosphere where guests can relax and feel at home while learning new skills,” drawing on “delicious local produce” and using techniques and recipes that “have a distinct character.” Not only are you shown new skills and techniques that you can use at home, she writes, “but you learn how to assess, appreciate and source the individual ingredients you are using -- the oil, the cheese, the wine and the vegetables, the meat and the fish.” Or suss out a range of other cooking school options at Select Italy.
There’s a rich source of food and cooking information about Venice. Once back home, you can keep up with Venetian recipes and food news with bloggers and cooks Skye McAlpine at From My Dining Table, Nicoletta Fornaro at Naturally Epicurean, and Valeria Necchio at Life, Love, Food. Or get your hands on one of these fine Venetian cookery and food culture books:
Venice & Food by Sally Spector
Francesco’s Kitchen by Francesco da Mosta
Venice Cult Recipes by Laura Zavan
Polpo by Russell Norman
Veneto by Valeria Necchio
Sweet Venice by Alessandra Dammone
Venice: Recipes Lost & Found by Katie Caldesi
Sign up for Guidebook's weekly collection of fresh stories and useful news about Venice for travelers. It’s free.