Ombre & Cicchetti – Venetian lifestyle
June 27th, 2019 | starter
In the past, winemakers in Venice sold their wine on St. Mark’s Square, rolling their wine barrels in the shadow of the Campanile. Hence the name “Ombra”, because Ombra means shadow. From eleven o’clock in the morning almost every Venetian drinks his first glass, his ombra. What is by no means lacking are the famous Venetian Cicchetti. These are the most sophisticated little appetizers you can think of.
Venice keeps captivating us again and again. We are always fascinated by this beautiful lagoon city with its morbid charm. Moving away from the tourist crowds – and that’s easy – you will discover the most beautiful palazzi, squares, bácari and trattorias. There is nothing more beautiful than a small “Giro de Ombre” with Venetian scenery.
About 50,000 of these glasses of about 0.1 liter of content are said to be served daily in Venice. A considerable amount, considering that the population of Venice today is less than 60,000. In the course of the day, one or two glasses are added – hence the “Giro de Ombre“, the “Ombre Tour”. A few Cicchetti offer a good – and delicious – basis.
At least as popular as the glass of wine to the small delicious bites is an Aperol Sprizz. In Venice, this is not poured with Prosecco, but with white wine and mineral water.
Cicchetti – admittedly, initially I was a little skeptical. “What’s it all about these “sandwiches” Venetian style”, went through my mind… before I tried them.
A Giro de Ombre is a piece of Venetian lifestyle that you cannot escape.
The Venetian Bácari (wine bars) have a long tradition. They are quaint bars, some tiny, and you can eat and drink while standing in front of the bar, some with tables and chairs. One thing unites them all: you order at the counter, because there the seductive little delicacies are displayed. Of course, each bar has its own secret recipes. Especially the omnipresent Baccalà Mantecato (the finest stockfish cream) is passed down from generation to generation.
There are endless varieties of Cicchetti: roasted or unroasted bread slices or polenta slices serve as a base. They are covered with fish, seafood, tomatoes, liver, bacon, mushrooms, blue cheese creams, ricotta. Cicchetti may as well be small fried meatballs in sauce, deep-fried seafood or crab meatballs, raw shrimp, halved cooked eggs with anchovies or a thick, thick slice of mortadella.
Since we first met and loved Venice we often enjoy two or three Crostini as an aperitif at home. And sometimes we invite our dear friends and prepare a big chicchetti buffet. Anyhow, the finest Cicchetti are there on Christmas Eve – and have been for years. Because traditionally in our home on Christmas Eve there are “only” sandwiches – because it can be prepared well. When asked about our traditional Christmas dinner today, I reply: “Cicchetti!” That sounds much better, right?
We brought back some Cicchetti recipes from Venice, I would like to share them with you, beginning with two crostini variants today. Cicchetti are simple and mostly quickly prepared (except for the Stockfish cream). I do not give exact quantities for them. Take these recipes as inspiration, just let your imagination run wild and create your own Cicchetti. Nothing needs, everything can.
But don’t forget: A Cicchetto doesn’t work without a glass of wine or a Sprizz 😉
Crostini with broccoli and anchovy
Crostini with tomatoes and anchovies
And this is how the wife of the captain does it
You can prepare the roasted bread well in advance. Prepared as described above and cooled well, it can be stored in a tin can for up to one week. If you are in a hurry, simply use unroasted bread which tastes good (and is also offered throughout Venice)!
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